I could not believe my ears recently when I overheard two friends discussing their lack of love, even disdain, for baseball. Of course, I immediately informed them that they were no longer my friends. Just Kidding. However, it did get me to thinking. I’m like the next guy. I love sports. Can’t play them; but love them. Whether it’s pro-football, college football, college basketball, golf or bowling, I’ll watch and cheer like everyone else. I even watch some ‘not so favorite’ sports during the playoffs like pro-basketball, hockey, and soccer. BUT, how can someone who lives in America not love baseball? I asked my non-baseball “friends” if they were stupid or unpatriotic. We had a good laugh, but I now have the challenge to help them see that baseball is the greatest game ever played.
Each sport has its unique exciting moments: 3-pt buzzer beater, hail mary for a touchdown, flip-kick for a goal, power play goal, etc. However, there are nuances in baseball that are not found in any other sport. Recently, we all witnessed another perfect game. Not just a shut-out or no-hitter; but the perfect game. It’s even more exciting if both pitchers have a no-hitter going into the late innings. Boring? NO! Thrilling? YES! The ability on a given day to out-pitch the best hitters in the game. Also, where else can the hit-and-run challenge the strike’em out-throw’em out for the play of the game. There are so many exciting plays that will cause fans to rise to their feet. The 6-4-3 double play. A diving catch. A sacrifice bunt. A sacrifice fly for a RBI.
The thing about baseball is that the game is never over until the last out. Rarely will a football team score four touchdowns with two minutes to go in a game. The game is over. Rarely will a basketball team score twenty points to win with thirty seconds to play. Yet with baseball, a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth many times will change a L into a W. Whether it’s a homerun or a walk-off single, a fan knows their team can hustle and have a chance to come back to get the win. True baseball fans stay until the very end. There should never be a reason to leave early. Listen to these words from the past and fall in love with baseball all over again.
You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. ~Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970
There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971
I see great things in baseball. It’s our game – the American game. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us. ~Walt Whitman
That’s baseball, and it’s my game. Y’ know, you take your worries to the game, and you leave ’em there. You yell like crazy for your guys. It’s good for your lungs, gives you a lift, and nobody calls the cops. Pretty girls, lots of ’em. ~Humphrey Bogart
The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love. ~Bryant Gumbel, 1981