This may seem crazy on a day like today (When we awakened this morning, it was -15 F in Hudsonville, MI!), but MLB (Major League Baseball) catchers and pitchers are reporting for Spring training this week and next.
And because I get excited all over again thinking about a new baseball season; and because one of my grandsons and I rummaged through some old baseball cards over the Christmas holiday – he picking out the Tiger players (Detroit) and I the Cubs players (Chicago); and because I picked up a “new” baseball book for my reading this season, my late “Friday Fun” post today is about baseball.
Because I just had to pick up my “new” baseball book and start reading in it. And one of the early chapters that caught my eye and enticed me to read it had the above title: “99 Reasons Why Baseball Is Better Than Football.” The book is a collection of articles noted sportswriter Thomas Boswell has written for the Washington Post. The title of the book? The Heart of the Order, published by Doubleday in 1989.
If you are not familiar with Mr.Boswell, you are about to become acquainted with him. He has been called “an astute observer of the human condition disguised as a first-rate sportswriter.” The little I have read of his material to this point shows this to be true. He is a student of the game, and a student of its participants. And I like what I read so far.
But now, let’s get on to a few of the reasons he gives for baseball being better than football. If you are a true baseball fan, you will “get it.” I select some of his choicer reasons:
5. [In contrast to all the halftime band shows at football games] Baseball has fans in Wrigley Field singing, ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ at the seventh-inning stretch [Can you believe I start with a Cubs connection?!].
9. Baseball has a bullpen coach blowing bubble gum with his cap turned around backward while leaning on a fungo bat; football has a defensive coordinator in a satin jacket with a headset and a clipboard.
13. Football coaches talk about character, gut checks, intensity and reckless abandon. Tommy Lasorda [longtime manager of the LA Dodgers] said, ‘Managing is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it; not hard enough and it flies away.’
25. More good baseball books appear in a single year than have ever been written about football in the past fifty years….
35. Football has Tank and Mean Joe. Baseball has the Human Rain Delay and Charlie Hustle.
42. Football gave us the Hammer. Baseball gave us the Fudge Hammer.
51. Football has Hacksaw. Baseball has Steady Eddie and the Candy Man.
53. Football fans tailgate before the big game. No baseball fan would have a picnic in a parking lot.
59. Football has the Refrigerator. Baseball has Puff the Magic Dragon, the Wizard of Oz, Tom Terrific, Doggie, Kitty Kat and Oil Can.
64. Baseball means Spring’s Here. Football means Winter’s Coming.
65. Best book for a lifetime on a desert island: The Baseball Encyclopedia.
72. Baseball has no clock. Yes, you were waiting for that. The comeback, from three or more scores behind, is far more common in baseball than football.
86. Baseball measures a gift for dailiness.
96. A six-month pennant race. Football has nothing like it.
99. Most of all, baseball is better than football because spring training is less than a month away (29-37).
To which I add, “Play ball!”