If you're like most Americans, you probably follow a few main sports throughout the year: football, basketball, hockey, and baseball. While at most points the sports are overlapping and being played simultaneously, over the summer you fall to one: baseball. I'll be the first to admit that while watching baseball on TV is not always the most entertaining, you should realize that it is still an amazing sport.
The season usually begins somewhere between the end of March and the beginning of May and runs through the beginning of October, when someone wins the World Series.
So while you're other sports are in their off season, maybe it's time you give baseball a chance (if you already don't) and here's why.
There are 30 teams to choose from across the nation, more than likely, you're close enough to support one. Teams are split into two separate leagues, the National League and the American League. Most major cities have a team in the MLB making it easy for the fans to show loyalty.
No one will stop you from cheering for whatever team you want, but having a support system within your own town is fun. Being able to go out and watch a game, either at the ballpark, a bar, or at someone's house, allows you to bond with people over something you might not have realized you have in common.
Each team plays 162 games every season. That's right, every team will end up playing 162 games, giving you more than enough opportunity to make plans to catch a game. To break it down, teams will play 76 games against division rivals, 66 against non-division teams, and 20 inter-league games. This variety allows fans to watch games from teams they may not have been given a chance to see in the past. It also gives fans that have moved away from home a possible chance to see the team they support in the location they have moved to.
So many games are played today because of how large the league has grown. As teams continued to be added and the league kept expanding, it was necessary to add more games to the schedule. On any given day, you can turn on your TV and more than likely see your team playing. This is great for people who are busy and only get certain days off. Chances are, every fan will be able to catch a few games every season.
Crazy things can happen at any given moment in a baseball game. A team could be downruns and come out of an inning winning by 10 runs. Baseball is more unpredictable than other sports. Generally, you wouldn't see a football team score six consistent touchdowns to run away with the game, but in baseball wild things like this can happen.
Another reason to watch baseball games this summer is because in basically every season, some sort of history is made. Whether it's an individual reaching a personal milestone or a team winning the World Series for the first time in 50 years, something is bound to happen. This doesn't happen very often in other sports, whereas the players usually plateau and have consistent seasons year after year.
Different teams are making the playoffs every year. For some sports, you see the same teams competing for the title every year. The same team might be winning every year and honestly, that's just boring. (Looking at you NBA). Baseball gives a good variety of teams in the playoffs, and it's exciting to watch.
Actually going to the games can be an absolute blast, too. If you're lucky enough to live within driving distance to a stadium, take the opportunity and get to a game. Gather a group of friends, avid baseball lovers or not, and make the trip!
Baseball is stimulating to the senses. Walking into a ballpark can trigger you in so many good ways. The smells are probably the first thing to hit you. Imagine, the foot long hotdogs being cooked to perfection, freshly cut grass from the field, the smokey aroma of BBQ pits happening around the park, and for the adults, the wonderful smell of beer, any and all types.
Once you've found your seats and stocked up on beer and food, the next thing you'll probably notice is the gentle murmur falling over the crowd surrounding you. Everyone is engulfed in conversation with their groups all while taking in the game. It's a peaceful sound until something crazy happens in the game.
The cracking of the ball meeting the bat can be heard from any seat in the stadium — it's an oddly satisfying sound; and if you're team is at bat — a really satisfying sound. When a great play happens, the excitement throughout the park explodes making everyone feel like one for a short moment. It's something special watching thousands of fans stand up and cheer in harmony.
It's fun to watch other fans get so involved in the game. You never know if a fan will make an amazing catch off a foul ball or homerun. You see videos of regular people making amazing catches, but how cool would it be to actually witness that happen or be the one to make the amazing catch? You'll never have the opportunity if you don't go.
In addition to fans making crazy catches, there's also the chance you'll see incredible plays from the players themselves. From crazy double plays, a triple play if you're lucky, to games turning into dinger derby's, there is always something wild that is bound to happen. Sure, every game isn't action packed start to finish, but chances are you're going to see something cool happen.
On top of being there to play, teams go out of their way to make fans feel appreciated and welcomed. Many teams will play catch with kids in the stands. If you have children, a good place for this to happen is sitting above or around the dugout. Players will come out to warm up and sometimes even toss a few back and forth with kids watching.
Not only will some play catch, they also let some fans take a baseball home as a souvenir. If your luck is unreal, you might even get a signed baseball to take with you after the game is over. Talk about worth it.
Most fields also provide unbelievable views of the city you're in. Most stadiums are built right into the city, therefore, giving you a view to die for. You get to watch the game with an incredible backdrop, something you don't get with most other sports.
If you find silly things more entertaining, maybe watch for the mascots. Most teams have mascots that put on ridiculous performances throughout the game. For example, the Pittsburgh Pirates have their pierogi mascots race around the warning track, the Washington Nationals do the same with their President mascots, and the Milwaukee Brewers with their sausage races. It's entertaining and reminds you that this is all just for fun!
On top of all this, baseball games are a great place for dates. It is a low-key environment which is very public. This gives the feel of less pressure, and you might be able to relax a bit more in this type of setting. It's not a fussy, fancy restaurant, or a dark, loud crowded bar. It gives you the chance to actually hear what your date has to say and allows you opportunity to sit a little closer, you know, just because the seats are made that way. (Bonus: you get to see if your date is into the same things you are… like baseball!!!)
Baseball is a game that's for any person of any age. It's a welcoming sport and allows everyone the opportunity to feel included. Whether you like to watch the games on TV in the comfort of your own home or go down to the ballpark to take it in with friends and a beer, it's definitely worth watching.
Baseball players may not seem like the slickest athletes, but they certainly put on a show for the fans as often as possible. With nearly impossible catches, to grand slams, to even no hitters, baseball is more entertaining than you think. If you aren't already a fan, give it a shot this summer. Games are being played nearly every day by any given team.
This is a great family sport, as well as something to tailgate with your friends. Baseball is the ultimate team sport and something we should all enjoy for what it's worth. After all, it is America's Game.