By Brian McKay
Something else was being written earlier until the need to write about baseball struck. Forget everything else. Baseball season has started and that matters. It is America’s romance sport and probably the most important sports season most Americans now dismiss. Stop that shit. This is the sport that needs to be re-discovered, if anything for the sake of your relationship.
So it has started. Baseball season is back and a hundred and sixty-two games will be played by each team before the post season comes about. Yeah, it’s a lot of games. Compared to football season it is a literal shitload of games. But please don’t get bored of it. I know that you think that watching it on TV isn’t nearly as exciting as football, where every game matters in absolutely dramatic fashion, but I assure you the romanticism of baseball still exists and trumps every other sport.
Baseball has suffered over the years. It is aging. The average viewer of the World Series is 52. That sucks. Maybe those that are younger like football because of less games and far more fast paced brutality. It certainly isn’t basketball that is usurping baseball. Recent surveys show that the NBA is the favorite sports league of only about 5% of the country. A recent Harris poll found that football has ruled for 33 years with 33% of respondents calling it their favorite sport. Baseball was far behind at 15%. In between, baseball and the NBA were college football and auto racing.
Ok, so it is understandable that egos and massive child support payments have the U.S. having a basketball crisis, but baseball? Where did we lose the faith? Baseball is amazing, classic, statistical and your absolute best chance at getting laid after a game.
Did you know that the absolute best sporting event to attend to foster your relationship is a baseball game? Years of study have shown that baseball absolutely rules for creating closeness among couples. The time between plays creates time to talk and truly communicate in a happy and involved environment. Who doesn’t see love coming about between innings with beer, a hotdog and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? If you don’t get it, you are certainly not getting it on later.
Baseball has the greatest statistics ever. Yeah the NFL has statistics going back to the late 60’s. So what? They are amateurs. Every baseball play is compared to over 100 years of play. Everything is measured and every play matters. Pros analyze this stuff constantly and the concept of Moneyball entered the sport under Billy Beane with the Oakland A’s and created a dynamic team with the lowest payroll in Baseball. The A’s took stats to a new level.
The Saint Louis Cardinals let go of Albert Pujols in 2011 as they didn’t wish to spend the premium that the Angels were willing to pay and still remained a dominate force in MLB due to excellent management.
The point is that management and coaching truly matter in baseball. A couple stars can make a football or basketball team, but baseball is truly dependent on good management. A baseball team that is lackluster in the standouts department can make the playoffs. Good luck seeing an NFL team in the same situation.
Baseball is still the American sport. Sure football is all American. Yes, it is awesome and college football is especially cool, as it shows kids willing to put everything on the line for their passion. That’s fabulous. Baseball was still first. Baseball has an amazing history of scandals, racial strife, heroes and nostalgia. If Marilyn Monroe married a famous baseball player, as she did with DiMaggio, you know that shit is cool. There are amazing stories in Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, the Black Sox scandal and Jackie Robinson’s integration into the segregated world of baseball. No other sport has the statement, “As American as apple pie and baseball”.
How many great movies have been made about other sports? Very few. Bull Durham, The Natural, Field of Dreams, 42, The Sandlot, The Bad News Bears, the baseball list goes on and on. Try to find any other sport that has inspired so many major movies. You can’t. Nothing typifies the amount of romance inherent in the sport than the amount of films that have inspired and told incredible stories. Can you think of one NFL film that truly inspired you? Maybe one or two. Remember the Titans was really good and Rudy drew a few tears, but I can think of at least 10 baseball films that easily surpass those benchmarks.
There is an elegance to the simplicity of the game. Despite all of the statistics and management, it still comes down to hitting and catching a ball. There is no greater elegance than simplicity and the only thing that touches baseball is soccer. Football is awesome for strategy and basketball is great for endurance and quick points. Baseball is just simple, slower and amazing.
And have you ever watched the Little League World Series? It’s nuts. Those kids are intense, come from across the world and put on a show that is world class. It is a serious sport with kids. Soccer is fun and great at team building for kids, but baseball is amazing and brings them together from countries across the world. You will never see a soccer or football championship that rivals the Little League World Series.
In short, baseball is historical, romantic, statistical, builds relationships and even has a song everyone sings right in the middle of the game. That it is aging is a true shame. It is one of the most amazing sports that has ever existed and deserves a new look.
Go watch a game with your significant other. Laugh. Have a beer, eat a hot dog, catch a foul ball and rediscover the incredible beauty that is baseball.
Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption and loves all sports, but especially baseball. He feels there is a zen to the sport that no others have. We intend to go to a game with him and make him buy the beers and hotdogs. There is no doubt he’ll give in and pay just to have others appreciate the game with him.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license