The next time you’re in a Philadelphia sports bar and in the mood for a bit of a frolic, walk up to the person wearing the most MLB-licensed gear whose body-type most closely resembles that of the Phillies mascot. Walk up to him and ask if he’s aware that the game of baseball—to which he’s obviously devoted far too much of his free time and disposable income—was invented by English schoolgirls.
Should the inevitable throat punch still be in the offering and you are capable of further elucidating your point, you could also mention that the term “baseball” made its first appearance in print in 1798 in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. The game was more commonly known as "rounders" during Austen’s day, and it remains popular among English girls too young for the leisure pursuits more common among that country’s modern womenfolk: pub knife-fighting and glassing.
Your Philly interlocutor could defy stereotype and commend your grasp on the girly origins of his national pastime. But, he could also point out that the game that packs the pubs in England, soccer, is also mostly enjoyed by children in the United States. Like adult readers of the Harry Potter books, those who play soccer beyond the age of 12 are tolerated, but only just.
Such debates are never-ending. Of course, each game has its fans and it’s not entirely fair to suggest that one sport is inferior to another—even if, in its earliest incarnation, it was played by schoolchildren who had to hike up their long dresses as they made a dash for first base.
There are, however, plenty of other reasons that soccer is superior to baseball, and here are the Top 15!
1. Despite the preponderance of wooden bats, there are seldom riots at a baseball game—a waste of all that equipment.
2. You could play the outfield sporting an IV drip in an adjustable bed without fear of a ball accidentally being belted in your direction.
3. A World Cup of Baseball would comprise a group smaller than the G8 or those attending a Reddit meet-up for people paralyzed by vaccines.
4. If a ball makes contact with your head in soccer, it does not mean an aneurysm.
5. If you break a sweat in baseball, it means you are suffering from a pharmaceutical side effect, have a thyroid condition, or the Humidex is too high to accommodate pajamas and a belt.
6. In soccer, if you get into a brawl, you have 300 drunk friends who could potentially jump in and stomp your opponent.
7. If you lit a flare in the stands of a baseball stadium, most people would wake up and complain.
8. A soccer ball won’t take out a windshield.
9. Soccer is a conversation-starter throughout the world, whereas baseball could, at best, help you ingratiate yourself among a group of Japanese businessmen who also like pro-wrestling.
10. Soccer managers wear sharp suits and smoke on the bench. Baseball managers suit up as if they’re in the starting line-up, despite guts nearly twice as large as those unsuccessfully processing heavy carbs on the diamond.
11. Soccer games usually last only 90 minutes and, often after a match, exuberant youth do a bit of high-spirited rioting. Three hours of Major League Baseball would be enough to leave even the most boisterous potential hooligan in an existential funk.
12. Soccer can be enjoyed anywhere with an open (buried explosive-free) space and a ball. Unless players are willing to risk broken bones in their hands, baseball can only be enjoyed in remote locales after the arrival of a Federal Express shipment of gloves.
13. Soccer is a sport where you can occasionally get away with kicking someone.
14. Unlike soccer, where people are constantly running up and down a vast field, in baseball, the majority of exercise is completed by the fans during the seventh inning stretch.
15. It is unheard of for someone to be trampled to death at a baseball game, a sorry statement regarding the enthusiasm of the game’s fans.