So it's the middle of January, where the biggest A's-related baseball news right now is something that didn't happen, rather than something that did [insert feelings on the Hall of Fame controversy here]. It's the dead of winter, when baseball fields are abandoned, re-sod, or double as football fields, and lazy, warm summer nights filled with just the right sounds and smells are nothing more than distant memories.
It's that time of year, where the other major sports vie for our affection; where with scintillating commercials and heroic last-second plays, they remind us of the inherent drama of a game-clock, and attempt to offer a substitution to fill the void that stretches from November to March.
The choices seem endless. For the pro basketball fan, enough games have been played to start to shape the standings; the stars are out in force, showcasing their talents for forty-eight, thrilling, action-packed minutes, with virtually no downtime. Or if you prefer college hoops, March Madness is just around the corner, where anything can, and usually does, happen. Legends are created, stars are highlighted, and even those who don't follow the sport can adopt a team for a few glorious weeks, and talk around the water-cooler like a pro.
Of course, the majority of the country is focused on the real sport; professional football, in all its glory, is at the height of its season, with four ridiculous perfect games coming up this weekend to pave the way for the number one television event of the season, the mystical, magical Super Bowl. And this is after the completion of the college bowl games, where stars of tomorrow become heroes today.
And let's not forget hockey...
So why baseball? Why are we here in the middle of the off-season, refusing to be tempted by the allure and glamour of the other sports, clinging to the hope that spring will eventually return, and with it, our beloved sport?
That's not to say that Athletics Nation is a one-sport community. Probably most of us will sneak another sport or two into our viewing lives, and it's probably safe to say that most of us also enjoy good sporting events, no matter with what ball they're played. Yet, I would also say that a good majority of us here claim baseball as the number one sport in our lives, and for many of us, nothing else even comes close.
For example, I think both basketball and football are inherently exciting, and I've seen many great games in both sports, and have been thoroughly entertained. Yet for me, unless the game is a good one, or a meaningful one, or the benches clear, or a record is broken, I could take it or leave it.
In stark contrast, when I finally get my baseball season back, I don't care if the Royals are playing the Devil Rays with two sets of AAA players and the mascots are coaching that night--I'll watch the game. I love baseball.
It's something that I really have tried to reason out: What is it about the sport that completely entrances and captivates me in a way that no other sport can? Is it tradition? Do I like the old-time feel? Have I always liked it, so of course, I'll continue to like it?
For me, my answer is both so simple, and so infinitely complicated. I can't explain why baseball just gets into your skin and invades your life; I just know it does. I can't explain why I care about a group of men who I watch on TV, to the point of empathy with each success and failure; I just know that paying attention to a hundred and sixty-two games a year will build a life-long relationship. I can't explain why innings are so much more valuable and interesting than a game clock; I just know they are. And I can't always defend baseball when it's casually labeled as 'boring'; I just know it's not.
So, January ANers. Have you succumbed to the allure of the sports frenzy of the next few months? Or are you holding out for Spring Training? And if baseball is truly your number one sport--why?