Baseball, Pt. 1
There is a stretch of time during the summer where a good amount of sports fans die. This stretch is called “baseball season”, and it occurs whenever football and basketball have all ended, and the only thing television is baseball.
It wasn’t always this way. There was a time that baseball was the preferred sport of America. Every child wanted to grow up and swing sticks for a living. That’s why picking up sticks and hitting things is naturally bred into every American child.
But over the years, baseball is just viewed as boring. The MLB season only gets prime billing in October. College baseball teams barely get enough scholarships to have a full lineup.
Simply put, people care less and less about baseball these days.
In this first post in a three-part series on baseball, The GBOAT will look at why baseball isn’t as popular any more.
I’m going to give you three scenarios on how to pass the time. You tell me which one sounds the LEAST ridiculous:
- You have a ball that isn’t shaped like a ball. You are to run some 300 feet towards a large rectangle, while 11 men attempt to kill you. You have some guys on your side to get in the way of the 11 men who want your head on a platter. You can earn 6 points, 3 points, or 1 point (or 2 points, technically!), but only in special situations.
- You and four of your friends are trying to throw a ball that is shaped like a ball into a basket. The basket is suspended 10 feet in the air. There are five men who want to kill you, but are not allowed to do anything more than stand in front of you with their arms up. Also, you have to bounce the ball whenever you attempt to move, but if you are foolish enough to pick the ball up, you can’t bounce it anymore. You can earn 2 points, 3 points, or 1 point, but only in special situations.
- You have a stick in your hand. Somebody throws a ball at you. Your job is to hit it as far as possible. You can earn 1 point, or sometimes up to 4, but only in special situations.
The concept of baseball is honestly the most logical of the three major sports. However, the logic behind the sport has disappeared, as trying to hit a ball really far is now considered to be stupid by a large amount of people.
There are three reasons behind the shrinking interest in baseball.
The nation has no attention span. Real quality things take time. Real music isn’t put together on Garageband in five minutes. Real food takes time to prepare.
As a nation, we only care about speed these days. Quality music? Nah, just give us Ke$ha. Quality food? McDonald’s will suffice.
The same goes with sports. Unless it all happens quickly, we’re not interested. There are some people who even say that football is too slow to keep their interest.
All in all, we’re just too impatient, and have too small of an attention span for baseball.
Keep in mind, we’re the same nation that decided to give Slamball a chance. Not exactly floating around in good ideas these days, either.
Baseball stats are confusing. When a basketball player is scoring a lot of points, you can tell. It’s because they have this thing called “Points Per Game” that show you how regularly he scores a lot of points. Pretty convenient.
Not baseball, however. Stats can’t just be “good throws per game” or “how far he hits the ball”. There are weird batting averages and you can actually commit errors. But not all mistakes are considered errors. And it gets worse.
Pitchers have to have a good ERA, which stands for earned run average. This is the amount of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings played. So first of all, you have to figure out which runs were earned or not. Then you divide it by innings pitched. THEN you multiply that by 9!
Basically you just have to know that if you keep it below 4, you’re doing well. 4 runs seems like a lot in baseball. But apparently it’s low enough to earn someone millions of dollars.
Another awful stat is batting averages. ANY OTHER SPORT will put their percentages as percentages. A quarterback completes 60% of his passes? Good for him. A guy is shooting 45% from 3-point range? I like it.
A guy is batting .400? That sounds like less than 1% to me. I don’t want him on my team. But it’s actually 40%, which is most impressive. Why doesn’t baseball word it like that, though? Because they hate their fans.
Other sports got bigger and faster. Baseball got steroid-er. Over the years, you have seen more and more freakishly built men become professional athletes. Years ago, you had normal sized men who were athletic star in sporting events. Today? It’s different.
But in baseball, players realized that none of this actually helped them out much. A player can be so quick that he can steal bases in his sleep, but it makes no difference if he never leaves home plate.
Thus, baseball players started turning to illegal steroids to become stronger, so they could hit the ball much farther.
What’s funny is that for a while, this totally worked! People LOVED watching baseball during the height of the home run era!
After we discovered everyone was cheating, the game had to be reset. Now we’re in the middle of a very interesting time for the game, where pitchers are kings again and great hitters care more about getting on base than blasting a home run away.
But we don’t care anymore. Cheaters ruined the game for us.
So there are two people left in America: people who LOVE baseball, and people who HATE baseball. It’s amazing how little middle ground there is.
But there is still one thing that American sports fans can all agree on: We’re not good at soccer, so it must be a stupid sport.
How do YOU feel about baseball?