Football or Baseball: Part I
With the National Football League playoffs in full force and the championship teams ready to play the final round before Super Bowl XLIV, I noticed some banter among some of my friends. There are some people who are bringing up the argument of which sport is better: baseball or football?
As a die-hard fan of both sports, it’s hard for me to say which sport is better. Baseball was the first sport I’ve ever loved, but in recent years football has captured my attention and interest.
I went to Google to find out what other people have to say about this argument and I found an interesting blog someone wrote for CBS. The author listed 25 reasons why football is better than baseball.
Although the blog brought up several excellent points, I’m just torn with this argument.
What I figured I would do was analyze each of his points objectively to determine which sport is better. I’ll list his points and give you my take on them. Since there are 25, I’ll break up the blog into two sections.
Why Football is Better than Baseball, Part I:
1) Football is the ultimate team sport. All 11 players are involved in every play.
This one I have to agree with, to a certain extent. Yes, all players on the field need to be moving and participating, but there are still players off the field. If your team is on defense, the offense isn’t playing and vice versa. I do see where he’s coming from here; every player on the baseball diamond isn’t involved in every play.
A centerfielder can catch a high-fly ball for an out…and what was the first baseman doing? Whereas a quarterback takes a snap and his offensive line is blocking the defensive line, the wide receivers are sprinting out to catch the ball while the cornerbacks are guarding them to interrupt the pass…and there’s so much happening all at once!
2) Football can be played by anyone, anywhere. All it takes is at least two players, and a $15 dollar ball. Baseball requires two $40 gloves, a $7 ball, a $50 bat, and so much more.
I think this comes down to preference. Instead of baseball, there’s always whiffle ball and those bats and balls are about $5 altogether. Not to mention you can play whiffle ball with only two people.
When he was a young man in Panama, Mariano Rivera had to use makeshift bats and balls to practice. He even crafted a glove out of a milk carton. I can’t really agree with this point, because as I said, it comes down to what you want to do.
3) Football statistics are simple are require little mathematics to compute.
I stink at math.
4) The average fan can pick up and understand football. In baseball, the average fan cannot tell the difference between a two-seam, a four seam, or a cut fastball.
I think this point simply comes down to how fast you learn things. I myself am slow to pickup on things at times, other times I catch on relatively easy. It took me a few years to learn all the rules of both baseball and football, but I learned, didn’t I?
5) Baseball is hyper sensitive to the elements. Football players play through rain, snow, sleet and everything in between.
Excellent point. In football they do not care if it’s raining, snowing, freezing rain, below zero temperatures–they play in anything with the exception of thunderstorms because it’s too dangerous.
In baseball, a slight drizzle could cause a rain delay. The tarp comes on the field and the fans are waiting for the players to come back out, getting soaked in the rain. I can remember when I was a freshman in college four years ago, I was talking to this girl I had a crush on.
She asked me how the Yankees were doing, as she knew how big of a fan I am. I told her about how the night before they were in a rain delay and how the game was eventually called. Her response:
“A-Rod is getting paid how much money? I think he can play in the rain!”
6) Every baseball player is presumed a cheater until proven otherwise. Football has no such problem.
There are cheaters in every sport.
I guarantee that there are a number of players in football who have used steroids and illegal substances. The NFL’s policy is that the players are responsible for what they put into their bodies. If the players who use do get caught, they are suspended, which is also MLB’s policy.
As for baseball, we’re playing in the steroid era. There are literally hundreds of players who have (at some point) used steroids. I think (sadly) the point is applied to most sports. Everyone–not just in baseball–is a cheater until proven otherwise.
7) The individual baseball games are meaningless. Game 34 means just as much as game 134. What you’re watching has no bearing on the season.
Yes and no. This point really depends on who you are watching play. Sometimes it takes more than 162 games to get into the postseason; ask the Twins and Tigers of last year. They played game 163 to determine who would win the AL Central and it wound up being one of the greatest games of the season.
But if you are watching the Kansas City Royals, or the Pittsburgh Pirates, or the Baltimore Orioles, or any team with a low payroll in last place…or even the Yankees or Red Sox or any team with a high payroll in first place…then yes, I see the point.
8) In baseball, a team can effectively remove the opposition’s best player from the game through the intentional walk. Football has no equivalent.
OK, good point. I’ve always seen intentional walking as a sort of loophole; many people use the term “bush league” to describe it. But if you’re a baseball fan, it works for your team and against your team in certain instances.
The only way to take out a football team’s best player is through physicality. If you hurt them on a play and injure them, then you have succeeded. But unlike baseball, there is no loophole to take a player out like the intentional walk.
9) In football, playoff games actually mean something. That one game decides who progresses and who stays home.
A good but sketchy point. Football has that no-nonsense mentality in terms of the playoffs. “You can’t win the game? Go home.” No matter what, one team will go “one and done,” so to speak.
In baseball there is a little more margin for error, considering it’s a series of games, not just one. But one game can mean something; for example, if the Yankees play the Twins in the ALDS, and they blow them out in game one, that can set the tone for the entire series.
In one game, a baseball team’s morale can go up or down, possibly determining a series.
10) Football rules make for dramatic comebacks. A team down by two scores can easily make up ground in the final period of play.
I can’t totally agree with this point, because there have been numerous baseball comebacks over the years. Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS, and I can think of at least three other comebacks the Yankees made this past October.
Football rules are designed for comebacks. If the Giants are down by two scores in the last 2:30 of the fourth quarter, they could potentially drive the ball down the field, score, recover an onside kickoff, drive the ball again, and tie the game (possibly even win it if they go for the two point conversion instead of the point-after-touchdown)
It’s extremely difficult to do that, but so is hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie a game. It’s hard to accomplish in both sports, honestly.
And…a walk-off home run is just as good as sinking a field goal as time expires..isn’t it?
11) Football games are lively, upbeat, and exciting. In today’s world of instant gratification and limited attention spans, many cannot appreciate the finer points of baseball.
Excellent point. Baseball is a slow-moving sport, let’s not kid ourselves here. A pitcher can take literally 45 seconds to a minute to throw a pitch. A batter can step out of the box whenever he pleases, and it can be a full 10 minutes before there is even a base hit.
With football, there has to be action within a certain period of time, no matter what. There’s constant action, every player is moving and it can be exciting. I’ve fallen asleep during some baseball games, simply because there was nothing happening.
My younger sister recently became a huge sports fan (I’m not sure how) but I was talking football with her the other day. Then she starts going on about college basketball and I finally looked at her and asked, “Why aren’t you a baseball fan?”
She replied, “It’s too slow. There is no action. At least with basketball and football they move around!”
My grandfather over heard our conversation and he looked at me, chimed in, and said, “She’s right. You have to be die-hard to watch baseball. With other sports like hockey and football and basketball there is consistent action. Baseball does not have that.”
12) Myron Cope. Anyone in baseball ever come close?
I had no clue who he was until I looked him up. Apparently Myron Cope was a journalist and sports broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a legend in steel town, holding the title as “Voice of the Steelers.”
I’ve never heard of him, let alone his voice, but from what I gathered he was very good at what he did. And I certainly admire and respect him for it.
But there are baseball announcers who have done extremely great work; baseball has had announcers with distinctive voices and easily recognizable catch phrases.
“Holy cow!”–Phil Rizzuto. Case in point.
That does it for Part I of this blog. I will be back with the final 13 points as well as a wrap up on this subject.