With the start of the 2009 baseball season officially kicking off today when the World Champ Philadelphia Phillies play host to the Atlanta Braves, I would like to give a manifesto of sorts to why baseball is everything good in the world, as well as being the best sport ever.
1. Skills over Athleticism
Baseball is a sport that takes years to perfect. My high school’s varsity baseball/freshmen football coach said: “I can teach you how to play football in a week, but if you wanna make the baseball team, you better have been playing since you were a little kid.” You can't fake baseball and you can't get by on athleticism alone.
For example, Antonio Gates didn’t play football in college. He was a basketball player, but in the matter of a few months he was “the next best thing” after being signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Diego Chargers.
I think most would agree he is the best tight end in the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a football fan as well as a diehard Chargers fan, I just see this as another reason why baseball is better.
Not to mention, hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. What else could you do 30 percent of the time and be labeled as good at doing your job?
2. Consistency over Streakiness
There are 162 games in a baseball season, compared to 16 in the NFL, 82 in the NHL, and 82 in the NBA.
The baseball season gathers a better sample than any of these major sports in deciding who should make the playoffs. Then once you get to the playoffs, the series are best of five and best of seven. In football, the playoffs are single game eliminations.
While everyone likes an underdog story, the best team should still be rewarded more often than not.
3. Ability to be Yourself
Football allows for one personality: the machismo and dog-eat-dog personality.
This is why Adrian Gonzalez chose baseball over football while at East Lake High School in San Diego County, even though he was the starting JV quarterback and in line to start on varsity his junior year.
In an article by Tom Krasovic in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gonzalez stated: “Football, the attitude and mentality, just wasn’t for me. Guys wanted you to be a certain way, just because it was the football way. To me, that was tired. Be yourself.”
Baseball allows for personalities to contribute to the team rather than try to mold everyone into one way of thinking. For instance, the Oakland A's feel-good and work/party-hard mentality without a doubt contributed to their success in the earlier part of this decade.
Baseball is art. It is romantic. It has no time constraints. There are no quarters or periods that last exactly 15 minutes. Baseball will end when it ends. The sound of a wooden bat (or aluminum if you are on a college campus like me) hitting a baseball on a warm spring or summer day is bliss.
So get away from your so-called busy days, head to a baseball game, chat it up with the person next to you, and wear your home team colors. Baseball is here.