Today is Opening Day! Not only have I enjoyed playing for many years, but watching it played these days is a true joy. For me, Opening Day is a bit like Christmas or my birthday. Some people find baseball too slow. I find it near perfect. Among all the other sports out there, baseball is setting itself apart once again as America's sport. If in fact there is an NFL lock-out that extends into next season, I believe baseball will once again go on a run as America's most popular professional sport. In part, this is because other sports seem to have adopted baseball's old vices, while baseball has been in cartharsis for the last decade.
I understand that some will scoff at such a notion. Give me a couple of years on this one. Here are some of the reasons I like baseball above the others sports.
- History. It has a more robust sense of history than the other sports. No records are better known than baseball records. No athlete is so deeply embedded in the American consciousness than are Babe Ruth, etc. A big part of baseball's brand is nostalgia. These days, nostalgia is just what the doctor ordered. Seventh-inning stretch. Vin Scully. Keeping score. Spit. Brick-dust.
- Affordability. The cheap seats are cheaper. The expensive seats are less expensive. A family of four can reasonably go to a game and get home for well under $100.
- Family-Friendly. Not only is the cost more family friendly, the stands are generally more free of fights, scantily clad people, and lewd behavior. Not completely, but mostly. Baseball security is also the most quick to bounce drunks and lewd people.
- Intellectual. Baseball is a thinking man's game, and it's built on hand-eye coordination and science…in addition to athletic ability.
- Quiet, with periods of noise, action and rest. I could write some theological points on this :0) but i would be stretching it. There is something nice about being able to talk to hang out with someone while still enjoying the game.
So, today, let's enjoy a ball-game. I'll catch parts of Padres-Cards, and Dodgers-Giants. I'll put the Padres at around .500 this year. I'll take 82-80.
Here are my predictions for the playoffs:
National League: Phillies, Giants, Braves, Reds
American League: Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Rangers
NLCS: Phillies vs. Giants (Phillies)
ALCS: Red Sox vs. Yankees (Red Sox)
World Series champs: Boston Red Sox
I'd love to hear your predictions or baseball memories!
Happy Opening Day!