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Why do we watch baseball?

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#1 Anorthagen

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:17 AM

I recently have been asked why do i watch baseball. Why do I find it enjoyable, While others say it is too boring to watch. But when I attempted to answer I couldn't come up with a legitimete answer. So I was hoping anyone could help me with this. Any way the question is why do you watch baseball.

#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:19 AM

Because it's a game of nuance. It's a game based on offensive failure far more often than success. More than any other game, it truly is a "game of inches". It's a game that is not won through momentary heroics, but instead by showing up to play six days a week for six months of the year.

The more you learn about baseball, the more you realize you don't know jack about baseball.

That's why I watch it.

#3 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:40 AM

This was the theme of a blog entry I wrote last fall.Why I love baseball (more than the other sports) - Blogs - Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum

#4 Badsmerf

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:48 AM

Baseball is won pitch by pitch. You can dissect each pitch into the whole scheme of the game. Its a balance between playing for today and playing for tomorrow because of the length of the season and playoff teams are separated by 1 win most years. With as many games that are played we are also able to watch players grow or deteriorate. Its a game of grace and grit. Some games are more exciting than others, but there is always something to watch for and appreciate. I enjoy watching a hitter lay off a nasty 1-2 slider in the dirt more than watching a 3 yard run off tackle in football. The mental part of baseball is so significant it can take players over for good or bad. You think Punto would be in this league if he didn't Battle His Tail Off every moment he was in a game? You could argue it is like Hockey and Socccer (with much more scoring and action IMO) in that it isn't just about runs on the scoreboard.
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#5 James

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:59 AM

Because it is the best game that has ever been invented.
You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.

#6 ThePuck

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:59 AM

oops, double post...see below

#7 ThePuck

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:00 AM

Baseball is a game of strategy...a thinking man's game. It's also a game of precision. Overall, it's a very calming game...for the most part.

#8 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:13 AM

Because it is the best game that has ever been invented.

It was so well designed, that 90 feet between the bases was perfect 100 years ago, and still perfect today. A ground ball in the hole at short was a close play then, it's a close play now. Football players outgrow the game every generation, forcing rule changes and strategy changes. Basketball is nothing like it was even 25 years ago. Baseball was, and is, perfect.

#9 drbob524

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:45 AM

Among everything else that makes baseball the greatest is this: there is no clock to run out. a team can be down 9-0 with two outs in the ninth and the pitcher can't take a knee or hold the ball. He HAS to give the other team a chance. as Yogi said, It ain't over til its over.

#10 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:48 AM

For the babes.

#11 jimbo92107

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:57 AM

I like watching baseball because, when played well, it's fun to see how a team like the Minnesota Twins can beat a team of bigger, stronger, more physically gifted superstars like the New York Yankees. Baseball is great because its structure allows a great variety of players to participate and win.

Baseball is both an athletic sport and a strategic game. What other form of competition allows such a diverse mix of people to compete on the same field of play? Baseball shows us that money does provide advantages: The Yankees and Dodgers will, over the years, win more games than teams with smaller payrolls. But a $200 million dollar team still can lose if they get outdone by a well-timed bunt, a finely tossed curve, or little blister on your star pitcher's middle finger.

So many things can happen over the course of a season that we talk about baseball in nautical terms, referring to the manager as "captain" or "skipper." Fans banter, do we want a calm hand at the helm like Ron Gardenhire, or a bold and wily captain like Joe Maddon?

The equipment itself is a study in contrasts and contradictions. A baseball bat clearly is a savage war club, adapted here for placing a bunt within inches of the third base line as well as smashing a home run over everybody's head. Both in their own way are glorious, as is the contrast between the two. A baseball is a pretty little artifact, a four ounce leather egg, held together with pretty red stitches, packed tight with fiber and cork. Tossed lightly, it can still deliver a pesky bruise; at 100 mph it can break a rib or fracture a skull. Our species has been bashing things with clubs and beaning things with rocks for millions of years. It's fascinating to see how these tools of war and hunting have been adapted for what is considered a civilized, genteel form of competition.

Yep, baseball is fun to watch.

#12 ThePuck

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:00 AM

'it's fun to see how a team like the Minnesota Twins can beat a team of bigger, stronger, more physically gifted superstars like the New York Yankees.'

Are we allowed to do that? :-)

#13 bl

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:04 AM

So many great answers already.

I'll skip all the obvious ones like soaring homers and swing and misses. There are a couple of qualities that are unique to baseball that I love:

1) the particular way a breaking ball moves. I think most baseball fans really relish the pitcher-hitter duel at the heart of the game, and for me the best part is watching a curveball snap downwards. It seems so unreal given all that I've experienced of physics, I understand on a technical level how it works but it just doesn't look like it ought to do that. And even more than that it's just an elegant thing to watch.

2) the time-scope of baseball is different than every other game. With a 162-game schedule plus playoffs, and since players often have longer careers than in other sports, the narrative of a season or a player's career takes more real time to play out. I like this, it gives you a sense of continuity, like the players who were good 3-5 years ago are mostly still good today (sorry A-rod). It's like we're in the midst of a developing story, whereas for example in football we're always looking forwards to the draft and players who were good just two years ago have often cycled out due to injury or decline. I like football but it has an entirely different feeling to it.

3) the stolen base is so much fun, especially when you're at the ballpark and get to watch all of the relevant players each do their particular task, the pitcher eyeing the runner warily over his shoulder, the runner trying not to give his sinister intentions away, then bursting down the line at just the right moment, the catcher violently hopping to his feet and whipping the ball past the crouching batter to the fielder who just sprinted to cover the bag as the runner gets there, the ball hitting his glove just inches above the runner's foot...it's all so fast and graceful and especially suspenseful. I can't wait for Billy Hamilton.

4) Hating the Yankees.

5) Hating the White Sox.

6) Rooting for the small market teams, as long as they aren't playing the Twins.

7) the farm system and the way you get years and years to froth over the next phenom, checking all the farm clubs' webpages to review the stats of the guys who Gleeman and Seth had on their lists. Checking Google Maps to see how far the drive to Elizabethton is.

8) beer on a summer day.

9) relievers who are fat and have hideous facial hair.

10) the stats. This is maybe controversial but I like baseball even more than I did growing up because of the advanced statistics that, for me at least, really help understand the game. Hand in hand with this are video/gif breakdowns like Parker does that make is possible for fans of the game to really appreciate it on a whole nother level.

There's so much more but man I'm happy it's April again.

#14 zenser

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:41 AM

Because it was the first sporting event my dad took me to and it will be the first sporting event I take my son to. Would you want to take a little kid to a football game? I think not.

#15 ashburyjohn

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:07 AM

Ditto to the notion that others have covered many of the important aspects already. Here are one or two more:

What other sport has a significant portion of the crowd keeping a score sheet? Even if you don't do it yourself, you can lean over to the guy one row back and ask "who turned the pivot on that double play last inning, second or short?" and get your answer. And the fact you would even care is indicative of the reward gained by the careful observer - no one would bother asking "who fed LeBron on that outlet pass before the timeout?" or "who made that one block on the fumble return in the first quarter?"

And a related aspect is that I see baseball-watching as more social than other sports. Of course there is conversation at any sporting event, but it seems to me that a baseball conversation can touch on more things over the course of a game. The breaks between innings seems fundamentally different than breaks between quarters/halves and especially TV timeouts, for chatting about what just happened or what is about to happen or why the Florida teams just can't seem to develop a devoted fanbase or how my great-uncle almost got a tryout with the Yankees back in the fifties.

#16 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:13 AM

And a related aspect is that I see baseball-watching as more social than other sports. Of course there is conversation at any sporting event, but it seems to me that a baseball conversation can touch on more things over the course of a game. The breaks between innings seems fundamentally different than breaks between quarters/halves and especially TV timeouts, for chatting about what just happened or what is about to happen or why the Florida teams just can't seem to develop a devoted fanbase or how my great-uncle almost got a tryout with the Yankees back in the fifties.


I was given a harsh reminder of this over the weekend during the Wild game I attended.

Hockey is fantastic live but damn, there's no time for talking at all.

#17 ashburyjohn

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:27 AM

In case the original poster isn't familiar with George Carlin's take on baseball, with football as comparison, here it is in text, or a performance of it on YouTube. It probably won't persuade the person asking our poster, but if you're already hooked it expresses things well.

#18 Oxtung

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:37 PM

I guess let me be the first to say that baseball is no different from other sports. The only reason people enjoy sports is because they have some emotional attachment to the game. At some point in the past good memories were created and now when you turn on the TV or radio or show up at the stadium those memories come flowing back to you and make you feel good. Often times this happens at a subconscious level but it still happens. This is true in the game of baseball and any other sport. All of the other reasons given so far are just smokescreen, a way for your mind to articulate an ethereal experience. Something that is hard to grasp and harder to define. The reasons listed above could all be debunked but what can't be is that at some point in the past you learned to love baseball because you had some good experiences and now when you go to the game you are emotionally invested.

#19 ThePuck

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

I guess let me be the first to say that baseball is no different from other sports. The only reason people enjoy sports is because they have some emotional attachment to the game. At some point in the past good memories were created and now when you turn on the TV or radio or show up at the stadium those memories come flowing back to you and make you feel good. Often times this happens at a subconscious level but it still happens. This is true in the game of baseball and any other sport. All of the other reasons given so far are just smokescreen, a way for your mind to articulate an ethereal experience. Something that is hard to grasp and harder to define. The reasons listed above could all be debunked but what can't be is that at some point in the past you learned to love baseball because you had some good experiences and now when you go to the game you are emotionally invested.


It's good to know there is someone out there that knows the reason why people like something better than those people themselves.

#20 Physics Guy

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:31 PM

There are so many ways to go with this, many already stated. Baseball was the only sport my parents ever took me to as a kid and was the sport I grew up loving. I remember avidly watching 50-60 games a summer on a 12" B&W TV growing up, only because they didn't show all of the games back then. I couldn't wait to watch This Week in Baseball every Saturday. The theme song is my cell phone ringer. Baseball is a game of strategy, a thinking man's sport. It's by far the most family friendly game both in pace and the attitude of the fans. There is no way my kids go to a Vikings game until they are in high school.

#21 Aaron Cross

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:31 PM

Baseball is a great game, although steroids have tarnished the game. Pre-steroid baseball was the best.

#22 Bojangles

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 02:47 PM

I guess let me be the first to say that baseball is no different from other sports. The only reason people enjoy sports is because they have some emotional attachment to the game. At some point in the past good memories were created and now when you turn on the TV or radio or show up at the stadium those memories come flowing back to you and make you feel good. Often times this happens at a subconscious level but it still happens. This is true in the game of baseball and any other sport. All of the other reasons given so far are just smokescreen, a way for your mind to articulate an ethereal experience. Something that is hard to grasp and harder to define. The reasons listed above could all be debunked but what can't be is that at some point in the past you learned to love baseball because you had some good experiences and now when you go to the game you are emotionally invested.


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Joe Mauer should hit more home runs. JMO.

#23 jay

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 02:52 PM

I love the individual battles that we see on every single pitch. It is always one guy putting his skill and talent up against another, with a spectacular range of outcomes.

The differences between greatness, average, and mediority are literally a couple of percentage points and mere millimeters many times over.

#24 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:38 PM

I guess let me be the first to say that baseball is no different from other sports. The only reason people enjoy sports is because they have some emotional attachment to the game. At some point in the past good memories were created and now when you turn on the TV or radio or show up at the stadium those memories come flowing back to you and make you feel good. Often times this happens at a subconscious level but it still happens. This is true in the game of baseball and any other sport. All of the other reasons given so far are just smokescreen, a way for your mind to articulate an ethereal experience. Something that is hard to grasp and harder to define. The reasons listed above could all be debunked but what can't be is that at some point in the past you learned to love baseball because you had some good experiences and now when you go to the game you are emotionally invested.


Perhaps you can see a thought in a synapse. I cannot.
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#25 notoriousgod71

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:01 PM

A game of anticipation more than reaction (from a fan perspective).

#26 Vervehound

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:19 PM

if you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of the universe in between pitches. not everyone listens carefully.

#27 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:54 PM

Baseball is the greatest game because it rewards practice over natural abilities. You don't have to be a perfect physical specimen to be a professional baseball player. It's the only sport I know of without a time limit (sure there are others and would appreciate not being corrected) and it appeals to fans in a way no other can. For example, look at memorabilia prices, the variety of statistics, and calming pace. Unlike the NBA and NFL where a great PG or QB can dramatically improve your team, one player can't make as much of a difference because it requires more out of your teammates. With 162 games, any player, no matter how good, has a bad day every once in a while too. I also have to say that the minor leagues for the MLB are unrivaled by all other professional sports. It's a lot of fun to know about the upcoming players in each of the five affiliates. The low success rate of those prospects also makes it much more interesting because prodigies are fairly rare (discrediting Bryce Harper aka the Chosen One). One last thing that I'll throw in, is that the trade deadline, busy offseason, plethora of transactions, and scouting is a blast for analytic people and armchair GMs alike. The MLB doesn't sleep.

#28 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:00 PM

Oh, and I like seeing taters mashed.

#29 JB_Iowa

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:00 AM

So many great things already listed so I'll add something mundane.

From a TV perspective, one thing I love about baseball is that it starts about when most TV programming is going into reruns.

For many years, it was virtually the only "new" programming on the air in the summer months. It's a little different now with the plethora of cable stations and internet options but despite hundreds of stations, baseball games are often still the freshest programming on the air.

#30 luke829

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:57 PM

if you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of the universe in between pitches. not everyone listens carefully.


Sounds of the Universe - YouTube
Mastermind of the "Free Bert" sign.