I don't like baseball. There, I've said it. I think it's boring, the season lasts too damn long, and it monopolizes too much of the sports landscape during the summer months. But, I realize that is an unpopular opinion and reasonable people disagree, which is fine - whatever rocks your boat, of course. But it annoys me to no end when some pompous windbag tries to argue that baseball is the perfect metaphor for life or the United States or anything else. Which is why I was tickled by this comment to this post over at Concurring Opinions by "ex-baseballer":
The US has an unhealthy obsession with baseball, but few manifestations of it as unhealthy as when intellectuals try to wax eloquent about it. See, for example, the Justice Blackmun baseball masturbation opinion for the Supreme Court.Amen, brother.
Also, most of the advantages identified in the post aren't unique to baseball. They also describe chess and a bunch of other things. The uniqueness of baseball comes from the fact that it's low-intensity and boring and has more in common with golf or croquet than with basketball/football/hockey, yet people insist that it's a sport.
Also, I'm not sure what this business is about 'all sorts of abilities can find a place somewhere...' If your abilities don't include throwing and catching, you're pretty much out of luck. Baseball players nowadays are either big and strong like Barry Bonds, fast and agile like Ichiro, some combination of both, or they're pitchers. Every other 'sport' has a roughly equal number of preferred body types. Basketball needs Kobes as much as it needs Shaqs.
For whatever reason, baseball has become part of American culture in a way that no other sport is. Because of that, there will always be a group of people who think that it's some kind of transcendent embodiment of all that is right and good in the world. Few things trigger the gag reflex more quickly than when these people speak up about it.
Did I mention that the new Major League Soccer season kicks off on Saturday?