In America, there’s no question that sports play a huge role in society. Friendships are made or broken based on who you cheer for in a rivalry. Baseball has always been considered America’s pastime, but lately people feel that football has overtaken baseball. However, there’s something special about baseball that just can’t be explained. It’s something that football is lacking, something that words can’t really describe. Sitting in a baseball stadium, with the smell of hot dogs and pizza in the air, watching your favorite team play on some of the greenest grass you’ll ever see is just something special. Baseball just has a sort of magical atmosphere that just has to be experienced. But what is it that really sets baseball apart?
One of the most obvious ways that baseball sets itself apart from other sports is by not having a time limit. You’re not fighting against a clock or trying to decide how and when to use your time outs. Each team gets 27 outs. Between making that 27th out, you try scoring more runs than the other team does before making their 27th out.
Another way is with the longer schedules. Your favorite football team plays once a week, and maybe eight home games a year. Getting tickets is hard, and if your favorite team isn’t in your area, it could be years before getting to watch them. Imagine being a Seahawks fan in Alabama. You’ll be waiting forever for the Falcons and Seahawks to square off in the Georgia Dome. Plus, what are you going to do with the rest of your week? That Tuesday evening after getting off from work, what are you going to do? With baseball, your favorite team plays nearly every day. Just try and get through your work day and you can settle in and watch your favorite team play. Also going to see them live is easier. With more games, naturally you’re going to have a better chance to catch a game. If you’re a Giants fan, you know they’ll be playing the Braves at least one series a year in Atlanta. Don’t live where a major league team is located? There’s more than likely a minor league team in your area. I live roughly halfway between Huntsville and Birmingham and we have the Huntsville Stars (minor league club for the Milwaukee Brewers) and the Birmingham Barons (minor league club for the Chicago White Sox). These games are just as fun and a lot cheaper. You get to watch the future stars in action and they love signing autographs and receiving recognition. Sure there are some smaller football leagues, such as Arena Football, but nothing that is widely recognized and followed.
Yet another way that baseball separates itself is by the ballparks themselves. If you go to a football stadium, they’re all generally the same. Some may have a dome and some are open. Some may have insanely large video boards like Cowboy Stadium while some have smaller screens. But that’s about the extent of it with football. In baseball, you can have crazy nooks and crannies that benefits pitching or hitting. You can have huge outfield walls like the monster in Fenway. Wrigley Field has the ivy on the outfield walls. Busch Stadium is in the heart of St. Louis and has the St. Louis arch towering over the outfield seats. Go see Turner Field and the huge coke bottle a Chick-fil-a cow. In Miami, you have a horrid orange walls and a huge dolphin concoction in centerfield. It doesn’t matter what stadium you go to, there’s something that makes it unique.
Finally, baseball seems holds a special place whenever there’s a national tragedy. Remember 9/11? The Braves played the first game in New York after the attacks and I still remember watch that game and seeing the emotions on everyone’s faces there. More recently the events in Boston brought the baseball world together again with everyone supporting the people of Boston. Ballparks all across the country broke out in “Sweet Caroline” in support of Boston. When World War II began, some of baseball’s greatest stars such as Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio joined the war effort instead of continuing their illustrious baseball careers. In all, over 500 players enlisted in the military to serve for a greater cause.
Baseball has been around since the Civil War. There’s just something special about it. There’s a quote about baseball that says it “starts in the spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling afternoons and evenings.” Maybe that’s what makes baseball so unique. Maybe it’s just the atmosphere. Whatever it is, baseball has it, and it is special. So whether you like baseball or loathe it, go to a stadium and take in a game. You may feel differently than I do, and that’s perfectly okay. But I will promise that you won’t leave disappointed in the experience. I’ll leave you with a video of “Sweet Caroline” being played at Fenway Park, one of baseball’s greatest traditions.