Why Baseball Is The Best Sport

Baseball

For today’s article I thought I would throw down a little rant as we like to do at Mop Up Duty.  This is my ode to baseball and why it is better than every other sport.

Unlike the NHL which changes rules every day it seems, there have been no rule changes since 1908 in baseball (sac-fly rule). I am not including the DH rule in this discussion because it only affects the AL.  Why mess with something that is perfect?

You don’t have to be affluent to take part in it. You don’t need a ton of equipment to play – just a bat, a ball, and a glove…. and you can even make the glove out of cardboard.

It gives Dads and sons something to talk about.

Baseball is a game for dreamers.  Its ebbs and flows conducive to using your imagination.

Every ballpark is unique.

It is the perfect spectator sport. Plots, subplots, action and breaks in action to talk to your friend.

It is as fun to watch the defensive aspect of the game as it is the offense.

The most exciting plays in sports: The play-at-the-plate and the walkoff HR.

It is both a team sport……. and an individual sport.

Uniforms, like the players who wear them, give us the means to savour the game’s past.

It signifies a rebirth from the death that is winter.

Accuracy & Speed
The mind to take in and readjust to the unexpected
The possession of more than one talent
to work on and harness without special orders

There are virtues that shine in baseball
It is graphic and choreographic
Baseball is a kind of collective chess
With arms and legs in full play, on display

in the sunlight.

Out of the ‘Big 4’ sports (MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL) baseball is the only sport where the winning team can’t run out the clock.

You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.

—Earl Weaver

 

It is a total sensory experience – the feel of the sun, smell of the grass, a summer breeze, the sound of leather cracking and bats on balls.  It definitely beats the sound of squeaking running shoes on a parquet floor.

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It may have the finest finesse move in all sports, the 6-4-3 (or 4-6-3) double play.

A team can bring back an era, a player can recreate the sense of a year
Baseball freezes these moments and holds them until you want to think about them
and then they’re released again
and all their youthful energy and vitality as they were

Ballplayers never age in memory
They are always young.

The electicity in the ball park when the ‘closer’ comes in out of the pen. Whether it is Trevor Hoffman coming out to the sounds of “Hells Bells” or Eric Gagne coming out to his ‘Game Over’ routine, the ball park will be rocking when the hired gun comes in to shut things down.

And now I would like to invite you to the mopupduty.com poetry corner. Take off your shoes Mr. Rogers-style, pull up a chair and enjoy.

Mister Rogers 

I leave you now with a treatise by the greatest sportswriter of all time, Joe Posnanski, on Loving Baseball.

Written By

has written for Mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Callum on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (@callumhughson)

  • Early

    Any ball pre-1947 should have an asterisk, biggest rule change ever happend. Although an adminstrative rule it affected the game more than moving the mound to 60’6″, bigger than DH, bigger than sac-fly, bigger than outlawing courtesy runners, bigger than shaving the mound down in ’68. Integration of baseball, like the forward pass in football, truly devides the sport pre-integration and post-integration. But other than that, I still agree with you that baseball is the best game.

  • The allowance of a handful of players in the late forties and early fifties alleviates prejudice and counts as full intergration? Some would say that even today the Majors aren’t fully intergrated until more asian born players are intergrated into the game. Plus there’s still the Cuban question. I just don’t buy the intergration arguement.

    Punishing any player with an asterisk for something that is out of their control, such as intergration is just plain silly. Yep, I said silly.

  • Early

    I admit an asterisk was an exaggeration and I in no way endorse an asterisk beside any record that is, as you put it “outside of a players control”. However, I won’t take back that integration changed the game more than any other act. There is nothing in the rules or conduct of the Major Leagues that limits Cubans, Asians or Martians from being able to play if they are good enough. I realise that baseball was not fully integrated with black players until the early 70’s and Cubans and Asians are still underreprestend but MLB has been allowed to integrate since 1947 – therefore the magic line. Just curious as to what you think is the biggest change in baseball…lets say since the New York and Philadelphia games were sorted out …since 1870?

  • On the field, probably the 1920 Chapman death. It changed the game a lot, but on the other hand the changes were going to happen sooner or later. Marvin Miller was a big deal as well. Certainly intergration was a key but in my mind it wasn’t fully intergrated until the late fifties, early sixties.

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  • Alain

    Nice I just read this last Friday when I was bored and going through archives 😀

  • “[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

    – A. Bartlett Giamatti

  • daperman

    Biggest change in 1973 with the advent of the Designated Hitter in the AL. Best change ever made.

    You can talk all you want about the stategy in the NL around the pitcher, double swithces etc.. (very predicatably by the way) but there is no way to get around the biggest rally killer in baseball: the pitcher coming to bat with two out. Oh yes that is generally proceeded by the always exciting intentional base on balls to the .200 hitting SS or catcher. O I forgot the always exciting one out Sac bunt by the pitcher. Nothing like throwing outs away in a game.

  • You think rule changes make a sport more imperfect and boring? If that were the case then the NHL would be out of business and very very imperfect. Far from it, it is expanding very quickly. The only place it seems to be dragging its feet is in the US south. Go figure though, that is baseball territory. Hockey is doing very well, and never fails to draw a crowd. Baseball as far as I remember, has trouble at times drawing in a crowd, even in the US, where it is supposedly the national past time. Hockey is more than a past time, it is life for many northerners.

  • erichwalker

    Everyone seems to think that baseball is the most boring sport. Fact is, baseball isn’t a sport at all. It’s a pastime. Yes, you certainly keep score. Yes, it matters who wins. But the spectacular thing about baseball is that it’s appeal does not come from amazing shots or crushing blows. That’s why it’s considered boring, in the same manner that the first robin of Spring is boring. Or a sunset. Baseball isn’t going to stoop down and give you a twenty-car pileup at 170 mph to get your hair to stand on end. Too easy. Baseball makes you think. And, if you want to really know baseball, you’ve got to care. And if you do, it’ll put more knots in your guts than all the knots on all the ships that ever sailed the sea. But, like a lady, she isn’t just gonna give that to you without any effort on your part. You gotta work for it. So yes, baseball is boring. Everything that really matters in life is.