As someone who isn't a sports fan, it's a testament both to the writing and the cast that I can find an episode filled with baseball metaphors to be both fun and enjoyable. Regardless of whether you know who Jim Nantz or Nick Swisher are, baseball terms, slang, and superstitions have permeated pop culture. How I Met did an excellent job this week addressing the reason why people love sports in addition to putting together a wonderfully funny half-hour.
The framing concept of the episode -- that Barney's being interviewed in his imagination by legendary sportscaster Jim Nantz while he waits to find out if he's being fired -- is clever and original. Nantz was great, showing the kind of comic timing and acting ability you wouldn't normally expect from a sports announcer.
The baseball references themselves were very fun, from Barney calling his shot on night one to the gang not wanting to jinx a perfect game. Arguably the best moments in the episode were ridiculously funny baseball references, including Ted helping Barney choose the perfect pitch (among the options: "the heater," "high and outside," and "the slider") and Nantz asking Barney the all-important question, "Have you ever used performance-enhancing drugs?" (Which was followed by a great flashback with an uncomfortable Marshall asking what time it was and saying he needed to go to the hospital.)
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