I've wasted considerable manhours today on a pointless email discussion of which sport is better. Rather than have this amazing discourse be squandered on the waves of the interweb, I'm posting it here in entirety so that others may waste their time. My responses (in black) began through a proxy, the football fans wife. His answers are gay and in purple to denote such orientation. Fuck you, it's my blog. Enjoy:
Baseball is better than football. Make sure you tell him that.
I bravely told him that you said baseball is better than football. He laughed a deep and hearty laugh and then said "yeah right".
Football is for 300 pound fatties with 5 year careers, baseball is for life.
Here we go. Just to negate the 300 lbs comment........Cecil "Hall of Famer" Fielder. Okay, now that that's outta the way. I like baseball. Go Sox. I even enjoy going to a game or watching the playoffs on TV. The problem is, baseball is a game. Football is a sport. You do not have to be an athlete to play professional baseball. Manny an athlete? Not even close. Is he extremely talented? Absolutely. But so is the guy who can bowl a 300 consistently. A Hall of Fame baseball player succeeds at the plate 2 out of 5 times. So that's a possible two times a game offensively that a Hall of Fame player may have to actually run. That's good because I don't know if Papi could handle more than that. Now let's look at defense. Papi is out because, well, he's a DH. But let's look at Manny. How many times do you go through the batting order in a game, maybe 4 times in an average game? So that's going to be around 36 at bats for a team. How many of those at bats result in balls coming Manny's way? For the sake of argument I'm going to estimate really, really high and say 10 balls come his way. So, let's say he gets 2 hits on offense (not HR because then he doesn't have to run) and 10 plays his way on defense. That's 12 times over the course of a game that he has to run. 12 times???? That's ridiculous. And how many of those defensive plays does he actually run on? Manny is not an athlete and he's a Hall of Fame caliber player. Sport???? I think not. I'm not saying that running is essential to a sport (boxing) but moving should be. Every guy on every play of a football game has to be athletic and in shape. The same can't be said of baseball. The football guys may way 300 lbs but they're in terrific shape and if they're not they get booted off the team. So, in conclusion. Yes baseball players have skills but so do guys who play darts. There are athletes who play baseball but in most positions it's not a requirement. Football is superior in every way. While baseball may be America's past-time, football is America's passion.
Any and all baseball players would scoff at your statement that they are not athletes. The main point you are forgetting is that football players play in 16 games a season. Baseball players play in 162 games. That's ten times more, in case you didn't realize. Longevity and endurance is a much bigger part of baseball and involves much more than running 12 times a game. In order to be prepared to have bursts of speed and excellent hand-eye coordination, they must take batting and fielding practice, do calisthenics and keep their bodies in excellent shape much like football players. The Cecil Fielders and Big Papis are the exception, not the rule. Let me ask you this question, would a 300 pound lineman be able to play 162 games a year? How long would his career last if he did?
Also, last I watched a football game, there is a lot of standing around. What's the offense doing when the defense is on the field and vice versa? Not to mention the 2nd, 3rd and 4th string players who spend the whole game on the bench. To say there is more downtime in baseball than football is kind of ridiculous. Both of them pale in comparison to true cardiovascular sports like basketball and long distance running or cycling. Football and baseball are more akin to sprinting or long jumping. Preparation for an intense bout of truly incredible feats of sprinting or leaping or swinging doesn't lessen the athlete doing it.
And finally, DARTS ISN"T A SPORT? HOW DARE YOU?
David Blaine had to prepare his body to be in a bubble for 3 months or whatever the hell it was he did but I wouldn't say it makes him an athlete. If we're going to bring practice into the equation then the baseball season is probably shorter than the football season. I'm not educated enough in the baseball schedule to be sure but I know that teams not making the playoffs in the NFL have a total of about 4 1/2 months off. Football takes a much bigger toll on the body too, hence the average shorter career. And I'll take a batting practice and calisthenics over an NFL OTA any day.
I'll give you that a shortstop has to be a real athlete. You might convince me on 2nd too. Those guys really have to be able react quickly and control their bodies. But I know in my current out of shapeness that I could handle the "rigors" of a 162 game season playing right field. I just don't have the hand-eye coordination and other skill involved in swinging a bat at a professional level. I could handle the field though (throwing would take some practice but again I would argue the same about bowling).
To answer your question about the 300 pounder being able to handle baseball? Absolutely! He'd have to retrain his body but not because baseball demands it. Because that position on a football field requires you to build your body different from the average human. In thinking about positions I think I've come up with a good comparison. A baseball player is like the kicker on a football team. Waits around for three hours to be involved on his 8 plays a game. Yup, he runs down the field to help cover kicks but have you see these guys? Hardly athletes. They have to do calisthenics and stuff to keep their legs flexible. They have to keep their "heads in the game" ready to perform their miraculous feat. But they for sure are not athletes. And though there is no proof, I'm sure they would be just fine if the season had 162 games.
I'm typing this at work so I'm not able to formulate my thoughts real clear right now. You should come over tonight and we'll settle this like men! Or we can put on some skirts and settle it like baseball players. = ) Just kidding. I respect baseball players for what they can do, I just wouldn't call them all athletes.
Your definition of athlete is slightly skewed, mostly to win this argument, I fear.
Is a sprinter an athlete? Baseball involves sprinting. Is a high jumper an athlete? Baseball involves jumping. Hell, I consider myself an athlete and I only play basketball once a week and go to the gym here and there. Why are you slighting the fact that preparation and anticipation of a spectacular athletic feat is less strenuous or worthy of praise than "Hey you, push against this guy for 5 seconds" 20 times in a hour? I see you ignored the downtime involved in most football games. Take a look at your own precious players before wielding the "athlete" stick.
I also don't think you'd be able to handle the rigors of a 162 game season without training. The baseball "season" begins in February and stretches to October so I'd say it's comparable with football's. Younger guys also play Winter ball or now the W.B.C. so that will add games. Most players take only a month or so off and then have a routine off-season workout schedule to stay sharp.
The real difference between football and baseball athletic levels is one of resilence and endurance. Sure, a 300 pound guy can do well for a month or two easily, but to consistently perform well for 6+ months takes a tailored and trim athletic body. Have you heard anything about the steroids or greenies scandals? They are all about bouncing back, about maintaining strength and agility over a long period of time. Why do you think players would risk their career for the chance to perform consistently over a whole season? Perhaps it's because it's not as easy a sport as you claim it is.
But that's not even why I think baseball is better than football. What bothers me is the culture. Football is so Republican. So ritualistic. I don't like that they play once a week (or two weeks on a bye). What keeps your attention in between? Baseball is consistent. Every night during the summer, I can get home from work and watch a game. There are better stories involved in baseball. The starter trying to bounce back from a shelling. The young minor league callup having his first at-bat. Just look at how many great baseball movies there are: Field of Dreams, Major League, Bull Durham, The Natural, Eight Men Out, A League of Their Own(don't knock it, it's fucking great). How many football movies are there? Any Given Sunday? I hate Pacino in that. The Longest Yard? Rudy? Awful.