What are some of the best summer pastimes? Barbecues, going to the pool on a hot summer day, camp, vacation. I think I missed something though. Something that has been around since before your father’s father. Something that lives on in the childhood memories for the rest of their lives.
Going to a baseball game on a nice summer afternoon or evening.
Baseball is one of those games where you either love it or you just don’t care. However I would expect that most people that live in the U.S. have been to at least one baseball game in their lives. I mean it is our nations pastime and the pastime of several other nations around the world. I am one of those people that absolutely loves baseball. Its my favorite sport and I enjoy the hell out of the game. Though what is the best element of a game with so much history and passion.
Well its the experience of actually going to see the game live. In fact, I would say that its the best sport to go see live.
I’m sure that I am a minority on this, but hear me out.
I know that basketball and football are much more exciting sports than baseball. Basketball is a high octane sport that demands the full attention of its viewing audience at the arena. The excitement of seeing a posterizing dunk, a three pointer, or a game winning bucket is electrifying. Football is one of those sports where ever game matters. With such a limited number of games in a season, if a team wants a chance to win a championship they have to perform at the maximum level every week. Its another sport where the game has incredible times where the joy for the game becomes transcendent. These sports are great to watch live, but there are issues that don’t make it a perfect experience.
Basketball never gives a chance for the fan to take a second and breath. Most games are close till the very end, so the anxiety of watching can get to a point where its not enjoyable. Some people like the anxiety and others don’t. I like the anxiety but it can get to a point where its too much. When watching live your always standing up and screaming, which couples with the anxiety to create one of the biggest pains after the game. I love basketball and the NBA but those games are only really worth going to during the playoffs and championship series. The regular season is just a stop gap until the real basketball begins.
Football is a sport that has too many breaks in between each exciting play. The game is mostly a slow march to score a few points. In recent years most teams have employed a high octane passing offense which has brought on more excitement but all the timeouts and penalties slow the game down. However just because it gets slow it doesn’t mean its bad or unwatchable. When going to watch live its fun but football is one of those sports that its better to watch on a big screen TV on a nice comfortable couch. When watching live, the fan is far away from the field and can’t see it as well as they can on TV. College Football does have the advantage that since its college there is more passion and rivalry for a respective team than in the NFL. Sure teams are rivals and fans will certainly take that rivalry up with other fans, but the teams in college make sure they try to beat every rival they encounter. If I want to go a football game then I would go to a college game, but honestly I’d prefer just to watch the games at home.
That leaves baseball.
Sure the game is called boring, slow, and generally uninteresting but its an experience every time you go down to the ballpark and watch the game. Its not just nostalgia either, its an actual experience that includes more than just watching a team play. Lets take for example the recently built Marlins Park. You enter the park and first off you realize that its a beautifully built park. One thing about certain NFL stadiums and NBA arenas is that they are not exactly the most beautiful pieces of architecture. Baseball parks have so many unique design choices that make it them interesting. AT&T has Mccovey cove, Fenway has the green monster, Wrigley has the ivy, and Angel Stadium has a stream in center field. There so cool to look that it enhances the experience of watching the game. Sure there are some stupid ones like the home-run sculpture in Marlins Park but overall baseball parks have a nicer design than other kind sports venues.
So going back to Marlins Park, you enter and see how nice it looks. You get to the park early and you can go see batting practice. Get a nice preview of what may come in the game. Go and get some peanuts, maybe a hot dog and of course a good drink. Lets decide to walk around the park and look at the things that you can do. You can see all the memorabilia, the history of the team, play some video games, and just get engrossed in the atmosphere of the game. Its an atmosphere that invites the fan to kick back and enjoy. Not to worry too much and just live in the moment.
The game starts and you know something good is gonna happen. Because the game can be slow when amazing moments happen the excitement can reach unbelievable highs. Its similar to soccer where not a lot of goals are scored but when they are you better believe that you’ll be jumping up and down with joy. You can watch an amazing pitching performance, a scoring shootout, a blowout, or a game winning hit. Its that kind of perturbation that is earned with baseball.
The best thing though about baseball is how relaxing and truly fun it could be. Its one of those games where you go with a group of people you enjoy hanging out with and you just live in the moment. You go with a parent and relive the past with reveling in the present. You go with your loved one and enjoy the connection of liking the same thing. You go with your friends and enjoy the screwing around and having fun with people you care about. Sure you could do this at a football game but you can enjoy the excitement of the game better at home. You could do this at a basketball game but your not interacting with the people you go with because your to heavily invested in the game.
Baseball is the kind of balance you want at a sporting venue. A beautiful setting, with exciting moments, and an actual experience you can have with the people you go with it. Going to watch baseball live allows you to enjoy the moment of watching a game. Going to watch baseball is for the memories it gives you. And thats why its a pastime. Thats why I love so much. Because it allows me to enjoy life.
Its a game for everyone, with everyone.