Baseball as a sport spends a lot of its time playing catch up. It used to be the national pastime but arguably it has lost that title to either the NBA, the NFL or NASCAR. It hasn’t captured the world’s attention in the same way that soccer has and even cricket has more global adherents (although that is admittedly due to its huge popularity in India and Pakistan).
I think a lot of it has to do with the habits of baseball players. It’s easy to relate to NASCAR because they’re the children of former booze-running outlaws. Add in it’s rowdy, beer-swilling redneck fanbase and you have a populist’s wet dream.
The NBA has a different kind of allure. It’s a mix of the hard-scrabble blacktop game along with the finesse and graceful elegance of of today’s elite players. Is there any other league that has more marijuana violations than the NBA? I’m guessing no and that reflects an America that has also grown more lenient towards the “devil weed.”
Baseball? You’ve got PED’s and frat boys drinking overpriced beer. That’s the America we laugh at, not the America we want to be part of. We like our sports to have a bit of an edge. The reason people hate Mark Sanchez isn’t because he’s a sub-par quarterback with a questionable work ethic. We’d put up with that if he inspired us. But he spends more time posing for magazines than he does winning football games. Yes, I know he’s led his team to the AFC Championship game twice but I think we can all agree that it wasn’t so much that he led them as it was him following them there.
Baseball right now is kind of like Mark Sanchez. It doesn’t have the edge. It doesn’t make you believe. That’s why it’s fun to hate the Yankees but its so much more fun to hate the Heat. My solution? Bring back Manny and give him lots of weed.