Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baseball vs. movies

It's baseball's opening day. This is a wonderful thing.

But it does mean that my movie watching, which has taken a noticeable dip from "frequent" to "infrequent" in the month since I moved, is about to take another dip.

I most frequently watch movies socially, with my wife or with friends, on a weekend night or occasional weeknight. But to keep up with my ambitious viewing schedule, I've got to fit them in at other times, and my next most likely time slot is the afternoon, after I get home from work. Three days a week, I can be back to my house by about 4:20-4:25, and since my wife usually works until 7:30 or later, that gives me plenty of time to tick a flick off my list.

Well, not anymore. Now that time is devoted to baseball. If it's not on TV, I'm happy enough to follow it online. And with the arrival of the MLB Network -- which as far as I can tell is free, and plans to show plenty of games -- there'll be more televised baseball to appreciate than ever before.

Bye bye, movies.

It's a sickness born of playing fantasy baseball. Since the two championships won by the Red Sox this decade have lessened some of my rooting intensity for my home team, my two different fantasy baseball leagues, one of which I run, are happy to fill that void. And especially at the beginning, when the mere return of the sport makes a fan like me giddy, and anything is possible, I'll just sit there online, messing around on facebook, and waiting to see when my next hitter is coming up to bat.

It's an enjoyable sickness, but it's a sickness for sure.

Of course, movies will not totally fall by the wayside. I'm just too passionate about them for that to happen. But my greatest dueling passion is now upon us, and will be for the next six months. Lord help me.

Here's what'll really happen. I'll still watch movies in the afternoons, only slightly less often than I do the rest of the year. But I'll watch them with my laptop on my lap, or not far away. And I'll pause the movie 17 times for little check-ins on the day's baseball happenings. So a 90-minute movie will take the full three-plus hours from when I get home, to when my wife calls it a day, and would like to kick back with some TV watching of her own, which usually does not involve either baseball or the movie I'm half-heartedly plodding through.

How thoroughly are you really absorbing a movie if you pause it 17 times and have one eye on a computer simulation of a baseball game? Not very thoroughly. Fortunately for me, a lot of the movies I tick off my list during these afternoon windows are movies a person doesn't need to watch very thoroughly to review. Just don't tell anyone, okay?

It does trouble me a little, but today I won't worry about it. At least for today, the first day of the baseball season, I will bask in the ceremonial start of spring, and in the return of my second great non-human love.

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