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6 April 2014

Give baseball a swing

With March Madness’s finale upon us, many are struggling to fill the hole in their schedule as they cry about the atrocious series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” and laugh about the upcoming NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. (Prediction: the eighth-seed’s win percentage will be A-Rod’s batting average last year.)

In order to fill this gap, I am prescribing a remedy that many Americans have abandoned over the last twenty years: baseball. You know, America’s past pastime?

Let’s face it: While superior athletes have been juking on the gridiron and dunking on the hardwood, Major League Baseball has been slipping toward the bottom of the sports totem pole, somewhere between the WNBA and … actually, wait, that is the bottom.

But let’s be fair here. It’s not baseball’s fault that baseball is baseball. Attention spans are dropping like pre-pubescent flies, and baseball requires nine innings to potentially end with only one or two runs. These days, most spectators expect at least one spine-crushing skirmish for some real entertainment value.

Good news, though: Independent baseball leagues (i.e. the Atlantic League) are beginning experiments to shorten the game’s length, which could ultimately translate to the MLB.

However, baseball actually has some stimulating qualities that should not be overlooked, and I suggest that everyone give it a chance again.

First off, baseball is the most relaxing team sport. Every game promises warm weather, radiant sunshine, crisp sand and Puerto Ricans. Who doesn’t love a sport that’s basically South Beach?

Football and basketball are intense. Every second is spent worrying whether a player’s ACL will tear or a concussion is going to drop a player’s IQ back below 50.  Meanwhile, the biggest fear in baseball is whether it’s going to rain.

Also, when you watch baseball, you feel patriotic. Baseball is one of America’s finest traditions. No other major sport unites Americans to cherish classic story lines that have been accumulating since our President was named Ulysses. For example, we can all laugh at the Chicago Cub’s century-long World Series drought, or just hate the Yankees.

There are no clothes-lining tackles or face-time jams, but just sit down, grab a milkshake and watch a baseball be pelted at 100 miles per hour and then clobbered 400 feet over a wall. That’s pretty exciting, and no one has to get hurt.

I’m not suggesting baseball is the best sport, because frankly, it’s not. However, during the spring and summer, when other sports are dwindling, tuning to the diamond can be just as satisfying.

So, after this miserable semester concludes, try catching a few innings of America’s original pastime. At least until the World Cup starts.

Danny New is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism.