Baseball: still an American pastime?


Baseball season just began in case anyone did not notice. For some reason, professional baseball doesn’t do it for me, at least not until the playoffs in September or October. But why is America’s favorite pastime equivalent to an ant in your rearview mirror this time of year?

The strike in baseball in 1994 and caused many fans to dissolve their interest and move over to basketball and football. The National Basketball Association also underwent a strike in 1999 but recovered its fan base much quicker than the baseball strike. We already know baseball players make ridiculous amounts of money (a record 2.6 million average per player this year), but maybe the steak dinners they were provided with on their private jets weren’t cutting it for them. It is a rough life being a professional baseball player, let me tell you.

Maybe seeing a player’s muscles increase drastically in size in a three-year period does it for you. We now know that steroids are a big part of major league baseball, and it certainly does take a certain innocence away from the game. With Jose Canseco, one of the best home run hitters of all time, admitting to using illegal steroids and implicating other baseball greats, who knows who will follow? Steroids certainly have tarnished the entire league’s image in general and with players failing steroid screenings on an almost daily basis, it will continue to put doubts in the hearts of fans of home run hitters.

In baseball, each team is set on offense and defense and the games can go on for hours upon hours. In football and basketball, momentum can shift in a matter of seconds.

Honestly now, I would rather stare at paint dry or bird watch instead of watching one team score 34 runs against another team and an inning never end.

Storylines are always fun, though. The Red Sox comeback on the Yankees and eventual World Series victory was great, but that was the only story in baseball last year. Baseball lacks drawing power and rivalries other than the Red Sox and the Yankees. Basketball can promote the Pacers players brawling with the fans in Detroit or Reggie Miller’s last quest for a championship before his retirement at the end of this season. Football can promote Cowboys and Redskins or Terrell Owens’ hatred towards his former team.

Back in the early 20th century, kids growing up dreamed of playing professional baseball.

Children in today’s world dream of dunking the ball or being the star quarterback, not hitting the game winning home run. Baseball isn’t bred into today’s youth like it used to be.

American culture has changed, and sports such as basketball and football have taken over the hearts of American children.

So next time I choose to watch the Home Shopping Network instead of a Devil Rays and Cardinals game, I’ll try to muster up the energy to reach for the remote and turn on the game. For all of the baseball fans out there, as of today I would choose baseball over hockey. Wait, isn’t hockey on strike?