LONDON -- Taz was a guy who just wanted to shoot some YouTube videos for his fitness video series. As he pointed out, London doesn't really get a whole lot of weather days like Thursday's glorious sunshine delivered so it seemed important to take advantage of the opportunity.
The 30-something bobbed and weaved around the area just a few feet from Tower Bridge, standing out if only because of the very different kind of hat he wore -- that of the Detroit Tigers."I don't know anything about the team, I just liked the hat," Taz explained.
Then, surfacing in the middle of a sea of lounging lunch-breakers, appeared an odd image. A tall, fit man started throwing a ball back and forth with a 26-year-old from Manchester, N.H. named Billy Mullaney. Taz had a feeling he should be filming this, but he wasn't actually sure why.
"I don't know who that is," he said, "but I feel like that should be someone."
It was. As Taz confirmed via a Google search it was Jennifer Lopez's fiance, Alex Rodriguez.
Taz wasn't alone in his confusion. If it wasn't for a growing group of tourists few would have paid any mind to the strapping man in a black jacket and sweatpants. In fact, before the game of catch Rodriguez could be found standing in the middle of a mass of sunbathers swinging a cricket bat without anyone batting an eye.
"I only knew about it because they were handing out Cracker Jacks over there."
"Don't you mean rounders?"
"Sorry, I don't watch baseball."
"Baseball baby!" (Note: That was the exclamation of a young man clearly a few pints deep.)
For the locals, this is a novelty. It is appealing to a very small group of baseball followers in this country while offering one of the best mid-summer opportunity for Red Sox and Yankees fans to take a road trip that isn't Camden Yards. That's fine. For now, it is what it is.
The players get a respite from their regular season monotony (along with a cool $60,000 each), with a full day of exploring London with their friends and family. Baseball maybe plants a seed into the psyche of young sports fans, along the lines of what the NFL did here years ago. And, who knows, by the time the Cardinals and Cubs come back next year the level of apathy from the locals is appreciably thinned out.