Coping with the Lockout - "Watch Another Sport" Part 2 - Baseball

One of the refrains I hear constantly from people when I'm complaining about the lockout is "Watch another sport then". This doesn't make any sense at all and I'm going to tell you why, sport by sport.

Baseball is something I've never quite understood. It's fun enough to play, and the idea of throwing a ball back and forth with your dad is as ingrained into North American culture as anything I can think of. But man oh man is it ever boring to watch. Here's why:

  • Baseball has a real disadvantage when talking sports, it's not really a sport. No one ever says "Baseball is America's favourite sport", because it's not. They say, "Baseball is American's favourite pastime". Pastime... Reading a book is a pastime, watching a movie is a pastime. Who turns on their big screen TV to watch people participating in a pastime? It's like watching people watch a movie. No thanks.
  • As you can see from the cover photo, some of the players in baseball aren't what you would call athletes. I really don't see the appeal of watching a bunch of dudes who look like me running around bases, then huffing and puffing when they inevitably get tagged as out.
  • The New York Yankees.There is a salary cap of sorts in baseball, but the insane wealth of the Yankees allowed them to completely ignore this "soft" cap and buy the best players every year in free agency. This is why they're so good, this is why everyone who like baseball hates them. Due to the inherent inequalities in baseball, they're always around to annoy everyone. The Yankees have appeared in 40 World Series, more than double the next most successful team, the St. Louis Cardinals at 18.
  • There are simply way too many games. People complain that an 82 game NHL schedule is too long. It's pretty tough to clear your own schedule to watch all of your team's favourite games. Now imagine double that, because that's what the MLB does. That is an absolute onslaught of games. Because of this, you end up cramming so many games together that you have afternoon games during the week. What gives?
  • There are teams in baseball, but it sure as hell isn't a team sport. Baseball at its core is a series of individual plays. There is no chemistry in baseball, this is probably why stats dominated the game in baseball before other major league sports. You just plug in players and the game works out more or less predictably.
  • Drug use. Now, I'm not one to get all high and mighty on performance enhancing drugs. Personally I find the public crucifixion of Lance Armstrong to be more of a witch hunt to find a bogeyman than anything Armstrong ever did. But with how rampant PEDs are in baseball, why is everyone so damn out of shape? How is Barry Bonds an all-time great with the same physique as the people watching the games in a sports bar? Oh right, because it's a pastime.
  • I often hear that going to baseball games is amazing because of the atmosphere, the food, and the Americana. What I don't ever here is that going to baseball games is great because of the baseball. That is a magnificently huge problem for a sport pastime.
  • The MLB is supposed to be the height of talent in the sport pastime of baseball, yet the much lauded position of the pitcher in baseball is outdone by women's softball! An episode of the Discovery Channel subsidiary Discovery Science show Sports Science even tested this theory, and the underhand fastball by the softball pitcher ended up being much faster, and due to the arch of the ball, much more difficult for a professional MLB slugger to land a hit. So why isn't women's softball dominating ESPN 6 months a year?

So there you have it, baseball sucks and is stupid and boring, just like basketball.

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