April 3, 2006

a depressing time of year

I hate baseball season. The fact that the Earthquakes moved to Houston and left the Bay Area with no MLS team makes it worse. I'm happy the World Cup is this year, but still... once tonight's basketball game is over there is little else to look forward to until late August when college football starts up again.

I can think of no sporting reason that baseball became our "national pastime." It's so lame they can't even play it in a light rain. 95% of the game consists of three players--the pitcher, the catcher, and the batter.

I had the opportunity to hear Ken Burns speak last year, and he gave me the only credible reason I can think of that baseball is so popular. You hear football fans say, "Remember that [catch|goal-line tackle|etc.] that won that game?" You hear basketball fans say, "Jordan was really something that day he scored 60." You hear baseball fans say, "Remember that time we piled in the back of the station wagon and dad took us to Fenway?" That is, the experience is not about the sport but about family, friends, atmosphere.

I think that's one reason soccer is so popular elsewhere in the world but not in the USA. I play on a team, and the only spectators we get are the occasional wife and kids that are dragged along. We sometimes play on fields next to a Latino game--in our area it's mostly Mexicans--and there are literally hundreds of people out with barbecues, kids, coolers... it's a whole community event.

I guess that's why baseball is so popular. The game's pace (glacial) lends itself to frequent trips to the barbecue, bathroom, beer cooler, Asia, etc. It becomes a community event, not a game.

But I really wish the blight on sports that is Major League Baseball would wither and fade away. Sure, it would put some sportswriters out of work, but overall the impact on America would be positive.


PJD said...

Addendum: It was a happy day when the Olympics dropped baseball. It shows they're not entirely morally bankrupt.

Jane D. said...

Well...I like baseball. And hotdogs. And apple pie.

Unknown said...

Don't hold back, Pete -- tell us what you really think about baseball :)