On this rare off-day in March (booooo), we find ourselves with plenty to discuss. We can play the ‘guess how many healthy outfielders we’ll have by the time the season starts’ game; we can read another installment of Getting Ziggy With It, live from Spring Training; we can donate more money to our A’s worthy cause (deadline at noon PST today!); we can recap the game last night where the A’s beat the Giants (yay!) behind the strength of the Holy Grail and Danny Haren, who weirdly seems to face Noah Lowry every time we hit the Bay Bridge rivals, or we can discuss a whole new topic: Do you like night or day baseball better?
Now I realize that I’m going against old-school baseball tradition here, but I’m used to it, seeing that the DH is probably my favorite rule change ever, but I absolutely adore night baseball. To me, that is baseball. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice sitting at the ballpark in the sun, having a cold drink, with the field all sparkly green and the sky a brilliant blue, but it simply can’t compete with the pure electricity that comes from playing a baseball game under the lights.
The feel of the game just seems different depending on the time of day. Day games have a lazy summer feel to them, where while you certainly don’t want to be anywhere else, you simply can’t quite build to the level of excitement found at the night games.
Playoff games are a prime example of this. I remember the A’s back-to-back wins opening the ALDS against the Red Sox in 2003. The first game was held at night, and the energy in the stadium was palpable. From two hours before the game until the last fan had left the ballpark, McAfee Stadium was pumping off energy in almost visible waves, and it certainly must have affected the players. In sharp contrast, barely twelve hours later, the second game was played in the middle of the day; another playoff game, another A’s’ win, but somehow it lacked in intensity, at least for me. Granted, the players were tired, the fans were emotionally exhausted from the night before, but I still couldn't help but draw the comparison to the time of day.
Of course there are other factors at work here; most "big-ticket" games are held during prime time slots, so we are used to seeing big games at night, but I think it’s more than that. The stage seems bigger, the play seems crisper, the players seem more into the game (or more awake--Swisher, I’m looking at you!), and the stakes seem higher. If I had my choice, I’d set up the A’s biggest games at night, and I’d 100% rather be there in person at night, than during the day.
Maybe it’s just me?