Not Exactly Apples and Oranges

usa_soccer.jpgI didn’t watch a whole lot of baseball this weekend.  No, despite the inevitable outcry about how boring it is I spent the weekend watching soccer. 

More than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I started to wonder why baseball fans don’t enjoy it more.  Both sports tend to end in low-scoring affairs.  There are some matches that get blown wide open but for the most part, there are a lot of near misses and defensive stand-offs. 

Both sports require an intelligent caretaker.  Yes, you need to have the right personnel to execute the coach’s plan but management is integral to the two games.  When a goal is scored in soccer, the ESPN highlight tends to show only the moment itself.  But that moment is usually the culmination of several minutes of slowly building action.  A good manager notices where the weaknesses are and then has his team exploit those advantages. 

It’s not really all that much different than a baseball manager noticing the opposing pitcher taking a little bit longer in his windup and sending a guy who isn’t much of a base stealer because that extra half second might be all he needs.  We all know that a guy at second base is a much bigger threat than a guy on first and a soccer player knows that a corner kick is a much bigger threat than a throw in from the sideline.

So much of baseball and soccer is based on a patient strategy being slowly implemented.  Pitchers set up batters during early at-bats just like strikers set up defenders during early runs.

I’m amazed when people tell me how they think baseball is boring.  They tell me they don’t understand the rules and they don’t know how people can sit there and watch it.  Any baseball fan will tell you that every game has a hundred different little dramatic moments.  And likewise I’m amazed when a baseball fan tells me they don’t understand soccer and that it’s boring to watch.  The rules may be different but the drama and the intensity are completely on par.

With the exception of Mexico, the baseball playing world and the soccer playing world exist in two very different spheres.  But it’s time we move beyond that silliness.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even wear my team USA jersey this weekend when I go watch Strasburg pitch.  USA!  USA!  USA!!!




  1. bklyntrolleyblogger

    Well said! Baseball, you know, is my Pastime. My National Pastime. But “football/soccer” is The Beautiful Game. Soccer was handed down to me in another country the same exact way Baseball was handed to me in this country. Soccer from one half of the family…Baseball from the other. Everything else was a learned experience in NYC.
    LET’S GO USA!!!

  2. raysrenegade

    I got a passion for the World’s brand of footballin high schoo lusing it as a training tool to stay in shape during the Summerand Spring times when American football was on hiatus, even in high schools.
    Love how soccer forced me to make instant decisions and also got me to a cardio level that was unheard of for most baseball players. With the added bonus of women loving to see my muscular legs in a pair of soccer shorts…It was a “win-win” sport for me.
    Not sure why the game has not peaked here, but it is a great way for our youth to learn teamwork and fundemental team skills before they hit the grind of competitve athletics aka puberty and beyond sports.
    Thinking of grabbing my old Puma Johan Cryuff cleats and maybe dribbling, trapping and volleying around the local park for a few hours…in hommage to the World’s game.

    Rays Renegade

  3. Jane Heller

    I have to admit I just haven’t given soccer a chance. There’s hardly enough time for baseball, and now with the NBA playoffs, which came after the NHL playoffs, with my other fave sport, tennis, coming up at Wimbledon, I’m all sports-ed out!

  4. angelsgirl012

    my brother and I both hate it when people try to give reasons why they think baseball is boring. It almost never helps their argument. I’m up for debate if the other side actually brings up valid points but most of the time it’s just out of stupidity like, “you just hit a ball with a bat and run around in a circle”. Oh humans and our lack of awareness with geometric shapes 😛

  5. rudyrob

    I’ve always thought soccer should appeal to more baseball fans. If you’ve ever followed the English Premier League, I think you’d find the games have some similarities….long standing rivalries, the haves and the have nots, tradition, and a game that you really have to dig into to fully enjoy. Took me a few years to really get into soccer/football so that I could understand and enjoy the game beyond just “oooh, look, he scored a goal”, but has been worth the effort. I’m loving the World Cup, and can’t wait until August when the EPL gets rolling again so I can get my fix Saturday/Sunday mornings.

    Love your blog.

  6. StlCardinals06

    I play both high school baseball and soccer, and am immensely pleased with your perspective. The games have so many similarities and take so much knowledge to have success. I hate hearing people say baseball is boring, and it is too the point now that I just walk away. And the same people who say baseball is boring think soccer is a girls sport, so I am not making too many friends…Anyway great post

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