Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The superiority of baseball

Runs are the most important event in a baseball game. Teams need runs to be competitive, and they need at least one more run than their opponent in order to get the victory. However, given the crucial importance of runs in a game, it is interesting to me that the focus of fans in the stadium of a baseball game, and even the focus of the players on the field is away from the actual scoring of the runs. Instead, everyone focuses on the play that is happening hundreds of feet away from the actual scoring. For example, there is a tense 3-3 ballgame, top of the ninth inning, runner on third base. The batter works a 2 ball 2 strike count and hits a line drive into the gap. Huge cheers erupt as the fans watch the ball fly towards the wall and gets down for a double that drives in the run. No one actually watches the runner score (except the home plate umpire), but everyone in the stands cheers wildly because they know the runner will score, without actually seeing the score happen.

This is exactly the opposite of every other sport, where the entire focus of the spectators, and everyone playing is on the score itself. The quarterback in a football game slings a ball to the receiver in the end zone for the score, and everyone is watching the receiver. In a basketball game, everyone watches as the ball swishes through the hoop. Hockey fans look at the puck going into the net. Tennis observers watch to see whether the ball will hit the line.

Of course, sometimes, there is a play at the plate, with the determination of whether the runner will score in doubt. However, this is a comparatively rare occurrence, compared to the vast bulk of scoring that is done without anyone noting. Yet another reason why baseball is unique, and therefore, superior to all other pastimes on earth.