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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #111: Baseball? What baseball?

Handball - Olympics: Day 1 Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Jimmy Nelson
RHP, 6-10, 3.74
Archie Bradley
RHP, 4-7, 4.75
Jonathan Villar - 3B Jean Segura - 2B
Orlando Arcia - SS Michael Bourn - CF
Ryan Braun - LF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Scooter Gennett - 2B Jake Lamb - 3B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis - RF Yasmany Tomas - RF
Keon Broxton - CF Rickie Weeks - LF
Andy Wilkins - 1B Chris Owings - SS
Martin Maldonado - C Tuffy Gosewisch - C
Jimmy Nelson - RHP Archie Bradley - RHP

For me, the best thing about the Olympics is getting to see events which normally receive little or no coverage at all. Based on American TV coverage the rest of the time, you would think there are only four sports (okay, three and a half) anyone ever plays. But the Olympics reminds us that the vast majority of the planet does not give a damn about MLB, the NFL, the NBA or the NHL. If there were a sports channel which offered regular coverage of less-publicized pastimes, I’d watch it. There’s no less drama or tension to be found in archery, fencing or weightlifting than in the big four sports, and the commitment and skill of the participants is equal - indeed, arguably more, since for some, it can’t even be a full-time job, just a passion.

I can’t say I’ve minded the tape delay for the events, because my Twitter feed isn’t exactly full of judo spoilers. The bigger problem is the inevitable one: NBC’s coverage is in direct proportion to American interest. Gymnastics? Out the eye-holes. Not that I mind, since few things are better than sitting on the couch with a box of donuts, ruthlessly criticizing teenagers who failed to stick their landing completely. But if there’s no hope of a gong for Team USA, you’d better hope for an “and, elsewhere...” segment. Handball, for example, is awesome. But it’s so little known in America that I had to explain to Mrs. SnakePit this is not the game she played growing up in Queens, involving a wall.

What we’ve tended to do is DVR huge swathes of coverage, for later consumption. This allows us to fast-forward through a) the commercials, b) all the “human interest” garbage, and c) Ryan Seacrest, to the actual action. You certainly don’t need b) to point out the painfully obvious, when you can simply watch, for example, the emotions on the the faces of the Brazilian gymnasts after performing in front of their home crowd. Or the German guy who did his pommel horse routine with a torn ACL, so that his team could qualify for the competition final. That’s the kind of thing which makes the Olympics unmissable.

Oh, yeah. The D-backs are playing this afternoon.