162 games in the regular season. The game ends either after nine innings, or after a tie ends, whichever comes first. And what do the innings consist of? 90% of the game is an interaction between a batter, a pitcher, and a catcher that goes like this: Pitch. Catch.

Occasionally, there is a swing. Only about 1 out of 4 at bats result in a batter getting on base. According to the ERA or the average starting pitcher, each team will probably score 4 runs or fewer, per game.

People call this a boring game. As I sit here typing with my Cardinals shirt on, waiting for 7:05pm to roll around and Arlington to light up, it's hard for me to understand. But when you look at the pure essence of the game, sure, I can see why someone would call it less than exciting. It's not pro wrestling, that's for sure.

Improv performers put a lot of pressure on themselves to be entertaining. And so there's a school of thought that being interesting equates to intensity. I think that is true, but intensity can be a variety of things. Too often, intensity is misinterpreted as volume, absurdity, large action, and vulgarity. And, unfortunately, the economy of laughter sometimes rewards these behaviors up front. But those methods cannot be maintained, so in the long run, audiences disengage.

Let's look at intensity in baseball for a second and agree that since it's the longest-running pro sport, it must have something to offer.

1) Baseball is intense sometimes just because a certain batter is facing a certain pitcher. They never exchange words and act like they don't notice each other. Yet the crowd's murmuring heightens.

2) Baseball is intense sometimes just because a coach puts in a pinch hitter or a pinch runner.

3) Baseball is intense in its context. a 0-run game in the first inning is much different than a 0-run game in the 9th. At the end of the first, we're still worried if we are in the right seats. At the end of the 9th, we're wetting those seats.

4) Baseball is intense because everything is still a judgement call. Regardless what happens, it's the opinion of a few men wearing blue who determines the outcome of a game. 

5) Baseball is intense because in an instant, everything can change so fast.

In a similar way, improv can be intense when performers establish the potential for great things. While it may be interesting, a scene may not need to start with a house fire and a family screaming at each other over whether to save themselves or the dog. Another form of interesting could be that same family later, calmly discussing reasons why they will not be buying fireworks this year.

Go Cards!