While I agree with Matt that baseball has a richer history, better hall of fame, and announcers whose careers don't come to an end until they die. I can't help but notice that many of his points have nothing to do with the actual games and just the periphery aspects of baseball. Two of his points center on outfits. I'll go point by point with him then add some thoughts of my own. So be sure to read Matt's Article first.
- The 162 game schedule - You could have a close race at the end if you played a 5000 game season, what does that have to do with anything? When it boils right down to it attending sold out games is more fun than attending sparsely populated games. Football games sell out which creates a playoff type atmosphere every game with most everyone making as much noise as possible every time their defense takes the field. At a baseball game the crowd spends the game in their seats, applauding maybe 5 times an inning. Every wonder why football doesn't have a 3rd quarter stretch? Also football's shorter schedule lets you actually watch all of the games, living and dying with every high and low, following and getting to know your team more intimately. Even the a fairly avid baseball fan relies on box scores or game summaries after the fact as a means to keep track of their teams for a good portion of the season.
- Fan and Family Friendliness - As far as ticket prices to baseball or football games are concerned it's true that football tickets are usually harder to come by than baseball tickets, but since football makes it a rule that a portion of tickets have to be made available to opposing teams' fans quite often those tickets are returned and are offered at a discount. A few times last season Vikings ticket were available for 15 dollars. Yes baseball is more of a family atmosphere but when your kids are bored at the game they're going to notice all the snacks coming around even more so than usual. In the long run after you factor in the total cost of going to a game football games aren't that much more than baseball games since food and many other costs are the same. Your kids will get their homework done if they know they have a chance to go to a football game. For those worried about church most churches offer Saturday night or early Sunday services and besides I think that's really reaching as a reason one sport in more entertaining that another. Likewise with the tossing the balls into the crowd situation. For one football players DO often times hand the ball to a fan. Secondly again I think that pointing out that 4/20000 people go home with a free souvenir is reaching to compare the two games.
The Playing Of The Game - While it's not even true that there is only action in football every 40 seconds I'd still take a play every 40 seconds over a ball being hit into play maybe twice an inning. No sane person can argue that football has more down time than baseball, and I'll even include halftime in there. It may seem like football has a lot of downtime because it's so action packed that the networks actually have to stop the game to go to commercial. Where as in baseball television networks can pick any one of the many large expanses of dead time to go to one without anyone even knowing they're at commercial.
In football a winning offensive team running down the clock IS a strategy, and one that can backfire, like purposely loading the bases when you have runners at 2nd and 3rd. As for the taking a knee situation, worst case scenario it's the last 3 plays of the game. If your offense is lucky enough to get the ball back in a situation that it can kneel out the clock why wouldn't they? It would be like if in baseball the home team was winning but was still made to bat in the 9th inning, the game is done, 3 strikeouts who cares, a homerun who cares, maybe football should just stop kidding themselves and do like baseball, if there's little enough time for the offense to kneel out the ball then call the game, don't drag the offense back onto the field.
You want true "it's not over til it's over "-age. In football defense can score points, special teams can score points, you never know, anything can happen on the score board. In baseball you get the same out for robbing a grand slam as you do for a routine grounder in the infield.
Coaches call plays in football that have a bigger impact on the game than coaches calling plays in baseball. In football a play determines every step 11 guys are going to make. In baseball you can call things like hit and runs or sac flys but most of the time the runner doing the "run" half of the hit and run has to go back because regardless of the play called most of the time the batter is struggling to hit the ball, at all, anywhere.
The History -I know when I go to Vikings games I often ponder about all the history involved in football and how I could be enjoying the game more if only football had as long a history as baseball or the hall of fame was more elite. I guess you have time to think about those things while you watch the pitcher check 1st 27 times.
All sports records are virtually meaningless because sports have changed so much. Players are bigger faster stronger, equipment is better, and the talent is so concentrated now, drop Barry Bonds in the 30's or Randy Moss in the 70's and you would see some truly unobtainable records. Besides most records are obtained or eventually beaten by just hanging around. Emmitt Smith and Cal Ripken are perfect examples of that.
The Officiating -Yes, yes, we all love the official's outfits, a very important aspect of any game.
If you've never seen NFL coaches arguing with officials then you've never seen a football game. So yes, you do get that fun - in pretty much every sport for that matter.
I agree instant replay delays the game too much and I think they should stop patronizing us with the whole "the refs only have 1 ½ minutes to decide" thing, but I think it's a necessary thing to have to endure because I don't think the "human error" factor should be involved in any sport where it's possible to find out what actually happened, if an athlete was good enough to make something happen why should he not get credit just because some doddering official made a bad call. In baseball pitchers are getting too good, balls are coming in too fast and breaking too much to ask a human being to be able to sit back there and judge them, a strike should be called a strike and a ball a ball and that's that. Likewise a catch should be called a catch and a touchdown a touchdown, at least football is trying to do that by involving technology, even if it is 30 year old technology.
I for one enjoy watching the players celebrate, its part of the fun atmosphere. Baseball players are allowed to watch their homer sail over the wall and then trot around the bases, if a football player slows up and trots into the endzone that's your taunting penalty. Players getting excited gets the fans riled up, either cheering your celebrating player or booing the opposing teams celebrating player. Baseball seems so emotionless. I'm still waiting for the day LaTroy Hawkins shows any indication he's not a pitching machine wrapped in skin.
- Broadcasting Legends - Outside of Harry Caray I guarantee you more people know who John Madden is than any of those other guys. Besides there's something creepy about listening to a 95 year old call a sporting event. Football can rotate TV and radio personalities because it places the importance on the game that's going on, not doing it the same way it has always been done with the same announcer for an entire century.
- The New York Yankees - Baseball and the world are not better for having the Yankees. Dynasties are not a good thing for anyone than the percentage of fans rooting with that team. Dynasties get old. Who wants to see the same teams in the hunt every year? The one time out of a hundred that you topple Goliath isn't the same as knowing that in any given year you could be Goliath. Besides true hatred knows no winning percentage, Sarah will despise the Cowboys forever. My hatred of the Packers wouldn't subside one iota if they went on a third 30 year skid without a winning record.
On to my thoughts
- In baseball the differences in batting average between a star and an average player is roughly a hit a week. Playing 6 games a week that would be like in week 6 of the NFL declaring, all other things being equal, Daunte Culpepper a star because he has 60 completions but at the same time saying Brett Favre is having an average year because he has 59 completions.
- The NFL draft is a major event, ESPN already has articles up involving the 2004 NFL draft. People hold draft parties. The are endless debates and prognostications involving picks. There are very few people that know when the MLB draft is or how it works.
- I could watch NFL films all day.
- It struck me as interesting that a good portion of the points brought up as to why baseball was better than football contained some historical reason. Baseball is stuck in the past. America's Pastime is past its time and Football is its more entertaining more successful replacement as Americas favorite. We have too much of an attitude in this country that anything older must be better. For example, the misconception that the Beatles came first so clearly they must be more talented than any "new" band, the Beatles hit it big with songs involving 2 lines of lyrics and 3 chords, but since they did it first they are Gods. Your opinion on the Beatles is unimportant, if you think they are the greatest band ever than fine, but they aren't better by default just because they came first, and neither is baseball.