'Baseball Brit' Hopes To Attend 162 MLB Games This Season
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Major league baseball teams play 162 games a season. And that's just how many games, major and minor, that Joey Mellows hopes to attend this year - a lot of baseball, especially for a British guy. Joey Mellows is from Portsmouth, England, and is now touring the U.S. as Baseball Brit - that's his Twitter handle.
We've caught up with him as he drives to Florida to watch a game between the Southern League Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and the Birmingham Barons. Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Mellows.
JOEY MELLOWS: Thank you, Mr. Simon, for having me on your show. Appreciate it.
SIMON: So what's a nice British guy doing so enamored of an American sport?
MELLOWS: I grew up in England. I spent my first 29 years there and never gave baseball a second thought at all. But then I moved to South Korea, and baseball there is such a huge part of the culture.
MELLOWS: It didn't take too long before I began watching games in various Korean and Japanese ballparks.
SIMON: Now, I'm going to guess that for someone who grew up on cricket, baseball is actually a pretty speedy game.
MELLOWS: Yeah. I have no problems whatsoever, you know, with length of play. I think, you know, whether it's 2 hours, 50 minutes or 3 hours, 30 minutes, I couldn't care less. I really enjoy, you know, the time spent at a ballpark specifically. And, you know, the more time spent there, the better value.
SIMON: What do you like about the game? Wax eloquent for a moment, if you could.
MELLOWS: From just the sporting aspect, I like the fact it's kind of like a Wild West duel. You have one man holding a ball, eyeballing one gentleman holding a bat. It's very intense. And I like the fact that one man's challenging another man. And the man holding a bat is going to fail more times than not. I find something very reassuring about that as I go through my own life knowing that these, you know, sporting heroes I watch on the field fail just as regularly as I do.
SIMON: Boston Red Sox are going to play the New York Yankees in London later this year - right? - in June.
MELLOWS: Yes. This is the first time major league baseball has ever come to Europe. It's about time, I think. You know, the NFL is very well established now, and we're very excited and very grateful that, you know, two of the biggest teams in all of baseball are coming over to the London Stadium on June the 29 and June the 30. So yeah - just kind of getting ready for that now, and there's so many people back home that are, you know, working online to make sure that more people find out about baseball and more people attend this fantastic event that we've got going on.
SIMON: What would you tell your fellow Britons about - to note about baseball as they try to watch, if they give it a tumble?
MELLOWS: I'd say, you know, just be patient. You know, just, you know, watch it with a friend. And, you know, there's so much to enjoy in terms of the action itself. But one of my favorite things about baseball is that it's a sport that brings people together. I find baseball more enjoyable, personally, when I'm able to, you know, talk and think and reflect with my friends or with whoever I've gone to the ballgame with. So I would say, you know, don't try and understand everything if it's your first time, but just enjoy the action and enjoy whoever you're going to the game with.
I mean, I only discovered it four years ago - baseball - but I've, you know, I've watched - I think I watched 75 games last year in ballparks across Korea and the USA and Canada, even. And, yeah, I'm learning every day. I think that's one of the most enriching things about baseball is that there's always something you haven't seen before. And, you know, I like reading about the history. I'm catching up on that. And I just enjoy everything, really, that baseball offers.
SIMON: Don't mean to put you on the spot, but what's the best ballpark food you've had in the U.S.?
MELLOWS: I am not that adventurous, to be honest, when it comes to ballpark food. I had a mac and cheese hotdog with bacon on last night, which blew my mind. I just couldn't believe that that was something that someone created.
SIMON: Forgive me. It's going to blow more than your mind (laughter).
MELLOWS: Yeah. It was a lot to take on, and it was pretty messy, but I enjoyed it a lot.
SIMON: You are a great fan, Mr. Mellows. Joey Mellows calls himself Baseball Brit. Thanks so much for speaking with us.
MELLOWS: Oh, thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.