Not many people like writing about Mookie Betts, so I am probably the first to tell you that Betts is/was an outstanding bowler, being named the Tennessee boys Bowler of the Year in 2010. Even if you somehow did come across this piece of information, you certainly are unaware of all the ways being an exceptional bowler helps Betts on the baseball diamond. Luckily, the five ways it does help Boston’s new centerfielder and leadoff man are listed below:
- Shoes- in bowling and in baseball, you show up wearing a normal pair of sneakers or loafers or sandals or boots, whatever your personal style may be or the climate might call for, only to be forced to change into ridiculous-looking, albeit high-in-utility, footwear. As they say, if you are comfortable wearing ridiculous shoes worn by other strangers in order to roll a sphere at pins, but as not to scuff the playing surface, you’ll have no qualms wearing metal cleats with other extremely coordinated grownups in front of thousands.
- Failure- baseball is a game of failure. You know this. I know this. But while it is easy to blame failure at the plate on the abilities of the freak throwing 95 mph on the mound or on however BABIP is calculated, the bowler has nothing but himself or herself to blame when the pins don’t fall as desired. It is easy to see why Betts improves seemingly from pitch to pitch, for he learned to check all excuses with his normal shoes with the guy who hands out the bowling shoes at the front desk a long time ago.
- Ambiguity- bowling is both a noun and a verb. It also has nothing to do with a bowl. By comparison, baseball is a piece of cake. There are bases and there is ball and it is only a noun.
- Video Screens- Betts has been dealing with numbers, X’s, /’s and animated turkeys on video screens his whole sporting life. So while racing animated Septa cars and Cole Hamel’s symmetrical face might distract other youngsters, Betts knows that no matter how complex these screens are, they are still, at their core, just pixels and computer programs.
- Finite Math- 10 frames. 9 innings. Bayes Theorem. Neither bowling nor baseball is freeform and you must do your work within the opportunities you have. The internet needs to be informed of this, but Mookie Betts already knows.
Photo by Kelly O’Connor, sittingstill.smugmug.com