As I sit down to write this, the Baltimore Orioles just got through battling back to tie their game against the Diamondbacks in the ninth, only for Adam Eaton to hit the first pitch of the bottom half of the inning over the fence and into a pool. Yes, that would be the literal pool at Chase Field.
The 7-6 walk off win sent the Diamondbacks pouring from the dugout, and the Orioles headed to the showers. A claw-it-out top of the ninth erased on one pitch in the next frame. In another sport that might mean weeks, months, or even years for the chance to get even, but this is baseball, and these two teams will be dueling it out in less than 24 hours.
Baseball is long. There are complaints of games stretching out to the point that people lose interest. The season lasts from April into the first days of November some years. That doesn’t even count spring training. The history of the game is longer still. Baseball isn’t going to hold everyone’s attention and that’s fine. For the baseball lifers, however, it’s as much about the rich mystique of bygone days as it is about the wins and losses of the current season. It’s as much about the meticulous analysis and fluidity of advanced statistics as it is about the more cosmetic home runs and stolen bases. It’s as much about hot dogs and hats as it is about bats and balls. The great thing is, each of those little footnotes makes up a new chapter everyday. There is a sense of intense pride in keeping up with all that, certainly not a feeling of boredom.
Football is king in this country. There is no disputing that. I enjoy football as much as the next guy, but whenever I hear people complaining about how boring baseball is in comparison, I have a hard time understanding. When you take into account the fact that football is played once a week, features by some estimates less than eleven minutes of actual action, and that each telecast is about one third commercials, it becomes a lot less exciting. Football lacks rhythm and pacing. Sure once the play starts it has the chance to be exciting, but waiting six days, hearing the same stories rehashed all week, and then seeing your team have about five minutes of offense a game doesn’t exactly scream balls to the wall excitement.
Baseball at the very least gives new material every day. Miguel Cabrera chips in with a nightly highlight, and Chris Davis answers with a home run. Keep watching and Yasiel Puig and Mike Trout continue the fire power out west. Whether it is the ongoing re-surgence of the Buckos, or the nosedive of the Yanks and Nats, baseball gives you more and more data everyday. Even the historically bad Astros are a fun, morbid follow these days.
Baseball isn’t more boring, it just requires more effort. It’s easy to be a football fan. The games are conveniently bunched on the average person’s off day. If you miss a game, the major stories will be talked about all week. If you need to stuff your face with chips, or go to the bathroom to do the opposite, you have ample time to do so. Baseball, on the other hand, is a daily regiment. You miss a game and it snowballs. The news cycle changes. Baseball doesn’t hold your hand and slow down for you to keep up, it just keeps on chugging, not fast, but steady. It’s easy to miss things if you aren’t tenacious and that makes it a frustrating follow at times. But like anything else, the time put into baseball is rewarding. You get out what you put in.
So the next time you hear someone say baseball is boring (heaven forbid that person be you), remember that baseball gives you a lot more highlights, playing time, statistics, and overpriced beer, hotdogs, and ice cream to be bored about.