She sat down next to me on the couch holding the tea she had just made, and then she spoke those magical words: “Who’s winning?” She then spent the next half hour watching the end of the game with me. No pouting. No complaining. No “What else is on?” or “This again?!”
It wasn’t always this easy. Like so many others who share a passion for baseball, I have been challenged by the initial revulsion at the idea of baseball by a girlfriend/spouse/life partner. You tell her you like baseball and she gives you that look like she just caught you flirting with her best friend.
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But there is hope. After many failed attempts, I have discovered a few easy steps to make sure your special someone will not only stop harassing you about baseball, but may even come to enjoy the sport you love so much. These steps mainly apply to women, but may also apply to men. I wouldn’t know – that’s not really my, um, thing.
There are so many great things about baseball: the traditions, athletic skills, strategies, statistics, tension, anticipation and all the you-never-knows.
Do not try to explain any of them to her.
She’s been told a hundred times that she should love sports, but when someone explains why, they usually try to cram 10 or 20 years of knowledge into a 15-minute discussion. Guys hope that their passion alone will be enough to make her interested – and it never is.
The woman you are with – or will be with once you finally sign up on Match.com – may be about the same age as you, but she most likely has not had the prolonged exposure to baseball that guys have.
There’s just no way to guess what she might like about baseball. A wise man once said, “What might be right for you, may not be right for some.” It does, in fact, take different strokes to move the world. Yes, it does. You need to let her find the things that she likes about baseball.
So, what do you do? The first thing to do is bring her to a game. No one is going to get interested in baseball while watching it on a TV. If you don’t have a major league team in your city, then take her to a minor league game. And if there are no minor league teams near you, then you are probably living in France, and that is a whole other problem.
Getting her to the game might take some effort. You can entice her with “getting out” and “something different” and, of course, beer, hot dogs and cotton candy. If none of these work, she is a Communist. Leave her now.
Don’t worry about where you’re sitting at the game. What you want to show her is the whole experience: the players, the crowd and, most importantly, the field. Women like parks, and baseball fields are really just the nicest parks in town, but with stadiums built around them – and no homeless people.
Once you’re at the stadium and she is taking it all in, you have to get to work. It’s time to start creating positive associations with baseball. But you have to do it on a level that she can appreciate.
- Don’t mention statistics — ever. Women do not care. And I guess they probably shouldn’t. But it’s more than that. Most women start to feel that there’s no way they can remember all these numbers, and it’s like they’re being tested. So, instead of saying, “This guy’s got 25 home runs,” try something like, “This guy can hit the ball really far and, if you watch, he just might hit one far right now.”
- You need to personalize the game for her. Women of all ages love to chitchat about personal stuff. This is where they are weakest and this is where we strike. It will take some research, but it is time well spent.
- Know who the players are dating or have dated. It might be boring to you, but women are fascinated that Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz are a couple or that Matt Kemp dated Rihanna or that Alyssa Milano has an insatiable appetite for ballplayers.
- Know which players have had personal tragedies. Sick kids. Dying grandparents. Kidnapped siblings. It may sound vulgar to bring these up for your own personal ends, but this gets the ladies right in their soft insides.
- Use player nicknames. Kung Fu Panda. The Hebrew Hammer. Fat Elvis. Women (like children) love this stuff. I’ll never forget the day my special lady friend asked me, “How’s Big Papi doing?”
- Be prepared to improvise. If she wants to leave early, do so. If she’s cold, give her your jacket – or buy her one. If she’s eyeballing your ice cream sandwich, let her have it. You don’t want her to think of the game as that freezing cold night that went on forever where she was starving.
When you get home from the game, there’s still more work to do. At first, the task is not making them like the game, but rather, making sure they don’t dislike the game. So, you must avoid negative associations with baseball.
If you’re watching the game on television and she walks in and asks, “Are you watching this?” Don’t reply, “Of course I am, crazy lady! My eyeballs are pointed right at the TV.” Just casually say that you weren’t really that interested in watching it and she can change the channel if she wants.
She is probably missing a really important episode of The Real Housewives. Let her watch it. You can track the game online or on your smart phone. If you don’t have a smart phone, get one. If you don’t have the Internet, then you are not reading this article.
A few other tips: Don’t talk to her about fantasy baseball. Don’t show her your baseball card collection. These can wait. Don’t listen to the game (or any sports talk radio) with her in the car. Don’t play baseball video games with her around. And if you’re going to a bar to watch the game, tell her you’re just hanging out with the fellas.
The trick is to make her think that you aren’t completely obsessed with baseball – even if you are. There’s no way she can understand this sort of devotion – yet. So, there’s no reason to creep her out about the whole thing.
Okay, now here’s the final key. All that other stuff is wasted if you don’t do this one thing:
You must buy her team-related apparel.
Pink hats. V-Necks. Three-quarter Sleeves. Tank tops. There’s so much to choose from. But, don’t get anything with too much information, like a League Championship Series shirt. People may start asking her questions when you’re not around, and she won’t have the answers and she will hate you and baseball. Also, watch out for too much artwork – she doesn’t want to look like the side of a ’70s van.
I assume I don’t have to explain the passion that women have for their “cute little outfits.” It’s something they have spent years pursuing, and men generally don’t have the same obsession and devotion to clothing that women have.
Just remember that this is a gradual process. You don’t need her to love baseball the way you do. But with these steps, you can get her to enjoy the game in her own way. And, someday, in the not-too-distant future, she’ll sit down on the couch and want to know who’s winning.