I’ve never been a huge sports nut. I won’t pretend to know every player on my favorite teams, all their stats, or even their first names. But one thing I do know: baseball is just better than the other sports. In honor of Opening Week, I humbly present my reasoning below.
1. Baseball has the best movies. Does any other sports movie conjure the smirking nostalgia of The Sandlot? Or the teary-eyed, goosebumpy pride of A League of Their Own? Baseball movies run the gamut from saccharine, G-rated fantasy (see: Rookie of the Year, Angles in the Outfield) to hilarious but barely appropriate for children (Major League…Major League 2…even though we all watched them as kids). These movies not only taught us the value of hard work and playing fair, most of us developed our curse word lexicon from these movies.
Hell, Kevin Costner wouldn’t have a career without baseball movies (Bull Durham being the best, obviously).
2. Baseball players wear PANTS. Like GENTLEMEN.
3. The pacing of the game is just right. Some people might say baseball is too slow, and those people would be wrong. Baseball is a usually leisurely game perfectly punctuated with moments of tension and driven by detailed strategy. At a basketball game, you could miss all of the game, save the last two minutes on the clock, and still catch 110% of the excitement. With scoring every few seconds, it takes away from the relief and joy of scoring. And soccer, I mean, God–it could go on for hours without a score.
4. Vin Scully. Okay, my Dodgers bias is showing through, but the man is a poet. Listening to him call a game is like hearing Homer himself read from The Odyssey.
5. It’s tightly woven into American culture. It’s the working man’s sport–well, it WAS, before tickets to see the Yankees or the Dodgers cost more than a cross-country flight to get there. Kids from all different generations and socioeconomic backgrounds grew up playing catch with their dads, or starting pick up games with their friends in the lazy days of summer. Baseball history has even mirrored the political climate of the country: women stepped in during World War II, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers, suburban sprawl led to record attendance numbers, the 80s kind of sucked, and our modern, ultra-competitive attitude comes to a head with the steroids scandals of the 90s and 00s.
6. The food, obviously. This is the main reason I go almost anywhere in public. Some baseball stadiums even rival surrounding restaurants. Citifield, for example, has a Shake Shack, and according to legend, it sometimes doesn’t have a line. Dodger Stadium has these aaamazing carne asada nachos that I dream of regularly, and likewise Petco Park in San Diego has some pretty serious Mexican food too. And AT&T Park in San Fran features–what else–a Ghirardelli sundae.
I think I’ve made my case. Next time any of you baseball haters opens your mouth to complain about how long and boring the game can be, fill it with a Dodger dog.