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.
The Super Bowl serves as an excellent signpost for the “we’re almost there” point of the MLB offseason. Once the big game is over, I know it’s only a matter of days before pitchers and catchers report to spring training and some real baseball action presents itself. This is a good thing, particularly this year, because I am running out of episodes of Glee (don’t judge) and Breaking Bad to watch, and the Bulls don’t play every single day.
I wish they did!
In fact, this year, the NBA has done a fine job of keeping my attention. After a 10 year hiatus, all it took for me to care about the league again was a universal villain in the Miami Scheme Team paired with a plethora of explosive, young talent (Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, etc.). It still doesn’t compare to the sensational grind of 162, but the kind of drama that creeps out of this modern NBA is as close to the old World Wrestling Federation as one can find in any legitimate league.
And, of course, there’s always this:
I know it’s Hydrox cookies in place of Oreos, but until the Oreo season gets started again, the Hyrdox highlights are taming my appetite for excitement.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
If you had to choose between watching the Heat and the Mavericks in the NBA Finals or the Cubs and the Pirates playing a mid-week series, what would you choose?
Hold on a second here, Henry. I know where you’re going with this and believe me, the old me would high-five you, pat you on the back for representin’ the greatest game on earth and laugh in the face of all those suckas entranced by David Stern’s tamed down version of the WWE. The problem is, a funny thing happened to me during the baseball offseason, and now I too can be considered a cog in the NBA machine.
This is not a bad thing!
To me, baseball still sits atop the professional sports world. It simply can’t be beat. If you are looking for an exact explanation as to why I feel this way, just check the over 1100+ posts in our RSBS back catalogue, consider my socially-backwards tendencies of staying home on Friday and Saturday nights so I can watch five straight hours of baseball undisturbed and you should be drunk with the RSBS brand of baseball championing.
But there’s something subtly intoxicating about the NBA this year too, from the LeBron disaster to the fall of the Lakers to the bright futures of Westbrook, Rose and Durant… I mean, watching those guys drive to the hoop over 7 foot monsters is pretty close to watching a suicide squeeze late in a tight ballgame. And I can appreciate this electrifying comparison — finally, after a self-imposed decade long hiatus from basketball fandom — because this year I had my very own private NBA tutor walk me through what I have missed (the storylines, the heroics, the defeats — it’s all very soap opera-ish), to explain what “pick and pop” means, to show me the entire floor for a full understanding of the sport.
So to answer your question, Henry… I will be watching Heat/Magic on Tuesday. You bet. I wouldn’t miss Dirklicious schoolin’ the most hated man in all of sports. Of course, I’ll be watching it! But, like all the other games before it, I will be watching with one caveat: that my laptop is running four live baseball games and my finger is set to scroll my MLB Extra Innings package during all commercial breaks.
Who said a man can’t have his cake and eat it too?
IMA GIT ME SOME CAKE!!!
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
And while his latest project may be getting Jake Peavy to respect his own body (regarding injury, not that Jesusy “your body is a temple” stuff), we should all certainly stop to thank the baseball gods that, despite his busy schedule, Ozzie still has time to tweet.
It’s just that… sometimes, his tweets… they’re not easy to comprehend. And that’s where RSBS and our faithful interns get to work!
Let us enter the interwebs to analyze some of Ozzie’s latest…
My dog dh needs a gf he want to be charlie sheen he is desperate lol
March 3, 2011
Translation: I think it’d be funny if my dog did a bunch of coke, assaulted hookers and got fired from the best job in television, ‘cuz let’s face it: self-destruction is hilarious.
Very nice day off great golf 89 finnaly play good any cuestion ask oney lol yesssss
March 15, 2011
Translation: Punctuation? Spelling? I don’t need no stinking punctuation or spelling! Ask one of my delinquent sons!
Nice shot james lol
February 24, 2011
Translation: Bet you wish you had a Derrick Rose, right, LeBron?!?! (this tweet came during one of the Bulls’ three victories over the Heat — right after LeBron threw up a humiliating BRICK towards the end of the game.)
Folks, this is but a small sampling of the logorrheic ramblings Ozzie spews on a daily basis, which is definitely cause to celebrate technocracy. Just imagine if Earl Weaver had a twitter… oh boy.
Hate me, I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Lebron to the Heat?? Wouldn’t this be the equivalent of Strasburg
playing a few seasons in DC and then heading to Marlins? I know you
guys must have some opinion on this so let’s hear it.
You are right, Hal. Basketball isn’t my thing. Sure, I’ll check in come the playoffs; but the last time I paid attention to a whole NBA season start to finish was… well, never.
Fear not. I got an NBA expert to help us out.
But before I get to that, let me just say what I am qualified to say and that is: NO! It would NOT be the equivalent of Strasburg going to the Marlins. How does Strasburg even factor into this? LeBron is… y’know, the best. Strasburg is… pretty good (in but a handful of games).
A better metaphor would be Albert Pujols looking like this one day:
Again, fear not. The above ain’t ever gonna happen. If it does, I promise you I will murder everyone… in the world.
Now, for a keen, informative breakdown of the LeBron James free agent fiasco, we turn to RSBS‘ resident NBA apologist, Johanna Mahmud (you know him — a bit too well perhaps — from the RSBS Podcast extravaganzas), who assures us that the one who really gets hurt in this whole mess is Delonte West. Who’s momma is he gonna sleep with now? Zydrunas Ilgauskas’s? Please, lord, no.
When asked for his opinion on the matter for this Filibuster, Johanna broke it down for us in short quips of bursting genius:
“If bron goes to heat, and faces kobe in finals and kobe defeats the chimera. i’m kobe fan for life. watch out m.j.”
“i love when giadas fake friends show up to try the fake food her chefs slave over.”
“my rash cleared up!!!!!”
“d rose. d rose d rose. ….would never do what happened thursday night. the bulls/heat games this season will be UNBELIEVABLE…”
So yeah… that’s how we feel about the LeBron James/Miami Heat situation. Johanna’s part of the crew. And we’re having what he’s having… like, now.
Hate us ‘cuz it’s always beer thirty here, just don’t hate us ‘cuz we’re right!
(Albert image courtesy of Hardball Talk)