baseball CHRIS MAUME

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The Independent Culture
For the uninitiated (including most Britons), baseball is as alien as Alpha Centauri. But anyone with even the slightest feelings for cricket could easily become addicted to this riveting combination of intensity, stillness, speed and power. The game's structure with its nine innings of three outs, organises the play into a series of climaxes, the tension piling on as the balls and strikes accumulate and the bases become loaded.

It's like listening to a grand symphony, or watching an epic play, the characters emerging from the flow of the game - the pitcher's Zen-like concentration, the chewing, spitting coaches, the swagger of the big hitters. Watching the last few World Series in the middle of the night on cable has provided me with some of my most pleasurable sporting experiences, and last season's strike meant an empty October.

It's also possible to see it in the flesh, under the auspices of the British Baseball Federation. While not of the same exalted standard as major league, Premier League South and Southern Conference games on Sunday afternoons could help you acquire a taste for this exotic specimen.

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