Baseball season is here. The green of the grass can be smelt upon the air. The sound of radio announcers giving us the play by play is welcome. And the Cardinals are on their way to their 12th championship.
For those of you, who love this game, this is for you. Reasons to love the game you may have instinctively “known” but not really got your head around are spelled out.
And if you don’t like baseball, maybe this will bring understanding.
1. Baseball is slow and incremental. We live in a fast-food, instant-win, lottery-makes-me-instantly-wealthy culture. So many people think the baseball season should be shorter. they want the beginning of the season and the end of the season closer together so they don’t have to suffer through the slog of the middle. But baseball is like life – all the wins and losses, from beginning to end matter but none are immediately devastating.
7. The Purity of the Stats. Stats are not just central to the game, they set it apart in their purity. But they are part of the problem in other sports. For example, in football a QB can throw a perfect pass and the receiver can drop it and it counts against the QB’s stats. That’s just stupid. I can think of nothing so ridiculous in baseball. In baseball, if you should have caught it or fielded it or thrown is better and didn’t, it’s an error. Simple as that. There may be arguments over the “should have” but the stats tell the story all things being equal. Unlike a dropped pass in football.
9. The Stories. Some are myth and some are true and they are all part of the game. Maybe it’s the story of just one play, a moment in time suspended in history for all of us to enjoy or despair of. In what other sport can you find a book about one hit? And the stories stretch from the central characters like Ruth, Mays and Boggs to the peripheral minor leaguers, their stadiums and the sandlots where the game grew faster than the weeds surrounding them. Maybe the stories are seem so much a part of the game because we time for announcers to tell them between pitches, maybe because they mirror the history of our country. Maybe it’s that baseball draws in all types of personalities giving us so many stories to tell. Regardless, you cannot read long before you get the feeling there is a desire for any story to be untold.
10. The Cards. Not the Cardinals per se. But the cards…baseball cards. I used to pore over mins for hours and hours, reorganizing them by team, then position, then by stats, and sometimes by value. Baseball cards…is there anything sadder than a football card? Besides a basketball card? Maybe hockey cards.