April has arrived, which means spring is officially upon us. That time of the year when the weather gets warmer, flowers bloom, young love springs eternal, and douchebags start to post Facebook status' about their struggles with seasonal allergies. Most importantly it's that special time when baseball, America's official pastime returns to our lives. Now of course in recent years many people (myself included) have questioned whether baseball is still worthy of this lofty title. After all, football is easily the most popular sport in America, with the NFL being the league that garners the big-time TV ratings and rakes in the highest profits each year. Basketball is the sport with the most recognizable superstar athlete in the country in Lebron James. Even Nascar has surpassed baseball in popularity due to its enormous fanbase of poor and stupid rednecks who think Obama's totally gay. Despite all this, I still think baseball deserves its due, and should always be given equal if not equal standing in the discussion of professional sports in the US of A. Especially now as we face the very real possibility of life without the NFL (reason: one group of rich assholes can't agree with another group of rich assholes over who should have more hundred dollar bills to wipe their asses with). As the NFL lockout drags on, I think it's time that America once again attempt to embrace its once undisputed national pastime. I give you now, my top reasons baseball is totally fucking Rad.
1. Take me out to the ballgame
It is easier to attend a baseball game than it is to attend any other pro sporting event. First of all, baseball is easily the cheapest ticket in professional sports. Look we're going through a recession, people are fucking poor, and we all know that no matter what sporting event we attend, we'll be forced to purchase overpriced $8-$10 pints of beer. We know we're gonna have to pay out the ass for parking at the stadium unless we want to take the subway 12 stops to get there. So the actual ticket better be cheap as shit, to soften the blow of all the other coin we're spending to check out this game. Baseball tickets can be acquired for as little as $5 a pop, and decent seats can be acquired for no more than $25. This is totally a bargain compared to all the other major professional sports. This is of course due to the fact that the baseball regular season is far longer than that of the NFL, NHL, and NBA (Nascar seems to never fucking end so we'll overlook that one), and they play everyday. Which brings us to baseball's other perk. You can chooose to attend a game whenever it's convenient for you, anytime during the week. You don't have to pick one of only eight sundays. You don't have to choose a random weeknight to stay out late in the city. There are both day and night games, on weekdays and weekends, exh day for six consecutive months. Depending on what best fits your personal schedule, you can always find a way to attend a couple baseball games a year.
2. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack
Out of all the professional sports in this country, baseball is by far the one that is most enhanced by the live viewing experience. No other sports's stadium atmosphere can compete with the overall Rad appeal of attending an MLB game at the ballpark. There is just something about walking into a baseball game that is just an overload of America all over your ass. (BTW baseball...only sport played on our nation's birthday). First of all, most baseball stadiums are outdoor venues and the sport is played during the spring/summer/early fall. You're not packed in some stuffy indoor arena, or some open air stadium in frigid temperatures with rain or snow pouring down upon you. The aforementioned fresh air is filled of course with the smell of Rad ballpark food. Every baseball stadium has a full menu of awesome eats, that are meant to represent the unique artery clogging cuisine your team's home region has to offer. Hot dogs in NY, Bratwursts in Chicago, BBQ in Texas etc. Along with circus style snack food like cotton candy, peanuts, popcorn, and cracker jack. Oh and btw you get to see fireworks before, after, and during the game while hearing three different national "anthems" sung by a firefighter. Rad.
As for the actual game atmosphere baseball finds a perfect balance in accomodating both the psychotic sports fan, and the casual observer. No matter what you're in the mood for as a fan, baseball can fit your needs. If you want to sit in the family section with your kids, enjoying a casual day at the ballpark of keeping score, munching on snacks, and politely cheering when the home team scores, that's cool. If you want to hang with your date in the quiet section, explaining the nuances of the game, and chill on a couple beers and and share a plate of nachos..also kosher. If you want to go to the game with your bros, sneak a pint of whiskey stuffed down your pants into the game, get blackout wasted and yell profanities..well there's a section for you too. Baseball is the best sport for Rad heckling, because it's the only sport where the action is quiet enough (and close enough) for the players on the field to hear your clever taunts. So once you find that designated area of the stadium in the outfield, free of families and cute couples, and loaded with other assholes like yourself, it's open season on the visiting squad. Feel free to let your voice be heard loud and clear as you tell the opposing centerfielder that his wife is a dirty skank, and that he takes it in the butt from the team's shortstop.
3. It's the official sport of Average Joes and Rad Dudes
A friend of mine often says about baseball, "It must be fun watching a sport where you don't really have to be an athlete to play the game." Actually this is one of the factors that makes baseball so appealing to your average American sports fanatic. Have you seen Lebron James play recently? The guy is like a mack truck with track speed and the ability to jump over cars. At the age of 8 that guy had already surpasssed my athletic prime. Looked at Terrell Owens lately? I think T.O. runs five miles and bench presses a car 50 times before I wake up on most Saturdays. Think your average American sports fan, after working 8 hours at his blue collar job, having a couple of beers with his buddies at the watering hole, and sitting down in front of the tube with his three slices of leftover Dominos can relate to these guys? Hell no. The only professional sport where Joe McShay the construction worker can see anything resembling his mirror image out on the playing field is baseball.
Baseball is the official sport of Average Joes and Rad dudes. Ever wonder why EVERY kid played little league baseball? Even the most hopeless child with no physical talent to speak of can find a place on a little league squad. Oh you're fat? We'll put you at first base, just lean and stick your glove out once an inning. Oh you're unccordinated? Well we'll just put you in right field where you'll never have to catch a pop fly or throw the ball home. Every kid has the ability to play SOME position in little league baseball. In pro baseball, even though there are obviously freak athletes out there in the majors, there is still room for the Average Joe. The greatest basebll player ever, guy by the name of Babe Ruth, drank heavily, smoked cigars, and was built like a blimp. Have you taken a glance at CC Sabathia and Prince Fielder recently? They would fit right in demolishing plates of ribs and farting up a storm at the dinner table from "The Nutty Professor."
Even baseball players who aren't blatantly obese are at least Rad looking dudes you know would hang with you at the local pool hall. I mean the 93' Phillies squad that actually went to the World Series? Lenny Dykstra, Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, John fucking Kruck?? Whole lineup of rad dudes that looked like Dalton's henchmen from "Road House." Randy Johnson looks like the world's tallest spokesman for Copenhagen tobacco, and he's one of the greatest pitchers ever. Hell arguably the best modern pitcher Tim Lincecum, once starred in "Dazed and Confused," and his closer Brian Wilson looks like some sort of rad psycho lumberjack. Anyways, like I said there are obviously sick athletes and pretty boys in baseball as well, but more than any other sport the Rad dudes and Fatty All-American Joes can look at the screen and see a couple guys they could relate to and have a beer with.
4. You have to be A FAN
Baseball is by far the oldest major American sport, and in order to really appreciate the game you have to be aware of its history. You have to understand that nobody in a family of Chicago Cubs fans will ever witness a World Series title, and why Steve Bartman should remain in the witness protection program for the rest of his life because of it. You have to know about Bucky fucking Dent, Aaron fucking Boone, and the 3-0 ALCS collapse to understand why the Yankees and Red Sox hate each other. You have to understand how Jackie Robinson changed the face of the American athlete forever. You gotta understand why Roberto Clemente is responsibile for all the Rad immigrant ballplayers we see today who grew to love our national game in other countries, and came here to pursue the American dream. You have to see the records "61 home runs," "56 straight games," and ".400" and know that you may only get ONE chance in your lifetime to see them matched. (yeah I threw in 61* at the..official..HR record pre-Roidsville USA). You have to hold some opinion of Pete Rose's chances of ever getting into the hall of fame.
More than any other sport, you also have to really understand the little nuances to appreciate baseball. You gotta understand why batters get walked to create force outs at second. You have to get why a sacrifice fly is sometimes just as good as a base hit. You have to know your ace pitcher hitting the 100 pitch count in the 7th inning of a deciding playoff game means it's time for a change if your manager isn't named Grady Little. Without getting too longwinded with the baseball references the average person might not get...if you're gonna be a baseball fan..you have to actually be A FAN. You have to understand the history and tradition of America's pastime and really appreciate the game. That's what makes baseball great. It's not just an event. People don't go to baseball games just to look for celebs in the crowd, or just for the parking lot tailgate experience, or solely to get blackout wasted with their white trash bros. People go to baseball games because they love baseball, or at least appreciate how much it means to American society. That's why in a nutshell, I feel that whether or not you like another sport far better, you should try giving the old ballgame another shot. It's your duty as an American. When the day arrives where people no longer appreciate an afternoon at the ballpark of hot dogs, beer, fireworks, national anthems, questioning the opposing shortstop's sexuality and general Radness, the terrorists will have won.