The game is our national pastime. No matter what people say about how it’s losing its touch, there are just countless reasons as to why it is better than any sport in the world. The idea for this post came to me today after I watched my beloved Eagles tie the Cincinnati Bengals. As I left the TV after Donovan McNabb couldn’t find a home for a hail mary post-Shayne Graham missed field goal, I thought about just one of the many reasons why baseball is America’s true pastime: Two teams cannot tie (okay forget the Milwaukee All Star Game). Someone is always better on a given day. The game can theoretically go on for days and even longer. The longest professional game ever was a Triple-A game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings in 1981. The ‘PawSox’ won 3-2 in 33 innings. That game featured hall-of-famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs.
So reason #1: No Ties.
Reason #2: Length of the season. Some complain about how the season is too long, but that only gives more accuracy as to who the best teams in each division are.
Reason #3: Tradition. No sport has a tradition quite like baseball. I could go on forever with this.
Reason #4: No time limit. There’s no clock. The longest game ever recorded time-wise was an 8 hour and six minute affair in which the Chicago White Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 in 25 innings. You cannot put a limit on the game
Reason #5: Variation of situations. There are countless situations that a baseball player can be in, and in the seconds that a play occurs they have to make quick decisions. More recently, Chase Utley in part two of game five on the Akinori Iwamura groundball where he threw out Jason Bartlett at home and countless, countless other situations.
Reason #6: Walk-offs. I think the walk-off is one of the most exciting times in the game. The game is over like that. It beats a game winning field goal, touchdown, goal, or basket any day of the week. Bill Mazeroski, Kirk Gibson, Joe Carter (sadly), Chris Chambliss, Chris Burke, Edgar Renteria, Luis Gonzalez, and many many others.
Reason #7: Lack of a salary cap. You can’t limit how much a team can buy. But, when a low-market, low-salary team comes through and becomes successful, it makes the game look even more genuine through the paradox (i.e. ’08 Tampa Bay Rays).
Reason #8: No-hitters and Perfect games. For a pitcher to go out there every inning and not let up a hit all game is one of the most miraculous feats in professional sports, if not the most miraculous. I was at the Kevin Millwood no hitter and it is one of the most unbelievable things I have ever witnessed.
Reason #9: Variation of ballparks and field dimensions. It gives fans more appreciation and pride in their ballpark. It is not limited to 100 yards and two endzones or baseline to baseline. No one cannot limit the way a parks dimensions are set up within that 90 degree angle. From the Polo Grounds deep center to the Minute Maid hill to the Green Monster, each and every stadium is original.
Reason #10: Trek to the majors. From the Rookie Gulf Coast League to the Single-A Short Season New York-Penn League to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, the players in the majors are only the best of the best of the best… of the best.
These are only ten of countless reasons. You cannot limit the reasons, you cannot limit the game to anything. That’s what makes it the best game in the world.