As appears in today's issue of The New School's newspaper, Inprint:
I figure that the three most unpopular things at The New School are God, Republicans and sports. Now, I tend to agree with two of those choices but when it comes to sports—specifically baseball—I must protest.
For millions of people, the beginning of April means the beginning of Major League Baseball. And after the freezing temperatures and dismal days of the winter, I’m pretty darn happy for this.
The most memorable part of being in a ballpark is getting to experience the things about the game that television can’t convey. It’s all the usual clichés: the green grass, the intensity of the lights pouring onto the field, the way an outfielder seems to glide to a fly ball, the crack of the bat and knowing automatically if it’s an infield pop-up or a home run, even the smell of the hot dogs.
If you’re looking for a good first experience, 2007 might be your year. For one thing, the record books will totally be rewritten. The best example of this (and most controversial) is Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants looking to break Hank Aaron’s record for most home runs in a career (755; as of press time, Bonds was at 735). There’s also Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros, looking to become only the 27th player in baseball history with 3,000 hits, and New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, who hopes to be the 23rd pitcher with 300 or more wins.
Even if you’re not into stats there’s still plenty to follow. In baseball, questions abound: Will the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs suck for the umpteenth season in a row? Will Yankees’ third baseman A-Rod stop being a pussy? Will the Washington Nationals be the worst team ever? Will the Red Sox’s actually become the Yankees before our eyes with their obscene spending and obnoxious attitudes?
One of the best parts about going to a ballpark is being in a crowd of tens of thousands who are cheering for the same thing you are, and want the same thing too: a championship for their team. There’s a healthy You vs. Us mentality at the ballpark that gets even easier to see when your team is playing a rival.
So if you’re ever feeling bored, take the 7 Train to Shea Stadium or the 4 Train to Yankee Stadium, plop down 5 bucks on an upper deck ticket and just enjoy the game. Do it just once, and chances are you’ll understand our nation’s obsession with baseball. And who knows? Some day sports may get knocked off the three most unpopular list, and Ann Coulter will take its spot.