Boston Strong. So is Baseball. Radio Works.

I know, I know. It’s Friday. The World Series ended Wednesday night. We should forget about it as quickly as possible and get on to the next entertainment fix, just as we trash the orange and black from the malls and get the reindeer prancing and Santa selling. I beg to differ. (I stomp my feet and holler to differ.) I had an odd and possibly interesting view of the high baseball holy days from China, and here’s what some of it looked like. This is the third in my World Series Series (the first was here). 


“They are three outs away from winning the World Series, ” Dan Shulman suavely said into my earphones in Room 501. He’s a microphone pro, one of the best narrators in the world of sports, and though smooth  as always, a younger man’s glee at looming victory was tangible in his voice. (He’s also Canadian, I may have pointed out before, as is Jonah Keri, the author of this excellent recap of Boston’s road to victory. Mine’s a narrower, more idiosyncratic take, while Keri gets inside baseball as well as anybody I’ve read.) I was with Shulman and fellow commentator Orel Hershiser, plus tens of thousands of screaming BoSoxian crazies, and who knows how many eavesdroppers via ESPN Radio, but I couldn’t have been much more alone in my hunger for baseball.

501 is the Chinese teachers’ workroom in the small economics college of a thoroughly average university in northeastern China. There were no tacos, no high fives and no between-innings arguments. (For most of the hour or so I was there, there wasn’t even another human.) I hadn’t been able to find another foreigner with any baseball interest to share the “October Classic” with.

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A Distant World Series: What About the *Radio*?

Note: This post has been updated to reflect that I heard bits and random pieces of the radio broadcast of game 5, but mostly ESPN program notices. 

This became my plan for doing more than just reading recaps on the World Series games on a Chinese afternoon, that is, after I caught the best bits of the Cardinals’ game two World Series win on ESPN Radio. This solution never occurred to me in my ridiculous struggles to catch Game One or the first six innings of the second, more compelling game. Ortiz’s two-run shot for the Sox, followed next inning by the Cardinals running and daring themselves back into the lead. Epiphany! A return to yesteryear! Nostalgia becomes the solution to a technical problem! Mum and Dad had followed the Cleveland Indians this way in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and why not now? (Well, my bride did have to wave her hands in front of my face during that stretch of Game 2 – she wasn’t even hearing what had me day-dreaming of Fenway Park – as she tried to engage in a curious exercise she calls “planning”. That was Friday morning.) My iffy Internet connection had no trouble pulling down some good old-fashioned audio.

The added bit of sentimental pleasantness was the rich voice and baseball clarity of Dan Shulman doing the play-by-play, and not only because he’s a Canadian.

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MLB in China: You Can’t Be (World) Serious!

Well, it’s been another day in the life of the ex-pat athletic supporter…

I’ve been to one Chinese Basketball Association game up in Shenyang, my province’s capital, and that was a frosty Friday nearly three years ago. The word is that Dalian was once a national power in Chinese professional (soccer) football, and I really ought to get out to the stadium once before I’m back in Canada for good. I’m sure it would turn my athletic crank and shuffle my observation deck if I actually got out there, but I’m not a great expedition-planner and this would require some linguistic Sherpas. A guy with mornings free, which I sometimes am, can often pick up an NBA game on CCTV 5, the ESPN of China, but he can forget about hockey and baseball.

Tools of nostalgia, weapons of youth. I miss baseball.

Except that, try as I might, I can’t forget baseball. As a sports fan in China, I’m mainly a reader, and a big proportion of that textual wading is devoted to basketball, both splashy coverage of the American college and pro games, and homely black and white reports from the Canadian university scene. (And don’t forget, for all the Chinese hoops news that’s fit to print in English!) I don’t often read about baseball, though, and when I do it’s an in-depth feature on an athlete or on some trend in the sport. Game results? Heck, 162 games times 30 teams (and by the way, the Jays stunk again this year) equals no friggin’ way. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

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