Hooper: Frankie and Puerto Rico gave us something special

Let's learn from it

Alex Hooper
April 17, 2018 - 11:34 pm
Apr 2, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) looks on from the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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You hear that?

That was the sound of a whole island coming unglued. It was only 19,000 people from an island that holds 3.34 million people, but it sounded as if it were the entire 7 billion population of Earth that made the sound.

Give it another listen.

The crowd explodes when Francisco Lindor’s home run carries over the wall, but do you hear the split second of deep bellow just before 19,000 people uncork their roar? That’s the greatest sound in sports. The explosion of noise is great, too, but it’s that little rumble before when nobody knows that greatness just happened, but everyone knows.

It is not a sound synonymous with baseball, perceived as a leisurely game stateside, while the World Baseball Classic and Winter Leagues abroad produce a more fanatical atmosphere.

Not every game can be the playoffs, when that noise is a little more commonplace. Not every game can be the first in a place that has not seen regular season baseball in eight years. Not every game can have that location’s pride and joy hit a game winning home run.

Every game can sound like that game. It is how sports should sound.

It goes beyond the wall of noise from an exciting moment, and it is in the duller moments when that atmosphere thrives. The booming bass from the sound system, the booming chants and instruments from the crowd – these things should not be exclusive to other lands.

Where do you hear these sorts of things more often? You hear it in soccer. Where do you hear that sort of crowd pop, simultaneous and extraordinary? You guessed it.

Those things create more excitement, more attentiveness, in case a moment like Lindor’s happens.

Anyone who knows this author could probably see this coming, but this is not about soccer, it is truly about baseball. Though it cannot be denied that there is no sport with more relative downtime compared to baseball than in the rest of the world’s number one game.

Yet here we are, with one of the world’s most inventive games and one of this nation’s crowning cultural achievements, searching for initiatives to solve pace of play and reaching the youths. (Pour one out for @PitchingNinja on Twitter.)

Too slow, they say. Too boring. Not enough action. That does not seem to bother the rest of the world.

Perhaps maybe it is time to look at the rest of the world and take a page out of their books for once. Create the action for yourselves.

It will take time. No old school baseball fan will ever get on board with games like Tuesday’s in San Juan, and a lot of younger fans may push back too.

It will take organization. You cannot graduate from regurgitating “Jose, Jose, Jose” like every other team with a Jose on their roster to full-fledged songs about the glory days at Jacobs Field overnight.

Maybe you don’t want any of this. Maybe you love baseball as it is. That is fine.

But maybe try and drum things up. Live a little. They did.

Thank you, Frankie, for sharing your moment - in your home - with us. Hopefully we can learn a thing or two.