Why Baseball Is Not Boring
Many people, males in particular, are a fan of at least one sport. A mass majority take enjoyment in multiple sports. Of the four major American sports, football is the one I would say is most popular among sports fans (in America). It is the one that especially among the people I know, who are into a sport, would choose. Football is probably my favorite sport as well.
I do find it unfortunate that baseball seems to be very underappreciated by a lot of people. I always find people taking more of an interest into basketball or football than in baseball. Throw me in the minority, because as far as an individual game played, I am much more into hockey and baseball than the other two.
What does make football special is that it is the sport you see the least as far as in-game action. Each game has a special meaning to it, and are very important when it comes to the season's standing, since only 16 games are played in comparison to 82 or 162. The interest level from the start of the four-month season until the end is more than you will see with fans of any other sport, because each game could literally make or break your team's whole season. That is why I do love watching football.
How would people feel about football if they played games all the time though? Is the action in a football game really that much more exciting than in the other sports? Comparing it to baseball, where they throw a pitch and it could be a strike, a ball, a foul ball, or the batter hits the ball which creates many different possibilities. Likewise, in football, the QB will snap the ball, and hand it off, or throw it, again setting up a variety of potential outcomes. There are only so many different things that will happen, but not knowing is what make any sport fun to watch.
As far as the in-game action, what is it that makes football more exciting than baseball? This is a question I like to ask those who consider baseball boring. Nothing in one sport really out-weighs another in excitement, or has more possibilities than another sport. Perhaps the contact in football is the exciting part? If so, why do a lot of those same people diss hockey?
Some anti-baseball fans argue that the game is boring, or the season is too long. However, a main point I like to make in favor of the game, is that baseball is the only game in which one single play can score multiple units of points.
In basketball, the standard scoring is two points. Of course you can get three, and rarely even four. But the base unit of points would be two. In football, you of course can get seven, and eight if converting a two-point attempt. In hockey, you are only able to get one point for a goal. In baseball? One swing of the bat can be worth four units of points.
Say a football team is up by 14 points and the trailing team has the ball with less than one minute to go. There is no way that team can tie or take the lead on that single possession. If a basketball team is down six points with ten seconds to go, there is no way for that team to tie or take the lead on that possession. If a hockey team is down two goals and time running out, there is no way that team ties or wins the game on a single shot. A number of different things have to occur for that team to not lose.
So what makes baseball any different? If a baseball team is down two runs, there are two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and nobody is on base, then the person at bat can't tie or win the game. Of course not. But what he can do, unlike any other sport where a team is down multiple scores and near the end, is the batter can extend the game. Even if he fails to hit a home run, he can still get on base, bringing another batter to the plate. At that point, you are talking literally one pitch away from the game being tied.
A great situation would be Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals were down by two runs and the batter had two strikes on him. Down to potentially the last pitch of the game, until a two-run triple tied the game and sent it into extra innings. Of course if you followed baseball, you know the end result of what could arguably be the greatest baseball game ever played. I will never forget the momentum swings in that game, and it was exhilarating, even though I wasn't necessarily a fan of either team. For the record, I was cheering for the Rangers. I felt they deserved it.
Something similar in a different sport would be the 2013 NBA Finals, also in a Game 6, when the Heat were down by five points with less than 30 seconds to play. They of course hit two clutch three pointers and sent it to overtime, where they won a thriller. As a Spurs fan, that one hurt, knowing Tim Duncan was a rebound, or one more made free throw, or even being in the game instead of on the bench in that final defensive possession of the 4th quarter. But that finish was still one of the most exciting things that can happen in the game of basketball.
Let's compare those two situations. In the baseball game, it took one swing when David Freese was down to his final strike. Suddenly, the game is tied when right on the same exact second, he could have swung and missed. The Rangers would have celebrated a World Series win with a 2-run victory. On the flip side, Freese could have launched the ball 10 feet farther and it would have been a homerun. The game would have been over and the Cardinals would have taken the win right on that same swing. It was the ultimate situation where winning the game, losing the game, or tying the game could have resulted from the one single pitch.
In the basketball game, so many different combinations of events had to happen for them to score the two big 3-pointers and tie the game. A change in possession had to happen. Of course LeBron James missed both of his first attempts and the Heat were able to rebound the ball both times and get the second chance. Also, it took a missed Spurs' free throw for Ray Allen's overtime-sender to even mean anything.
Josh Hamilton's 2-run blast in the top of the 10th didn't mean that the time was over and the Cardinals had no more chances, which would have been the case if Kawhi Leonard or Manu Ginobili could have made both of their free throws, instead of going 1-for-2. Only getting 2 of the potential 4 points kept the Heat in the game, but just one more free throw and there would have been no way the Heat could have tied the game. When Hamilton launched the 2-run homer to give his Rangers a two-run lead once again, Lance Berkman was still given the opportunity with two strike against him. He singled to center, driving in the game-tying run once again for St. Louis. Since there were two men on base, it was another situation where Berkman could have won, lost, or tied the game on that single pitch.
This is not to say baseball is better than any other sport. This is not to get you to make baseball your favorite sport. I don't even know if I would put baseball ahead of football or hockey on my own list. I love all the major sports in their own way, so it is hard to rank them for me. But baseball is far from boring. Only in baseball can you be down three scores and win the game on one single swing. Or you can lose the game. Or you can tie the game. That kind of variance is what makes a game exciting. Name another sport where all three possible outcomes of a finish in a game can be decided on one single play.
Your opinion of the game of baseball will most likely be the exact same if you read this article. That is fine. Don't change your stance on my accord. Just don't call baseball boring.