Why is it that baseball managers need to dress in uniform like their players to seem at home in their jobs, but football and basketball coaches would look stupid in our eyes if they came to work dressed out like their players?
Why is it that football and basketball coaches are controlled by a limited number of time-outs they may call during a game, but baseball managers may call as many time-outs as they damn well choose?
Why was now retired manager Bobby Cox ejected a record-setting 161 times during his career while retired Hall of Famer Stan Musial was never tossed from a game in his long big league life? Let me put it another way: Why was Bobby Cox seen by most people as a sore-headed old baseball curmudgeon while Stan Musil was viewed as one of the most likable people in baseball history?
If the baseball season was only sixteen (16) games long and the football season stretched to one hundred and sixty-two (162) games, who would go to see either sport? My guess is there would still be big crowds for football, with people betting the over/under numbers on season roster and game fatality totals. Interest in once a week baseball would shift attention to one (or two) big starters. A once-a-week Sandy Koufax job might just be your club’s biggest ticket to the World Series.
Why is it that football and basketball both have stronger penalties against unfair play than baseball? Oh sure, baseball has the take your base by the HBP rule, and the base advancement for runners penalty by the balk rule, but football awards huge acres of field position for miscreant behavior and basketball awards offended players the opportunity to directly score uncontested points by so-called free throws in most instances as a result of defined egregious acts. Is baseball out of whack here? Or is it just my imagination? Of course, baseball is right there in the open for all to see. Unlike football or basketball, baseball offers less chance for players to hide dirty tricks – and you can get kicked out of a game and possibly suspended for serious acts of misconduct in baseball. Of course, that kind of ejection/suspension is also possible in the other two major sports, so maybe the gap is not as big here as first meets the eye.
Unlike football or basketball, baseball is off the clock. Theoretically, a baseball game could go on forever, and, like our lives, we live them that way, even though we all know that the end comes for all of us in time – at a moment we least expect. Baseball is life itself in that regard, a thing to be lived all out while it’s here. To live our lives as well as possible, we need to be grateful for each day that comes our way, giving ourselves to acts of love for those people and passions we most deeply cherish.
I choose my family. My friends. My country. My city. My undergraduate university. My high school. Arts and Literature. And baseball.