An Attempt to Become Familiar With Baseball

SUSI scholars show their Diamondback tickets

Sunday in Brazil is football day. From January to April the games of the State Championships take place; from May to December, it’s the matches of the Brazilian Championship. It is no wonder that the country is known for the sport, despite not having performed well in the most recent World Cups. My comments about this stop here, because I don’t understand the sport (I was even discreetly called out for it here on the blog). I only touch on the subject because today, Sunday in North American lands provided a very different experience to SUSI scholars: watching a baseball game.

The mission was coordinated with excitement by Ms. Dawn (Ms. Alma, we missed you!). She tried to explain the rules of the game to the less familiar (which was most of us), as did Cronkite School Associate Dean Mark Lodato, who joined the group. Someone shared on WhatsApp a link that promised in the title to be educational: “How to play baseball.” Your correspondent even searched for YouTube tutorials, but even after three hours and fifteen minutes of watching the game I couldn’t quite establish a working relationship with the rules. The good thing is that a game doesn’t really boil down to them, does it?

Cronkite School Associate Dean Mark Lodato joined the group for part of the game

So let’s go to some curiosities that only the experience in loco allows us to capture. As happens in Brazilian stadiums, the movement around Chase Field already emanated good energy before we even entered. The stadium, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks team, is beautiful! It was inaugurated on March 31, 1998, and is the second Major League Baseball stadium to have a retractable roof (the first was the Toronto SkyDome) and the first with retractable roof and natural grass. So we were protected from the intense heat of Phoenix! The capacity of the place is for 48,500 fans – it even accepts the presence of pets. And the luckiest ones can choose to watch the games while taking a dip in the pool.

Real grass, but with air conditioning. That’s already a win!

It is worth noting that many people wear baseball gloves and watch every ball that flies high, in the hope of catching one to take home. To compensate for the tranquility of the game (yes, it is somewhat slow-moving), there is a giant screen that, in addition to information about the game, broadcasts a number of fun interludes: kissing time, a Simba moment, birthday wishes, a pet run, jingle animations, competitions between fans, and quizzes. And it still has the traditional space of shops and bars where you can purchase a snack – after all, a game lasts on average 3 hours.

The Jumbotron gives all kinds of information

This immersion in American sports culture finished with a happy ending: the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2. If you want to know any technical details about the game, please look here, because I don’t dare talk about it. I’m still not familiar enough.