The Great Game

Baseball, baseball how do I love thee?  Shall I count the ways?  Do I need all 10 fingers?  Yes I would but I will keep it just a little shorter.

The majority of its season is played in the warmth of Spring and Summer.  There is nothing like sitting outside in the fresh air (or even stale air if your team plays in a dome) on a sunny afternoon or a clear night sky and watch a baseball game.  Major League or Single-A, it doesn’t matter.  I can’t think of a better way to relax and spend a couple of hours with family or close friends.  I will admit the tailgating experience in football is alluring but when the temperature is lower than your shoe size, the appeal gets lost among the ice caps forming on your eyebrows.

The regular season actually means something.   Playoff spots are few.  If you make the playoffs in Major League Baseball, it is not a fluke.  A team truly has to earn its way in.  There is the occasional 83 win squad that makes it but you will never, EVER see a team with a losing record make the Postseason.  People complain about the length of a baseball season but in reality it is only 8 games longer than it was back in the golden age of the 1950’s.  As baseball expanded, so did the need for extra playoffs to keep more cities involved in the hunt.  I would have preferred to keep the League Championship Series at best of 5 (so would have the 1985 Blue Jays who were up 3 games to 1 the first year the new format was implemented) but I have learned to live with it.

What event has done more for society than Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers?  That took place more than a decade BEFORE the denial ofRosaParks a bus seat, sparking the Civil Rights Movement.  It might be fair to say that Jackie Robinson helped the country accept Martin Luther King, Jr.  because of his bravery in becoming the first black man to play Major League Baseball and the beginning of acceptance for blacks to become integrated in society.  It is said sports has the ability to bring people of diverse nationalities and incomes together and root as one people for their favorite teams.  I dare say baseball was the first sport to reflect that statement.

No sport has the history of baseball.  The World Series dates back to 1903.  Japanese soldiers used to taunt American soldiers during World War II by mocking Babe Ruth.  The NFL is more popular now but the names of Ruth, Cobb and DiMaggio still resonate 60 and 70 years after they quit playing.  When you hear the numbers 56 or .400 you know exactly what they mean.   The same can’t be said of football, basketball and hockey.  Tired of baseball living in the past?  Try finding a more exciting ending to a season than the end of the 2011 baseball season (unless of course you are a Red Sox or Braves fan).  You couldn’t even begin to duplicate that anywhere else.    People will point to low World Series ratings as evidence of baseball’s declining interest  but I would argue baseball has never been more popular with long suffering teams (with rich histories) in Pittsburgh and Kansas City offering glimmers of hope and the number of minor league teams dotted all around the country. 

These are but a few of my reasons for my love affair with baseball.  I would love to read what you guys think.  Take care and be sure to come back here often for some more wisdom and entertainment.

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