In 1987, legendary Washington Post sportswriter, Tom Boswell, wrote a piece entitled “Why is Baseball so Much Better than Football” and enumerated 99 reasons. It was a classic then and is a classic now. Read it. If you have already read it, read it again. If you’ve read it within the last 12 months, so what. Read it again, anyway.
Nearly all of Boswell’s reasons for the superiority of baseball over football still hold today (Note that there’s no need to debate why baseball is better than other sports. After snoozing through three weeks of the World Cup, soccer is thankfully banished from our consciousness for another four years. Football is the only sport in the discussion at all). Some of Boswell’s 99 reasons have faded, but very few. Saddest of all, baseball did develop a serious drug problem, but unlike football, seems to have now solved it. Baseball also finally introduced broader use of the instant replay and I hate it. On the other hand, Boswell’s criticism of football’s lack of black head coaches has now been addressed, which is obviously a good thing.
So, why did I pick today to write about a 27-year old newspaper column? The truth is I think about it every day during the baseball season. I probably think about it twice a day during the football season. But, every now and then, something happens during the baseball season that drives home the point stronger than ever. That happened yesterday in the Nationals vs. Rockies game when Nats reliever Aaron Barrett and Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes staged a National Anthem standoff. After the players and color guard left the field following the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, Barrett and Barnes remained on the field, standing at attention. The first player to move loses. This went on for about 5-10 minutes until the game was literally about to start and the umpire forced Barnes off the field, making Barrett the winner. During the standoff, the players’ teammates brought them drinks, sunscreen, and protective equipment in case the game started around them. Please go to the story here and click on the second picture to watch the video. It’s well worth five minutes of your time.
You would never see anything like this at a football game or any other sporting contest for that matter.
Baseball is the best. Congrats on your win, Aaron!