Baseball is, without question, better…or not…than football (soccer).

This issue bothers me, because I’m English and football is the sport, particularly once I realised that having a serious relationship with a girl and playing or watching cricket for a day at a time didn’t fit. A decision must surely be made as to which is superior…

Baseball is better than football because:

1.)   The atmosphere at the grounds

Take your family, hang out, relax, soak it all in cry with sadness when the game is over.

2.)   The regard for tradition and history

Baseball celebrates and venerates those who have gone before, and the game can be traced into epochs the dead-ball era, the live ball era, the wild card era

3.)   No sponsors on the shirts

Shirt sponsorship “hit” the top division of English football in the early 1980’s, and sponsors logos are now far bigger than those of the team. It’s nothing short of an abomination.

4.)   No play-acting to get an unfair advantage

ImageIf it’s not killing football it’s coming mighty close: a game that thrived on its physicality is being ripped apart from the inside out by myriad players claiming the merest touch from an opponent is a scything blow. It’s become normal for players to claim they are “entitled” to deliberately fall over and claim a free kick/penalty when they feel any contact.

5.)   Nuance

It was once said that the quality of writing about a sport is inversely proportional to the size of the ball involved. Excluding golf, which is not in fact a sport but glorified tiddlywinks, it makes baseball one of the best sports and football one of the worst. There are just so many more things going on in a game of baseball than football, so many more plotlines, so many more set-piece, mano-a-mano confrontations.

6.)   Player loyalty

Major leaguers have usually been at the same club for upwards of 6 years before they have a chance to switch clubs. Footballers stay at one club just long enough – sometimes a matter of months – before their agents are pressuring the club to let them move on to a bigger and more lucrative places. It’s ruining the lower levels of the game and making footballers look like rank mercenaries with whom its impossible to emotionally invest.

And yet football is better than baseball because:

1.)   The atmosphere at the grounds

A packed football stadium can be a visceral place, and not just at the climax of a season but on any given week. Being part of a tribal atmosphere and leaving a game so hoarse Imageyou can hardly speak…priceless.

2.)   It’s a more pure sport

You don’t need any money, or any equipment to play football. Anything not so heavy it’ll break your foot can be a football – no matter the size . Baseball can get close to that…but no cigar. And as soon as it gets organized, the techniques and mechanics of it get so complicated you need extensive coaching just to function at the sport.

3.)   You have to be incredibly fit to play it well

I’ve defended the athleticism of baseball players, but it’s hard to make a compelling case that baseball is a bastion of athletic prowess when there are so many fat players who make it to the majors. And it doesn’t exactly help that the fattest player I’ve ever seen – Prince Fielder – is also one of the best. Not so football.

4.)   The whole world plays it

See point 2. See also hundreds of years of British imperialism. Baseball’s World Series (originally, “World’s Series” is a mis-named arrogance open to 29 clubs from the US and one from Canada). Football’s World Cup is the heart’s desire of billions of players and fans from well over 100 countries.

5.)   Relegation and promotion

Not winning the World Series is the fate of 29 of 30 major league teams every year. Two-thirds of them know, before the season’s even begun, that they won’t win, but they’ll still exist in more or less the same form next season as this. In football, lesser clubs in the Premier League have a chance of winning a knock-out tournament, and yet if they do a Pittsburgh Pirates impression and lose for fun, far from getting even more money handed to them on a plate (a la baseball’s revenue-sharing), they’ll disappear into the impecunious bowels of a lower division.

So there you have it. This all goes to prove that football is demonstrably better…or possibly worse…than baseball. 


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Timothy F Reynolds says:

    Yes, well I think you’re right, definitely – or perhaps not.


  2. Timothy F Reynolds says:

    Another reason that football is better (or might be worse) than baseball is that you only play each other team twice in a season (unless your Scottish), once at home and once away (and there are only 40 or so matches in a league season – plus various cup/knock-out matches). This makes each meeting much more crucial and tense.


  3. Marjolein M Reynolds says:

    Very,very good. All true points. Having been brought up with football, though not being devoted to it, I can listen to reports of it all day. It is wonderful on radio. Everyone can know most of the rules and watch it knowledgeably. Recently been to a game and loved it. Baseball is family fun though, a real outing. Listening to people talking about the rules, I know, I will never go there. Ever. But even thinking about going to see the Cubs some day, or the Phillies, it makes me smile, I would love it, it would be an excellent outing/experience.


  4. Marjolein M Reynolds says:

    Oldham v Liverpool 4th round of the FA cup. Score line 3 – 1.
    Oldham fans full throated support for twice 45 mins. The ENTIRE ground fully engaged in the match, the whole match, it is fantastic, marvellous. Baseball cannot compete with that, simply too many stoppages.


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