Monday, May 24, 2010

In Defense of Baseball

A few weeks ago I happened upon a copy of Rick Reilly’s latest book, Sports from Hell. I have professed to be a fan of Reilly in the past mainly because HIS columns are a hell of a lot shorter and a hell of a lot less Kobe-hating than Bill Simmons’ and I tend to agree with a lot of Reilly’s viewpoints. This book, however, despite its initial entertainment value, completely lost me when he introduced BASEBALL as one of the dumbest sports ever invented. As perplexed as I was to find out that a sportswriter detests the sport that has produced some of the greatest writing of the genre (think Gay Talese’s epic on DiMaggio), I was even more astounded at the fact that it was RICK REILLY, one of the most popular sportswriters of our generation dissing one of the most popular sports in the world. I was so peeved that I decided to come up with my own list of points enumerating why baseball DOESN’T suck.

1) Female fans of baseball are WAY hotter than female fans of football

When I think of female football fans, I think of Roseanne Barr-types: The kind of woman you wouldn’t mind chillin’ with at the football game because she may have legitimate insight and is just as passionate about the game as you are. When I think of female baseball fans, I think of Alyssa Milano-types: The kind of chick you want to chill with AFTER the game in the hopes that you can somehow get another kind of insight.

2) The people that attend football games are vicious lunatics

Baseball fans are generally a mix of people with their families or business guys that come out to the ballpark to kick back and chill. The whole scene is like a picnic; minus the fruity-ness. Football fans are a mix of rabid, severely overweight men that would sooner urinate on a puppy than wash their Jerome Bettis jersey that they faithfully wear every Sunday in between Brett Favre-inspired masturbatory sessions.

3) Baseball players may take a long time, but it’s for a reason

The only reason baseball players go through rituals in the batter’s box is NOT because their batting gloves need a fresh Velcro-ing, but because they need to mull over the myriad of possibilities about to be unfurled at them. They need time to freaking think before the pitcher tries to fool them with a 96 mph fastball or with a curveball that would buckle David. I’ll concede that sometimes they may take a bit long but there’s no need to bitch about it like Joe West, Jr.

4) You can take someone to a baseball game and have decent seats without having your car repossessed

Most baseball tickets (excluding half of Yankee Stadium), cost a lot less than football tickets and are more widely available to the average fan. Football tickets are only available to either the super-rich or as stated before, the super fanatical people of society most of whom could probably spend their money a bit more wisely. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have good seats at a football game but I wouldn’t give away my spleen just to sit in decent seats enduring either the stifling heat or the piercing cold.

5) Football has strange rules and can take a painfully long time too

The overtime system in the NFL has bothered pretty much every sports fan on the planet at one time or another and coach’s challenges add another dimension to the game that some people think is unnecessary. Also, for the people that complain that barely anything happens in baseball, let’s imagine the fraction of time something actually happens during a football game. Now let’s subtract from that “action” rushing plays of less than four yards, incomplete passes, short screens and other menial stuff like that. I doubt that fraction is now very high. Football even attempts to disguise the lack of plays by inflating the scores. A final score of 28-21 is really 4-3. There’s a tiny victory for soccer fans.

6) Football players cheat too but no one gives a shit

I will never understand why people are ready to hang any steroid user in baseball but are indifferent to juicers in football. Steroids help you bulk up unnaturally and while that does help increase your power numbers, you still need to be somewhat of a good hitter. In football, there are certain positions where size and strength are the ONLY determining factors in a player’s ability! Yet when they take steroids, no one is crying to expunge their lives from the human race. I don’t condone cheating in any sort of way. But I do think it’s ridiculous that there is almost a double standard when it comes to steroid use in the NFL and MLB.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE football and I love to watch it. It just annoys me that people hate on baseball for unfair reasons. Come on, Reilly… you cover freaking GOLF for ESPN. I think it’s safe to say that more people find watching golf more boring than watching baseball. But I digress. I really hope that baseball doesn’t fall in popularity like Reilly predicted in his book. I doubt it will, though, because the game has been played since the Lincoln administration. There’s something to be said about that.

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