At the risk of being cornered in the frozen food aisle and clubbed with frosty jalepeno poppers, I’m just going to say it…baseball is not a sport.
Saying this during the World Series with the home team in the game is ill-advised, and some might say provocative, but I have thought this through and constructed a completely logical argument.
In fact, this is the sustaining discussion of my marriage. Eric and I have had this on-going philosophical debate for over 15 years. I really think it is the glue that keeps us together. Eat that, Hallmark.
So over the years, we have devised an elaborate rubric about what is and is not a sport. Eric’s rules are somewhat draconian, but form the basis of our evaluation system.
Eric postulates that a sport has to have 2 opposing teams or individuals, struggling against each other for counter purposes, which have to be scored objectively. So, that rules out any individual activity where there is judging, such as gymnastics or diving. Those are exhibitions. It rules out anything where you don’t have an opponent other than yourself, like golf. That is a pastime. And anything where you are racing against a clock trying to better your own time, like downhill skiing, is a competition. Why? Because you can do better than everyone else that day and still suck in general. Basically, his rule includes soccer, which I agree, is the holy of holies.
It’s a pretty good rule, but it still leaves room for things I think are stupid, and that cannot stand. So, I have amended the rule to include a physical requirement for a sport. You have to be acting under your own power. Nascar is out. Firstly because it’s stupid and secondly because the car does all the work. Now I know some will say that Nascar takes amazing strength and agility. Maybe, but if simply resisting G forces is the basis for sporting, then my last bout with the stomach flu qualifies me as some mega athlete. So, Nascar is out.
Secondly, some physical exertion is required. This is where baseball falls down. You cannot be an elite athlete at the top of your game and be tubby with a face full of chaw. Sorry, but baseball is a pastime and a boring one at that. If there were a lions chasing the runners and a pit of hot coals under the pitcher, I would be willing to reconsider. But as such, baseball is hereby denied sport status.
Lastly, there is a clause around being generally annoying. This clause doesn’t render an activity completely sport-less but it does demote some to sub-sport status. Can’t stand the squeak of basketball shoes on the courts, but I also can’t deny those people are athletes, even though most of their ability comes from a genetic accident of freakish height. And any American football teams wearing silly throw-back outfits is temporarily suspended from sport hood.
So with that settled, Go RANGERS (and I do mean the Scottish Premier League Soccer Team).
As the co-author of a book about baseball, I am required to take umbrage at your designation that baseball is not a sport. However, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t smile along with your logic. For another view of baseball-as-sport, I suggest you listen to George Carlin describe the difference between the national pastime and football.
I’m so excited someone took umbrage! I just hope he returns it soon.
I’m with you on NASCAR. As talk-show host Jim Rome used to say, “Turning left is not a sport.”
Love it. Especially not in a circle. But, I have turned left in South America and taken my life into my hands doing so.