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How the World Cup Has Reinforced My Love for Baseball

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I have actually enjoyed watching the World Cup. The games can be very entertaining; some of the goals scored will stay in my memory forever. It's been great to root on my country, and to watch other nations root on theirs. The tension while watching the U.S. games with other fans was delicious.

Still, the World Cup gave excellent examples of three things I do not like about the sport, three things that have never, and never will, plague baseball:

  1. Flopping. Yes I know soccer lovers hate flopping, too, but then do something about it. People have been “hurting their kneecaps” a dozen times a game to slow down the pace since I started watching the World Cup in 1986. (See also, basketball and hockey.)
  2. Blindsiding. Really, all of the pushing and shoving and other contact, but especially the blindsiding. I’m all about saving people’s spines, leg ligaments and heads. The Costa Rican fellow that kneed Neymar in the back should have been arrested on the spot. I saw a Korean fellow get clobbered from behind with an elbow on a header the other day in super slo mo. It looked like a certain concussion to me, but he couldn't leave the game or his team would have been a man down. Head injuries, as we know, are forever. Or at least for a very long time. (See also, just about every contact sport.)
  3. Ties. After the U.S.-Portugal game, the camera panned to the players and into the stands: not a single person looked happy. I bet if they would have looked into each of the 25 million houses watching the game, they would have only seen blank stares, too. And winning in a penalty shoot out is barely less silly.

Now, if we can just get America behind the World Baseball Classic, my life would be complete. The U.S. manager would never have to say this country doesn't have a chance to win it all.
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  1. gil4's Avatar
    I have enjoyed most of the tournament, but the Argentina-Netherlands game was extremely boring. It's not just that it went to PKs at 0-0, but there were so few decent scoring chances. At halftime I said it was going to PKs.

    I'd like to see them change it to 10 players and allow more subs. If not that, then maybe just take one player off for each OT session and keep playing until someone scores. (Maybe cut that off at 7 per side.
  2. Thegrin's Avatar
    Flopping and Blindsiding are the Soccer equivalent to letting umpires call balls and strikes. Both trivialize the integrity of the game and the players.
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