Column: It is almost baseball season – The Daily Tar Heel

Opinion editor Tyler Fleming

Baseball is back. Football is dead.

Well football isn’t dead, but it might as well be. Baseball is the better sport, and I am just one of many people trying to make this claim. Football brings out the worst in us. It encourages violence, inflicts pain and causes life-threatening concussions. Baseball has its fair share of injuries, but they are a consequence, not a main feature of the sport. 

I like the idea of a leisurely game that invites us to take a good chunk of our day and do something other than work or go to school or stress about politics. 

There is something wonderful about the notion of sitting in a crowd of people watching a sport that hasn’t changed a whole lot since Babe Ruth popularized hitting home runs. If you get the chance, watch the Ken Burns documentary on baseball. It is interesting to see how this sport developed alongside the United States.

Sometimes I feel I like baseball more as a historical constant than as an actual sport. Generally, I am a happy leftist, encouraging society to change at a fairly rapid pace. When it comes to most rules of baseball, however, I am possibly among the most adamant conservatives. I am anti-metal bats and anti-pitch clocks. I don’t want a shorter game. I like sitting in front of my computer watching MLB.TV or sitting in a ballpark for three hours. It is relaxing for me. 

One standard I do wish the sport would change would be allowing people of all genders to play. As an opinion editor, I have also written two editorials on why baseball should gender-integrate. Despite all the feedback and backlash, I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why non-male people should be denied access to playing baseball — America’s pastime — after a certain age. 

Any fan of the sport will know that the biggest, fastest or strongest person doesn’t always translate into the best ballplayer. If that were the case, many famous players, like the average-sized Jimmy Rollins, wouldn’t be legendary. Even if you think only male players can play in the majors, then don’t hide behind restrictive policies keeping non-male kids from at least trying. Give everyone the chance and let the recruiters decide. 

No matter how you feel about changing the norms of baseball, I hope you’re excited for its return. If you have never done so before, I encourage you to follow a team from next week when pitchers report all the way through spring training, the all-star game and into the playoffs in October. 

It is a fun way to pass the next six months and have at least a small feeling of consistency in such a turbulent time. 


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