Cleveland Fan Confidence: A Scientific Inquiry. Part V.

Put it on the board. Yes.

I apologize for my long absence, though it can be readily explained.

In my past exercises, I have tried to get to the source of Cleveland confidence, whether it be through interviews, or Internet postings, or even the weather. In these ways, I thought, I could isolate confidence from its many manifestations. However, this was difficult. How can you isolate a state of being among one person, let alone several million, by proxies and small samples? I had, and please forgive the pun, a crisis of confidence about confidence. But after a couple minutes of reflection, I was over it.

The real reason for the delay was a change in method. If you write about an audience reaction to a play, for instance, you must not only record their response to actions on the stage, but also the actions on the stage that brought out the responses. So, I reasoned, I must be able to decipher why fans make the response they do. And to be able to do that, I must learn the basics of the game. THAT is why I have been away.

My first idea was to travel around the country to different ball parks and take in as many games as possible, but for some reason my department head did not see fit to approve the request. My next thought was to attend games in Cleveland, but unfortunately the team has been away from home recently. So instead I subscribed to Major League Baseball's all-inclusive game service. This service allowed me to watch (on the Internet!) all manner of games each day, so I have spent my time trying to learn the basics of the sport through immersion.

So far, I have some observations to report:

1) Most games show only the view of the pitcher throwing the ball. This is curious, since the pitcher is only one of nine players on the field. Why not show the other fielders from time to time, and their reactions?

2) The referee behind the plate often to my trained eye makes inconsistent observations of whether the ball went through the "strike zone" or not. I feel that these observations could be improved with more accurate non-human devices.

3) The commentators of the different teams often have different, and sometimes, colorful styles. The Chicago White Socks commentator, for instance, intersperses silence with vociferous and incomprehensible phrases.

4) I am still trying to understand why the first pitcher of the game always pitches the longest. Would it not make sense to spread the innings out between the pitchers?

But even with these observations, I am quickly learning to enjoy this game. I will move my attention in future dispatches to the Cleveland club, in order to view the fan confidence in context.

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