I really hate to say that, I really do.
Now this does NOT mean it’s the best sport, the most exciting sport, my favorite sport, or anything along those lines of insanely asinine.
But after really thinking about it, baseball…is the perfect sport.
I realize how crazy that sounds, especially when I literally wrote an (eventually clairvoyant) article about how the best news for baseball was what everyone thought was a gimmick.
For those who don’t know me, I’ve been a collegiate baseball broadcaster for the last couple of years, doing many years at Central Michigan University baseball, and being the Assistant GM of the Lake Erie Monarchs collegiate summer baseball team for two years.
That doesn’t matter though.
I’ve been a strong proponent of never wanting to watch national baseball broadcasts because…surprise, they’re boring.
Last night though, I was fully mentally prepared to do two of my favorite things during the summer: ride my bike up into town, and jump in my pool to cool off before working on some projects.
Everything changed though when I asked my dad if the Tigers were on, to which he turned on the TV and there they were.
Well, as I saw the streaks of waning sunlight from the sunset hitting into the outfield as a ball flew past the fences, I got hit with this sudden overwhelming feeling of just yearning(?).
It all dawned on me at once on why it’s the perfect sport, and allow me to explain:
I don’t think any other sport could have so much to offer for both the casual fan, the intense fan, the new fan, and the non-fan.
- Casual Fan/Non-Fan/New Fan
- At a basic level, baseball is really easy to follow. You get a hit and reach a base, you’re safe.
- Walk Up songs provide a fun, easy way to recognize players.
- It’s easy to get excited when something big happens because you understand when it’s big…a homerun, an RBI scoring hit, a steal.
- YOU DON’T NEED TO CONSTANTLY PAY ATTENTION
- This part is most vital. You don’t need to watch EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY to care about the game or know what’s been happening.
- You can literally walk around the entire concourse, socialize, go into the bars/restaurants/different features in the stadium and not be criticized for wasting your admission price.
- Nobody judges you for being a casual fan like in other sports (looking at you, hockey…)
- There is almost more fun in the atmosphere and what’s going on around the park than during the game.
- Breweries and distilleries seem to have a massive infatuation with baseball above anything else, so the amount of craft beers and mixed drinks you can get at games can hold over nearly anyone’s taste.
- It is a sport played in the summer, which means it is almost always warm out.
- Intense Fan
- Literally not other sport has as many statistics, so much focus on that saturated statistic field, or people keeping track of their own scoring sheets.
- “For those of you scoring at home…” is for some reason a real thing. I’ve gone to baseball games with monsters who literally stay the whole game so that they can score their own full game.
- With modern stadium design, literally ANY where is a fine seat.
Development and Non-Majors:
I don’t know if it was implied, but in my above reasoning, I was mainly discussing Major League Baseball. If I started doing this focusing on Minor League and Professional Independent baseball…we’d be here all day.
No sport development system is as enthralling, financially-sounding as an investment, and fun as Minor League Baseball. Even when baseball is boring, you have team names like the Akron Rubber Ducks, Modesto Nuts, New Orleans Baby Cakes, Montgomery Biscuits…the list is endless. That doesn’t inherently do anything for the game…until they incorporate these ridiculous team names into their promotions, mascots, and everything they do.
For God’s Sake…the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp did a “You Might Be The Father’s Day” promotion where the handed out pregnancy tests. You can’t make this up. Everything about that sentence is absolutely magnificent.
Factor in local appeal, attraction, ballpark design, and different novelty ideas into every team of every game all summer long, and it’s a bit overwhelming.
Gimmicky? Hardly. Baseball is a business yes, but the MiLB literally goes by the moniker “#MiLBIsFun”. This is part of their mission statement, and brand. Fun. Making long hot summers where baseball is the only sport exciting. You have no choice but to watch Baseball…or Chase Ruttig’s Canadian Football League. Might as well enjoy all the novelty, wackiness, and embarrassment.
I could endlessly post reasonings and arguments for why baseball is the perfect sport, but I’ll leave it at one big TL;DR…
Baseball is like social drinking in college. It’s the ultimate way to enjoy a hot sunny day, and whether you are just sipping on it, shotgunning it, or not even drinking, it’s a fun activity to do, especially when the party around it is loose and fun.