The Sport of Kings

What makes a wedding like a ball game? Scorecards, slo-mo replays and Pippa as MVP

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Illustration by Tomasz Walenta for TIME

I enjoy a good royal wedding as much as any other straight guy. It's an amazing alchemy in which two things I already don't care at all about — royalty and weddings — become even less interesting when combined. The only thing worse would be a royal-wedding awards ceremony. We fought a war specifically so I wouldn't have to watch this crap.

But since my editor told me not watching it was not an option, I did the next best thing: I watched Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding with two guys who know even less about the British monarchy than I do but who know a lot about watching TV. Mike O'Hara and Ryan Wagner are being paid by Major League Baseball to spend about 12 hours a day, seven days a week, in the MLB Fan Cave. They sit behind huge windows on the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street in New York City, so people walking by can watch them watch every second of every game of the season on a wall of 15 television screens.

When I arrive prewedding at the fully decked-out, 15,000-sq.-ft. mantopia (pool table, air-hockey table, video-game station, beer refrigerator, portrait made out of gum balls of Jay-Z in a Yankees hat), Mike and Ryan are already there, wearing Royals jerseys. They've hired a guy to serve tea on china, along with scones, strawberries and finger sandwiches from a tiered tray. There are streamers and paper wedding bells around the TVs. Mike and Ryan are clearly so excited to watch something that's not baseball, they would have let me come over if I had asked them to watch The View.

The great thing about guys is that we can have fun watching anything, which we express by not listening and instead quoting movies: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Four Weddings and a Funeral, European Vacation. Also, guys know that women are most vulnerable at weddings, so we are genetically programmed to search for the hottest, sluttiest guests — in this case, Sarah Ferguson's daughters. And all of us feel horrible for William since, at his bachelor party, he must have had to stick money with his grandmother's face on it into strippers' G-strings.

Being guys, we spend a long time discussing William's receding hairline. "Right now William's hair is batting about .230," Mike says. "He had to lock it down now." Ryan cannot believe that the future King of England doesn't have enough power to issue a decree banning the overhead camera angle from the news feed. "People are gambling on how many hairs he'll have fall out before the end of the ceremony. Right now the over-under is on seven," Ryan says. When we finally talk about Kate's dress, we're far more critical than the announcers on CNN, NBC and ABC. "The dress makes her boobs look weird," I observe. "Perhaps they are, Joel," Mike says. "Perhaps they are."

But slowly, we start to sound a lot like girls. When I say I believe I could get a hotter wife if I were a prince, Ryan says, "I don't know, dude. She's beautiful. She comes from a great family. The woman has a thousand-watt smile." Looking at William's uniform, Mike says, "She's got it all. He's an officer, a gentleman, a pilot." And out of nowhere, Ryan — who is 25 years old, 6 ft. 2 in., 260 lb. and from Baltimore — says, "For some reason, I remember the train of Diana's dress being ages and ages long."

As we wait for the official first kiss, I ask Ryan what kind of odds he'd give me on tongue. He offers 15 to 1, so Mike and I each throw down a buck. Even though Ryan loses the bet, he joins us in booing a kiss so lame that if we kissed each other like that, it wouldn't feel at all gay. "That was like taking a knee to run out the clock!" Mike yells. ABC and NBC both show the kiss in slo-mo instant replay. We cannot believe they don't have a telestrator.

Mike thinks Most Valuable Player should go to Harry. "He could have ruined the whole thing. He stepped up his game. He made the clubhouse laugh. He played for the team," Mike says. But Ryan and I pick Kate's hot sister Pippa with the slinky dress and perfect composure as MVP. "She's sort of like Joey Votto. Nobody knows who he is at the beginning of the season, and he ends up taking the MVP," Ryan says.

Even though they'd been up past midnight watching the Diamondbacks beat the Cubs, Mike and Ryan say they were glad they got up four hours later to watch the wedding. "There's something inherently cool about this — everybody dropping the pretense of trying to be too cool for this. The snark is gone. It feels like a simpler time," Mike says. I ask Mike which will be better, the wedding or the Twins-Royals game that a Minnesota barbecue restaurant is catering that night. "I go with this for the day," he says. "Joe Mauer is on the DL."