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Baseball: Too expensive & just plain boring?
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Reader Jim says the National Football League has replaced Major League Baseball as our national pastime.
His statement came in response to my weekend column about the new MLB Network.
“Baseball is over-priced and very boring. They need to do away with the DH and institute a salary cap,” he wrote.
Jim makes a very good point.
You see, I haven’t watched a game — regular season, playoffs, All Stars or World Series — from the first inning to the final pitch in God knows how long.
Furthermore, I agree with Jim’s point of baseball needing some sort of salary cap. It sickens me to no end that the big-market teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets have an unfair advantage in vying for free agents.
In the past month, the Bronx Bombers managed to go on a holiday spending spree, locking up pitchers C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, first baseman Mark Teixeira, and infielder / outfielder Nick Swisher to lucrative contracts.
Total cost: $423.5 million.
Meanwhile, things are tough all over, with the homeless and unemployment rate continuing to climb, and the new presidential administration, as Gleaves Whitney, the director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies in Grand Rapids, Mich., put it, inheriting “The Depression and Pearl Harbor all rolled up into one.”
At least we have sports as an escapism.
And no one does it better than the NFL.
Sure, the playoff format has a few flaws; in particular, the 11-5 Atlanta Falcons going on the road to face the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals in the first round. I’m aware that the Falcons made it to the post season as a wild card team.
Yet I still watched this game from the opening kickoff to the final seconds. However, I’ll admit I had a vested interest in the outcome.
You see, my buddy, Frank, and his wife were in Las Vegas over the weekend visiting family. I shot him a text to take Arizona and the points.
Frank took my advice and wagered $20 at the sports book. He wasn’t too crazy about the pick, taking note that the Cardinals struggled down the stretch after clinching the weak NFC West.
In the end, Frank subscribed to the George Constanza School of doing the opposite. Thankfully, it paid off.
The NFL is more than just a pastime — it’s our passion.
We watch it, we wager on it, and we even go agog with the countless of fantasy leagues. Many of us — myself included — often keep close tabs on college draft, hoping our team will catch lightning in a bottle.
It certainly worked for the Falcons, who dramatically turned their fortunes around by selecting quarterback Matt Ryan, AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, and hiring NFL Coach of the Year Mike Smith.
In addition, the NFL has the Super Bowl.
Over the years, the championship game has evolved into an unofficial holiday. You don’t have to be a sports fan to get wrapped up in the occasion. I know of non-sports fans who anxiously await the Super Bowl commercials and half-time entertainment.
For me, Super Bowl means seeing old friends and family, indulging in plenty of bantering and hors d’oeuvres.
It also helps to have some extra cash handy in order to purchase a square or two in the pool.
There’s also a strong likelihood I’ll watch this game from beginning to end, regardless of the teams.