Football or Baseball Nation?

The United States of America was once a baseball nation.
Today it is a football nation.
It is in our national interest to become baseball again.
Here is why?

Football tries to win every game, often regardless of cost.
Baseball knows this is not only an impossibility but also foolish, and therefore accepts losing as a cost of the game.
The baseball metaphor more resembles a healthy & manageable life.

In baseball the best team usually wins around 100 games, which means they’ve also lost around 62.
Even in the best years of living, successful people have losing days when they must deal with falling short of expectations.
These (generally) successful people go home to their families, and don’t forget their true wealth is in their happiness, with those they love.
It is similar in baseball where the emphasis is on: staying positive in the face of daily adversity, consistently putting forth good effort, and learning to accept losing– because some days you just can’t win.
This approach avoids extended losing streaks, and its realization is the difference between winning and losing, over a long season.
Life, like baseball, is a marathon.

Good Wood

In football, the best teams are urged to try for 16-0, plus the Super Bowl.
Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins (17-0) ever achieved a perfect season, making them a statistical outlier.
Few experts even list them as the greatest single-season team ever, as compared to the Steel Curtain Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bill Walsh-era SF 49ers, or the 1985 Chicago Bears.

The fact that no team has matched Miami’s 1972 perfection doesn’t keep teams from trying.   Every year, the media hypes fans into expecting another statistical miracle.
The problem is: Undefeated is an unrealistic expectation in sports and a dangerous expectation for reality.  This becomes a societal problem when it becomes predominant ruling-class thought, imitated by the most backward layers of the working class.
It is unhealthy to not accept losing.
Only insecure losers believe they can completely prevent losing.

Bill Belichick is a certainly a great football coach, but does that make him happy?
I wonder this, because I never see him laugh or smile.
He’s often put forward as a role model to others.

The NFL & College Football seasons unfold in a weekly series of violent spasms, with six days of recuperation before the next battle.
The NFL season is a meat-grinder by any fair description.
The average NFL career length is 3.3 years, as compared to 5.6 in MLB.

The mentality of too many football fans is often one of intolerance towards others (all opponents), with an uncompromising win-at-all-costs approach.
There are too many murders & rapists in the NFL, simply because they help win Super Bowls.
There is too much PED abuse at all levels of football, which only follows the pioneering example of the NFL.
There is no serious comprehensive concussion prevention (or treatment) program at any level of the sport.
Any attempts to question the NFL on these topics, leads to defensive double-speak & fierce lobbying resistance.

Of course, these problems also exist in baseball, but they are much less fundamental & pervasive than they are in American football.
To the extent they have penetrated baseball can be seen as a general follow-the-leader shift (with football leading) in popular sports thinking.  Generally, the term ‘sports thinking’ is an oxymoron.
MLB accepted football’s methods such as steroids in the 1990’s & beyond, because it improved player performance (at least in the short-term) and also because many owners agreed that by making the game more like football, it would be more popular.
It worked in 1998 with Sammy Sosa & Mark McGwire chasing (and obliterating) Roger Maris’ season HR record.
In 2001, when Barry Bonds obliterated it again, baseball fans were no longer excited.
The ugly truth, which had finally become apparent to most, could not be ignored. It seemed impossible for most to cheer.

Unfortunately. much of this ugliness goes directly to the heart of what football is.
It is often too violent, too destructive, and too degraded a spectacle– to be watched by anyone who thinks with compassion for others.
When players are lying on the field–concussed, TV audiences are promptly cut to a commercial.
Announcers often only comment on this phenomenon in passing, as their jobs are threatened by the NFL (through its Network broadcast partners), if they raise serious medical player-safety issues on the air.
Football announcers are too often ex-jocks, simply cheerleading for their game.
Their cliched claim to be bringing fans the “inside experience” rings hollow, as their function (besides their celebrity) is to keep fans away from the game’s dirty secrets.
It is the Player’s code: For the good of the game, it is best to deceive the fans about how players really make themselves ready to perform on Gameday.
It’s all about winning the ratings.

The best aspect of the NFL’s concussion crisis is that sports fans are now more aware of the true cost of playing football.
Too many NFL players retire into a life of chronic pain, depression, Alzheimer/dementia, and even suicide.
It is too terrible a trend to ignore, especially when it happens to some of its greatest stars.
Playing professional football is one of the most dangerous & unhealthy careers a man can choose, yet most fans think it is an honor to play in the NFL.
There is a huge disconnect from the wanna-be’s who obsessively follow the game, and the actual players who view the NFL as a short-term, high-risk/high-reward job.
Most NFL players don’t talk about the privilege of playing anymore, as that old-school mentality went out with billion dollar TV contracts, $10-millon signing bonuses, and the medical science on post-NFL life.

Baseball has become more difficult for its core fans to watch, because it has been turned into football, in many ways.
PEDs, Wild Cards, expanded play-offs, garrulous announcers, exploding graphics, replay umpiring, etc… all take their toll on the roots of our national pastime.
Baseball is a game that is deceptively simple in its elegance, and lends itself to contemplation during its periods of inaction.
Its natural rhythm & pace, allows time for actual thought.
Football attempts to fill every second of its broadcasts with hype & pizazz.
There are only 11.5 minutes of actual game action in a typical NFL contest.

When baseball tries to imitate football, in an attempt to close the ratings gap, it loses its identity.
When, We the People, let ourselves be herded into group-think by violent & uncritical mindsets that serves ruling interests, we lose our identity.
These are fascist tendencies, which must be recognized & resisted.