I went to the Olympic baseball stadium today to check out the atmosphere of the U.S.-Cuba game. It was well attended and the crowd was into it. But I’d like to share a story that won’t make it into my piece for msnbc.com.
As I was walking around the media and restricted zone, I passed by an open door. I caught a glimpse of two volunteers playing catch. Naturally, I had to stop and ask what was going on. Two guys were on their break and were in the storage room under the stadium. They had picked up a couple gloves and a ball to kill time.
Here’s Wang Bin throwing the ball. Good form, eh?
After a little hesitation (they probably didn’t want to get in trouble), they let me join in and I played catch, the first time in years, for about 10 minutes under field 2. The two guys were graduate college students, working on their masters degrees in physical education. A third student, one of their friends, joined in.
Here they are, hamming it up for the camera.
Will baseball ever succeed here? I know the MLB is trying; I did talk to some one from the commissioner’s office about baseball’s struggles to get into the market here. Perhaps they should be heartened by the fact that a couple college students were playing catch and seemed to be enjoying it.
But when I asked Wang if he liked to watch baseball, he had a quick answer.
“No,” he said.
“It’s boring,” he explained. “It’s too long.