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Baseball is the best spring sport

Baseball is Thebest-seanrogers

Baseball is the best spring sport because it is the best sport. Let us briefly tour America’s two other contenders for national sport, in order to establish why they are inferior to baseball. Football’s violence rises to the point of malfeasance, and beyond that it is mind-bogglingly slow, it is a cliché, but also entirely true, to say that there is less than 15 minutes of actual football in a three-hour televised game. That’s insane! If you took all the playing time a team does in a regular NFL season, you’d have a sort-of-long movie. Over 17 weeks! Understanding this helps us understand the pathologies of football fans, who are at any given time suffering from sports withdrawal, which helps to explain the fact that few NFL fans have just one team and why the hardcore users almost inevitably dip into college ball. Not baseball. A 162-game season leaves baseball fans swimming in baseball. Baseball is a sport of abundance. There is no skinner-box forced deprivation here to lock in your addiction.


Basketball is a close second to baseball. Its feats are gymnastic and awing, the NBA boasts enough games per season, and the small teams allow for engaging personalities. However, the sports journalists at Secret Base note, the uniquely high-scoring character of a basketball game makes the sport, paradoxically, boring. The constantly repeated scoring by a small slate of players over and over again leads to a flattening out of luck or freak occurrences in the season and permits a dominance by a small minority of super-star teams and players. In a sport with several hundred scoring opportunities per match, the opportunities for real contingencies and the freak occurrences that define the storylines we look for in sports is diminished. Basketball has few memorable key plays; it has careers and franchises of unquestioned dominance instead. It has “King James,” not “The Catch.” You can see this repetition-induced flattening in the history of basketball championships; the Lakers and Celtics account for almost half of all champions, ever. Throw in the Warriors and Jordan’s Bulls and you have all but a few championships accounted for by four household names. No such boring-ness in baseball, which occupies a perfect middle ground between football’s once-a-week pachinko-esque odds and basketball 100-point-game eye-rolling.


Baseball is also fresh right now, amid a series of rule changes tested out in last year’s minor leagues. The game is faster than ever, with stolen bases up and extra inning duels more precarious than ever. While I’ve spent more time trashing other sports here than extolling baseball’s virtues, that’s simply because I think the best way to understand why America’s pastime has stood the test of time is to take yourself out to the ballgame.

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