Some people say baseball is boring. They are wrong. With the 2016 MLB season getting under way this week, World of Sport set out to watch 12 hours of Opening Day baseball in a bid to prove the sport's beauty -- and avoid a day of housework.
5am: Well, that's a less than ideal start. I wake up, check Twitter, and discover the Yankees' clash with the Astros has been postponed. Mixed emotions here: hardly the most thrilling of beginnings, but only weirdos wake up at 5am. Back to sleep.
8.05am: That's more like it. The sun is shining in Texas, we have a great pitching match-up between the Rangers' Cole Hamels and the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, and former president George W Bush is currently posing for photos with former wrestler 'Big Show'. Can't imagine anything more exciting than that. But my imagination is limited, because it's still damn early for this night owl.
8.49am: We're a third of the way through the first of three games and already the repetitive ESPN Australia ads are grinding my gears. While the constant commercials spoil an element of American sport, the breaks are needed. When else are fans at the ground able to buy a Burgerizza, ie, a US$26 burger that has two 8-inch pepperoni pizzas as the bun?
9.53am: The Rangers earn their first hit of the day in the fifth inning -- scuppering my dream of watching the second Opening Day no-hitter in history -- to take a 3-2 lead courtesy of a crazy rally that saw them earn three walks and benefit from a couple of miscues in the field.
10:46am: And that's the way the score stays. That solitary hit is all the Rangers muster, and while some will argue it's a waste of time to watch a three-hour game in which the winning team has one hit, I beg to differ. First, the game's lack of brevity gives me a chance to hang out some washing, and second, it's a perfect illustration of the peculiarity of baseball. There's an old maxim that you can watch a game of baseball and see something new every day. Today we saw the Rangers become the first team in the modern era to win their season opener despite recording one hit or fewer.
11.20am: And now we're under way in San Diego, where the Padres welcome the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw. Even after a scarcity of offence earlier, I'm still looking forward to watching the best pitcher alive go to work. And the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead before Kershaw even throws a pitch. Should be enough.
Noon: Vin Scully, now there's a man who will speak to the wonder of baseball. The Dodgers' broadcaster since 1950, Scully will retire at the end of the season after calling almost 10,000 games. Speaking of commentators, Jessica Mendoza is a welcome addition in the ESPN booth. The former softball international is again proving the broadcast booth need not be a boys' club.
12:45pm: Kershaw has now managed as many hits as he's allowed, adding a single to a five-run sixth inning. Watching Kershaw swing the bat and run the bases is one of the best moments of the day, considering 'all-rounders' in baseball have that skill drummed out of them by the time they reach the pros.
1.36pm: Oh dear, this one's a blowout. The Padres currently have more errors (two) than hits (one), and it's 14-0. There's another amusing thing about this sport: players being charged with errors so they're under no illusions that they really screwed up. Anyway, nothing amusing about this score, time for some vacuuming.
2.25pm: Solid choice. The end to that 15-0 game was rather dull. And, what's worse, we missed the first inning in Anaheim, where the Cubs currently lead the Angels 1-0. There's no better reason to love baseball than this Chicago team: raw, extremely talented and looking to break the Cubs' curse and win their first championship in 108 years.
3.30pm: Flicked over in time for a truly extraordinary finish in basketball's national championship, with Villanova beating UNC thanks to a buzzer-beating three. Baseball can be that dramatic, believe me, with its slow pace stringing out the tension to near-unbearable levels. Just not today. Today we're watching a third straight ace dealing, with Jake Arrieta mowing down the Angels.
4.14pm: Kris Bryant grounds out with the bases loaded but drives in a run to make it 6-0. Mixed day for those blessed with the Kris Kristofferson-approved spelling of the name. Bryant finishes 0-3, Kris Jenkins drains the national championship-winning buzzer beater, and I watch nine hours of baseball. Open to suggestions about who's the real winner in that scenario.
5.17pm: The day ends for the Angels with Mike Trout, one of the two best hitters on Earth, flying out. 9-0 Cubs. Trout's peer Bryce Harper homered earlier in the day and, hilariously, then talked to media while wearing a cap that read: 'MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN.' The cap -- a play on Donald Trump's campaign slogan and the recent mini-furore around old-timers taking issue with Harper's generation having the temerity to enjoy themselves -- hardly helps my thesis. But Harper, and others, are making baseball fun. They're young, passionate and emotional, playing with the verve of a basketballer and celebrating with the zeal of a footballer. I'll be watching all season. But, in the meantime, I have some grocery shopping to do.