OK, bothers and sisters, for the umpteenth time I’ve been trying to like soccer by watching the World Cup. And for the umpteenth time I’ve failed. Sorry, World, but I’m a baseball fan and soccer just doesn’t measure up. I know I may be preaching to the choir here, but in honor of baseball’s nine innings, here’s nine reasons baseball is better:
1. They put the team name on the jerseys. You get back from running an errand and flip on the World Cup game a minute or so late and what does the congregation see? You see two teams running around without team names on their shirts. Guess which is Italy and which is France (they both wear blue). Come on guys, splash a great big “Italia” across the front so us late comers know who we’re watching. It can’t cost that much, team. In baseball they put Red Sox right on the front so you know who it is.
2. There is no stoppage time. What the heck is stoppage time? You play 90 minutes, then you play more and you never know how much more until you get to the more? Then if there’s stoppage in stoppage time you add more stoppage time? Say what? In baseball it’s nine (count ‘em) innings whether you stop or not.
3. There are no Own Goals. You can’t score against yourself in baseball.
4. Soccer has a level playing field. Baseball has a mound.
5. You gotta win to go forward. If you’re tied with another team in soccer they use goal differential to determine who gets to play next week. Goal differential? In baseball you have two teams tied for a playoff berth, they play each other and the winner goes forward, not the team that scored the most runs in other games. The Dodgers end the season 90-62. The Mets (just for you, Bill) end the season 90-62. The Dodgers score 1000 runs, the Mets 800. So what? Kershaw faces Santana for a one game shot at the playoffs.
6. Every pitch matters. Throw it over the plate it’s a strike or it’s hit. Throw it outside it’s a ball. In soccer half the kicks go backwards. Kick it back toward your goal and it’s just a kick toward your goal. Somebody in the congregation said they’re setting up a play. Not always, sometimes it’s just a do over. Come on, soccer, put the ball down the field, anywhere down the field.
7. What’s with this two games and aggregate score nonsense? In too many soccer leagues the teams play a home and home in their playoffs and the aggregate goals decide who wins if the teams split. In baseball you gotta win 2 of 3, 3 of 5, or 4 of 7. At least you gotta win more games.
8. You get to use your whole body in baseball. God gave you hands, brothers and sisters, use ‘em.
9. There’s no tying in baseball. You don’t have a winner in nine innings, you play more until you win. Try that in the first round of the World Cup.
So there you go, team. Can I hear an “Amen”?