It’s been a while since I posted and I attribute that to the fact that this is the worst time of the year for American sports (and that I was basking in the glory of my 295th place finish in the ESPN Bracket Challenge). College basketball just finished, there is no football except for the off-season transactions, the only important yet extremely drawn out part of the NBA—the playoffs—is still a couple weeks away, tennis and golf seasons are just starting up, and the most boring sport of them all has just started—baseball.
Now, the fact that I find baseball tedious doesn’t mean I won’t follow it. In fact, the American sports media almost requires any sports addict, such as myself, to follow it because it’s the sport the media will cover the most extensively. Because of this sad state of affairs I am in the mid-spring sports doldrums that I suffer each year and I will offer up my top ten reasons why baseball sucks.
10. Roger Clemens—This guy is a major league pain in the ass and I think Brett Favre is trying to emulate Clemens. I’m not against a player trying to get everything he can out of a team as far as salary and benefits go, but I think it’s getting a little ridiculous. Will he or won’t he play? I don’t care. Go home and throw BP at your kids’ heads for all I care.
9. 162-game season!—Baseball doesn’t need 162 games to determine who should make the playoffs. Schedule length is the second biggest reason why baseball is so boring (see #4 below). As it is there are many meaningless games during the season. With forty less games a team can play all its league opponents 7 times and several interleague series. This would increase the importance of each game and shorten the impossibly long 7 month season by about a month and a half.
8. Fantasy Baseball—is one of the worst developments in baseball in recent history. It also shows that the game itself isn’t interesting enough for fans to follow and they need a contrived “game” to continue to follow baseball. Although the other sports have fantasy leagues they aren’t as central to most fans that follow the sport. Moreover, these fantasy teams create the odd situations where fans rooting allegiances are altered based on who they have on their teams. A Yankee fan may root for David Ortiz to play well because it helps his fantasy team and that is sacrilegious in the realm of sports fandom.
7. David Wells, Bartolo Colon, etc.—Although the likes of David Wells may attract people to baseball as an everyman sport just like John Daly does for golf, it is unfathomable to have a sport where players are routinely not in top physical shape, especially when the athletes get millions of dollars.
6. Bud Selig—What’s not to like? Stuck his head in the sand on steroid issue; almost destroyed baseball with the labor dispute in ’94; has allowed the chasm between the haves and have-nots to widen; allowed the All-Star game to end tied; etc. Some say he has been visionary because he created the wild-card and inter-league play, which both existed in all the other major sports. Oh yeah, he was also the owner of an MLB team while he was the commissioner. Can anybody say “conflict of interest.” Under Bud’s watch, MLB has become number 3 in the minds of American sports fan.
5. The Florida Marlins—The Marlins have a $15 million dollar payroll!!! 15!!! A-Rod makes 25 mil a year!!! How can you call it a sport when a team has mailed it in before the season even start? The fact that a team can do this is redonkulous!
4. The Game is SLOOOOOW—I’ve had more fun watching paint dry. A pitch takes less than a second to get to the plate and 75% of the time nothing happens. The other 25% a player may get a hit which adds an extra 5-7 seconds of action and then we wait to rinse and repeat.
3. Steroids—It says a lot about baseball that the most intriguing thing about the sport in the last 15 years has been its ties to steroids. It should be that the teams and the competition are compelling but it isn’t. It took these performance enhancers to make baseball relevant again after the strike in ’94 and the fact that it has become public knowledge now makes steroids the biggest story in baseball. This is over all of the supposedly great competition and teams and everything else that actually has to do with the actual play of the game.
2. The Yankees—A lot of people hate the Yankees just because the team is a consistent winner. But, the thing about the Yankees that makes baseball suck is that they (primarily George Steinbrenner) embody all that is bad with baseball, which is that only the rich, profligate spenders can win and contend. What makes the NFL great is that there is a lot of parity in the spending of teams which means many teams have a shot to win. However, baseball doesn’t have that because the league can have a $200 mil payroll for the Yanks and a $15 mil one for the Marlins. That just isn’t conducive to producing a good, competitive league.
1. Boston Red Sox Fans—Quite simply, these people are the most annoying fans in the world. Their world revolves around their team, so much so, that they all think they know better than the manager or the GM. And then, the minute anything goes awry they start whining and crying about the sky falling. There is nothing more annoying than know-it-all, whiny, cry-baby fans. This includes Bill Simmons.