My 100 reasons that baseball is better than soccer Topic

Hi all, 

I posted this on my Facebook page attached to the story of how the idiotic practice of arbitrarily deciding how much time will be allowed after the clock has run out in soccer led to the debacle of the US-Portugal match the other day: 


Yes, this is yes another inspiration for my working in the tradition of the Thomas Boswell whose "99 reasons baseball is better than football" is a classic:

http://articles.latimes.com/1987-01-18/sports/sp-5548_1_pro-football-game

So here are my 100 reasons baseball is better than Soccer:

1. Stoppage time
2. Soccer has a time clock in the first place.
3) Penalty kicks. Can you imagine baseball doing this? "Barry Bonds will now an at bat with no defenders on the field to see if he can hit a home run" ?
4) Penalty kicks to decide matches. This is particularly awful.
5) Penalty kicks to decide matches in the World Cup.
6) Penalty kicks to decide the Final match of the World Cup. 
7) Yellow cards and Red cards. 
8) In Soccer if a player even grazes another player as a normal part of play action, the other player falls down and often a penalty is called. In baseball, the runner on second is EXPECTED to slide into the Second Baseman or Shortstop throwing to first to knock him or her down so as to prevent a double play. And often the defensive player does not fall down despite this. 
9) Soccer players falling down and holding some part of their body that has not actually been involved in contact, and rocking side to side. 
10) Italian players in particular doing this, which appears to be the national sport in Italy. 
11) Baseball had Bob Gibson throwing the ball under batters' chins to back them off the plate. At well over 90 miles an hour. And no one complained. 
12) That in Italian, to name just one language, the word for penalty kicks is not "calcio di penaltà" but "calcio di rigore". "penaltà" means something else. 
13) 0-0.
14) 1-1 etc. A tie is like getting to kiss your sister (or brother). It doesn't count.
15) No team in baseball has to playing thinking "we are down by 5 and there are only 2 minutes to go, we have lost but now must play anyway to keep appearances up". In baseball the team that is trailing always get its last turn at bat and anything can happen. 
16) Every baseball player - except the Designated Hitter which is a latter day innovation and a mistake that should be done away with - has to bat and field. In soccer, the players are all specialized, though less so than in US football at least.
17) In baseball there is an individual moment - one batter facing one pitcher, but in a collective context of batting for their team while the other team is on defense to prevent a hit - at the start of every baseball action. This has no parallel in soccer except for the aforementioned penalty kicks. 
18) In baseball you play almost every day. There is always tomorrow and you get another shot at the team that just beat you. 
19) No sport should determine who is best by one single match or game. The sample size is meaningless. 
20) A 162 game season genuinely allows you to see who is the best team and who the best players over the course of a season. The cream rises to the top over that period, though at any given point, especially early in the season it is hard to see how things will turn out. 
21) Baseball has Fenway Park. 
22) Baseball has Wrigley Field
23) Baseball had Ebbets Field. If we had socialism in the United States the Dodgers would still be in Brooklyn, and it would still be a thriving community. It was the decision of one capitalist owner to wreck the city by moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles. 
24) Baseball has the glory of Yankee Stadium. The House that Ruth built. 
25) Baseball has had Spaceman Bill Lee. 
26) Baseball has had Rube Waddell. 
27) Baseball had Christy Mathewson, the Christian Gentlemen and grown men still weep at his early death as did the gruff and at times cruel John McGraw. 
28) I defy anyone to show me a soccer match as good as Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Ever. 
29) If you load the bases and then hit a home run you get 4 runs. 
30) The amount of strategy involved in the most basic baseball plays, such as all the thinking in nanoseconds about who is doing what and should do what with one out, runners at first and second and a base hit to shallow right field, dwarf all the strategy soccer can muster. 
31) You get to use your hands in baseball. Think about it: What distinguishes humans is our use of our hands to create, to shape the natural world around us (thank you Dr. Marx), our opposable thumb, which helped our larger brains to develop. Yet the most popular sport world wide does not demonstrate the human possibilities of beautiful action inherent in those traits, but instead bars the use of hands. 
32) ergo, no curve ball in soccer
33) no slider
34) no knuckleball
35) no screwball
36) All baseball parks are different, the field of play is unique to that park and that place and leads to cultural meaning. All soccer fields are exactly the same, in keeping with the Cartesian standardization of time and space that is so convenient for capitalist exploitation.
37) There was a Japanese pitcher named Eiji Sawamura who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in a game in Japan when American ball players traveled there to spread the game. He became a national hero in a 1-0 loss, the only game of the series there that Japan almost won. This led to the adoption of baseball in Japan. Sawamura was on a ship that was sunk by the Americans in World War II. Now, tell me a soccer story even half as poignant as that.
38) No one ever built a baseball stadium in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest for $270 million that would be used for only 4 games in an area that has no city, no local team to ever use it and no fan base. The closest we ever came to that was the Montreal Expos.
39) The 1969 New York Mets.
40) The 1927 New York Yankees.
41) The worst stain ever in baseball history was the Black Sox scandal over the 1919 World Series. This sort of thing happens regularly in soccer.
42) The late owner of the NY Yankees was George Steinbrenner, who was for a time banned from baseball for giving money illegally to Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. But the team did not win in the Nixon years, and despite Steinbrenner's consistent support for Republican politicians in NY and nationally, the Yankees have won the World Series ever since 1960 (when I was born) in seasons in which there was a Democrat in the White House. In soccer, the relationship between politicians and soccer teams is such that there is always a suspicion, a cloud over the results because of these connections. 
43) Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and others among the very greatest players ever, players who set or broke records that were revered for generations are no allowed in the Hall of Fame because of their steroid use which casts a shadow over their career accomplishments and harms the integrity of the game. The same is true of Pete Rose for his having gambled on the outcome of games, and who broke Ty Cobb's record for the most hits ever by a player. The penalties for analogous behavior in soccer are light and temporary. 
44) Speaking of which "Shoeless Joe Jackson" and his tragic story. 
45) Every baseball fan knows how many home runs Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron hit in their careers, how many Ruth hit in 1927, Roger Maris in 1961, Mark McGwire in 1998 and Barry Bonds in 2001. Now quick, what is the record for most goals in a season by a soccer player? How many lifetime goals did Pele make? 
46) Bobby Thompson's home run. 
47) Bull Durham. The movie. 
48) Ken Burn's "Baseball"
49) Roger Angell's baseball writings.
50) "The Universal Baseball Association, Inc. J.Henry Waugh, PROP" by Robert Coover.
51. Sandy Koufax, after having been the greatest pitcher of all time for the previous 6 seasons, walked away from the game. 
52. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q6odQuCxFU
53. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q6odQuCxFU - where have you gone Joe Dimaggio?
54. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-7Ac2LVVYU
55. Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey de-segregated baseball decades before the US de-segregated officially by law and years before Martin Luther King. 
56. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-7Ac2LVVYU
57. The Seventh Inning Stretch.
58. The Wizard of Oz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY8kdeA4uxs
59: The Human Vacuum Cleaner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Cs5_fx7tI
60. Charlie Hustle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Wiy5DJRJw
61. The Bambino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYYXnsGgfpM
62. Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SKyfGK9brs
63: Willie Mays: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dK6zPbkFnE
64. Carl Yastrzemski's hitting streak to take the Red Sox into the 1967 World Series.
65: The Curse of the Bambino and how it completely shaped all of New England for a near-century.
66. (much as I hate to admit it) How the Red Sox finally ended the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 doing something that no sports team has ever done. 
67. Bob Dylan wrote a song about Catfish Hunter
68. The 1998 New York Yankees. 
69. Bob Costas' funeral eulogy for Mickey Mantle:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr-tcB3L3g4
70. That Mickey Mantle lowered his head as he rounded the bases after hitting a home run so as not to embarrass the opposing pitcher. 
71. Bill Mazeroski's home run 
72. Kirk Gibson's home run
73. The fact that all I have to do is write "Mazeroski's home run" "Bobby Thompson's home run" etc. and everyone who follows baseball knows what I am talking about and when and where the event happened and what makes it important. 
74. Thomas Boswell's books "Why Time Begins on Opening Day" and "How Life Imitates the World Series". 
75. Ted Williams explaining why the most difficult thing in all of sports is hitting a round ball with a round bat at 90 miles an hour. And then doing it better than anyone else ever. 
76. That Ted Williams hit a home run his last time up. 
77. That Stephen Jay Gould wrote an essay demonstrating the reality of evolution in biology based on the disappearance of the .400 hitter (Ted Williams was the last one). 
78. Statistics. So you can talk about baseball and compare players and teams across centuries. 
79. That we have all the player and team and career stats of every player and team since 1871. 
80. That Walt Whitman told us to play baseball. 
81. Dwight Eisenhower's boyhood hero was the great Honus Wagner. 
82. Honus Wagner was a socialist and a member of the IWW, and opposed segregation in baseball.
83. That when Honus Wagner and the virulent racist Ty Cobb, the two greatest players of their time played against each other in the 1909 World Series,Wagner outplayed Cobb in every facet of the game. And that it matters.
84. Satchel Paige. 
85. Dizzy Dean.
86. Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three consecutive swings of the bat off three different pitchers to win a deciding World Series game for the New York Yankees in 1977. 
87. Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. And poor Bill Buckner. 
88. "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton. 
89. "Who's on First" by Abbot and Costello.
90. George Carlin's great routine comparing baseball to football:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmXacL0Uny0
91. Soccer is territorial and so militaristic in conception. Baseball is not.
92. Baseball is the only game where the defense has the ball. 
93. Baseball has a manager in uniform instead of a coach in a suit. 
94. "Moneyball". 
95. No one can remember the last major riot in a baseball stadium or when a fan was killed in such a riot. 
96. Hot dogs. 
97. Baseball is a way to watch the unfolding of a summer day. 
98. Roberto Clemente: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qp1GL6-8pE
99. Stan the Man. 
100. Play Ball !



6/24/2014 7:10 AM
AMEN!!! Preach it brother!
6/24/2014 9:46 AM
Eye certainly hope that RANDOM.ORG establish'd all 100 no#'s...

Clemente @ no#98 ???... Eye wanna' cry, but @ a young 56 years
of age, am too old 2 do that... Can't wait 4 the sequels, no#'s 101,
all the way up to a gazillion... !!!...

Helluva' forum post here, italyprof... Definitively, -&- definitely 1 of
the best forum posts of the year, so far... No doubt, & kudos... !!!...
6/24/2014 10:16 AM
These are not ranked in any order jsakicno19. Clemente might have been the greatest player I ever actually saw play. Some of the placements are things that I don't like about soccer and not baseball players at all. 

So these are not in any particular order. Not to worry. 

Let's see, no. 101? How about that this stuff matters to baseball fans? ...
6/24/2014 5:36 PM
101. You can lose and still advance. And be happy about it.
6/26/2014 3:47 PM
Wait, shouldn't soccer get it's own list?

1. Soccer has "Bend It Like Beckham". That's it.
6/26/2014 3:49 PM
Yep hersheybear,  I agree on both counts. 

Actually that is a really good movie. Best cricket movie:" Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India". 

But advancing when you lose...that's just wrong. Even college basketball and football bowl national championship systems don't work that way.


6/26/2014 5:18 PM
Great stuff italyprof,and there are probably a thousand reasons why baseball is better than soccer........
6/26/2014 8:44 PM
102. Derek Jeter.
103. Mariano Rivera.

The answer to #95 is Disco Demolition Night, July 12, 1979 @ old Comiskey Park.
6/26/2014 10:05 PM
No "Dying Cubs Fan Last Request"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xBxZGQ1dJk&feature=kp
6/26/2014 10:21 PM
Trentonjoe, this is magnificent ! Absolutely 104 ! 

I miss Steve Goodman, saw him many times in concert. What a loss. I had never heard this song before. Thanks.
6/27/2014 9:03 AM
Posted by italyprof on 6/26/2014 5:20:00 PM (view original):
Yep hersheybear,  I agree on both counts. 

Actually that is a really good movie. Best cricket movie:" Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India". 

But advancing when you lose...that's just wrong. Even college basketball and football bowl national championship systems don't work that way.


Oh please, this happens all the time.

Lose game 162... still in the playoffs... just that the world cup has a 3 game "season"...
6/27/2014 11:29 AM
Other than the socialist pandering, an amusing read; nice job.
6/27/2014 3:15 PM
Thanks pinotfan, especially coming from you. But hey, if it didn't have some socialist propaganda it wouldn't be me would it? 

On the other hand at least I offered an alternative to Ann Coulter's argument about why soccer is evil - too left wing apparently (!), but she compares it unfavorably only to football, and never so much as mentions the word baseball. 

Interesting, since her claim is that no one whose great-grandfather was born in the US loves soccer - my great-grandparents were all born in Italy but I still do't like soccer, so the whole "DNA" based argument falls apart. And anyone's great-grandfather who was in the US probably watched and played baseball and only rarely football if at all. 
6/27/2014 5:04 PM
I tried, but soccer just bores me to tears.
6/27/2014 6:52 PM
123 Next ▸
My 100 reasons that baseball is better than soccer Topic

Search Criteria

Terms of Use Customer Support Privacy Statement

© 1999-2017 WhatIfSports.com, Inc. All rights reserved. WhatIfSports is a trademark of WhatIfSports.com, Inc. SimLeague, SimMatchup and iSimNow are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts, Inc. Used under license. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.