There is nothing quite like going to a baseball game. Perhaps in northern sections, a game in April or late September can get a bit chilly. But most of the time, the weather is nice, the atmosphere is electric and eclectic and there is no better experience in sports (in one man's humble opinion). This Fan isn't knocking football. Football can be thrilling to watch, but unless you are a Buccaneer fan or a fan of a team that has a dome, it can be downright cold in there. That's just one reason going to a baseball game is better than going to a football game. Here are ten more:
1. The Seventh Inning Stretch. The origins of this wonderful custom are veiled behind the mist of time. Some claim President Taft originated the custom. Others claim some Manhattan College friar was involved. But there is evidence of the custom dating as far back as 1869. It's a time to stretch your legs, get a beverage and sing with thousands of other people the grand old song of baseball. The Chicago Cubs have perfected this tradition and there is nothing like it in sports.
2. Keeping Score. You can keep score at a football game, but Oy! there are so many players to keep track of. There are substitutions on every play with players running on and off the field. Good luck keep track of that if you are an average fan. But keeping score at a baseball game is a tradition that is as leisurely and lovely as the game itself. Every kid should learn how to do it properly and the scorecard becomes a keepsake you can have for life recording a moment and time between you and your team. Hey, some of those scorecards become valuable and collectors may buy it off you for some nice change.
3. Vendors and the Food! Yes, the Fan knows you can get food and beverages at a football game. But have you ever tried to eat a warm hot dog when it's 25 degrees outside? It doesn't stay warm for long. And the Fan isn't sure about you, but drinking a frosty beverage is a lot more enjoyable in warm weather than it is in cold weather. And is Cracker Jacks a baseball or football tradition? Case closed. A lot of stadiums now have special food. It's an added benefit to some, but unnecessary to this writer. All you need is a hotdog and popcorn and maybe Cracker Jacks if you're not allergic to peanuts.
4. The Diamond. The baseball diamond is aesthetically beautiful a creation as there is in sports. Football gridirons can be nice. But they get torn up or frozen and it's shape is too symmetrical. It's just a long rectangle cut up into smaller rectangles. And the football dimensions are the same wherever you go. Each ballpark has different outfield dimension and only the infield is written in stone in the rule book. Plus, baseball stadiums get features that become part of the folklore. Pesky's Pole, the Green Monster, The Ivy. There is nothing like walking into a stadium in the middle of a concrete jungle and entering the field with the lights, the green, the diamond. Perfection.
5. Need to keep track of only 13 players at a time. And they are all spaced out to watch. They aren't all in a clump like in football. This is related to the scoring issue.
6. Timing. People complain about baseball being boring. For shame! There is more dead space in football than there is in baseball. You have halftime in football where nothing happens for 10 minutes. You have a touchdown, an extra point, a commercial, a kickoff and then another commercial. In baseball, there is a two minute break between each half inning. Other than that, the game is continuous.
7. Ahem. The scenery. Again, unless you are watching football in Arizona, Florida or Texas, baseball happens in warmer weather. That means people wear less clothes. That's good for both genders is it not?
8. No matter where you are sitting. the action stays the same distance away from you. In football, you could be sitting at the 20 yard line and the action could be in the red zone at the opposite end of the field. That's a bummer.
9. Foul balls. A foul ball at a baseball stadium always creates a buzz in the stands. If the ball comes anywhere near where you are sitting, everyone gets in a frenzy and it's exciting. And to actually catch one of those souvenirs, that's the ultimate in being a Fan. In football, if you are sitting behind the goal posts, you may get a stray football, but it isn't likely. If you are sitting at the fifty yard line, forget it.
10. There are no penalties. You just watched a great play in football. Wasn't that cool? Yeah, but it doesn't count because there is a yellow flag on the field. That's like giving a cookie to a kid and then taking it back. In baseball, if there is a great play, it always counts. There are no penalties in baseball.
Honorable mention: When the players fight, there are no helmets. Ball girls are pretty cool. Especially if they don't catch the ball very well. Baseball mascots are as a rule, better in baseball than in football. We'll give football the cheerleaders, when it's warm enough to enjoy them not all bundled up. Football never had a doubleheader. Organ music. The Fan loves baseball organ music. Many of the younger set probably scoff at that though.
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