Top 5 Reasons Baseball Is The American Pastime

By Christy Flom on May 20, 2015

These days, the popularity of sports is often determined by television viewership. I’d make the case that football, basketball, and hockey garner the most viewers on TV.

Special events such as the Super Bowl and other championship games have insane viewership ratings, with each game topping the previous year’s numbers. From this standpoint, football could easily be named the sport that best describes America. With over half of the nation tuning in every winter, how can you not say that football is the sport of the U.S.?

For starters, this description still belongs to baseball: America’s pastime. Yes, I will be the first one to admit that baseball is the most boring sport ever to watch on a screen. You can’t see the ball, it is slow, and there is no contact.

BUT, that is why it is so very important to recognize baseball. Despite there not even being a competition anymore in viewership between football and baseball, there are still so many important reasons as to why baseball is and always will be the American pastime.

1. America flourished under the sport. It wouldn’t be the American pastime if it hadn’t been the sport that generations have continually grown up playing. From the industrial revolution to the Cold War and present day, baseball has survived countless economic endeavors and national hardships.

While other sports began popping up all over the nation, baseball remained a steady and comforting game through many times of change.

2. Baseball is the best sport to watch at the venue. I highlighted earlier how it is the worst sport to watch on TV. Baseball redeems itself by being the best sport to watch live with friends at the game. Not only is it a simple game and fairly easy to follow, but it is relaxing at times, too.

Games like basketball and hockey are go, go, go, whereas baseball is more like soccer where there are one or two defining moments of a game that really arouse the crowds.

Image by Rian Castillo (Image via flickr.com)

3. There are great traditions in baseball. From peanuts to the seventh inning stretch, the games have barely changed through the decades. With great songs dedicated to the legacy of the sport like, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the traditions of the game are important to fans that help keep them alive.

If there is not a stretch before the seventh inning or someone near me has not spilled a bag of peanuts at some point during the game, then I really cannot say I went to a baseball game. From bringing a glove to a game to catch that one fly ball or home run to little kids begging players for a high five or to get a ball tossed to them in the first row or behind the team dugouts, baseball games are full of immortal traditions.

4. Along with traditions, there is fantastic food. There is nothing better than having a hot hotdog and a cold beer or some peanuts at a game. Just like the songs and other traditions of baseball, when you know you are going to a baseball game, you know what type of food to expect; you go for the greasy food, peanuts and beer.

In other sports, there are seemingly endless options of foods available these days. With baseball, even if other food categories were available at games, people would not want to eat them at a game. At many college basketball arenas, chicken tender baskets are available and are highly popular amongst students.

However, at a baseball game, I cannot imagine watching the game and eating a whole basket of chicken tenders. Give me nachos, a hotdog, a pretzel or peanuts- and that is all that should be available.

Image by Ian Aberle. (Image via flickr.com)

5. Dedicated fans. There would not be baseball traditions and it would not be the American pastime if there were not dedicated fans. I have read several articles describing how baseball is a regional sport. This angle explains why baseball receives less national coverage on the TV in comparison to sports like football and basketball.

While baseball may never receive the national attention the Super Bowl receives, baseball fans never falter. It is people like Will Ferrell, playing every position during spring training games, and teams like the Yankees and the Giants that help keep baseball as the American pastime that it is today.

Baseball has had its ups and downs but will always be a prized sport in the hearts of Americans. Young boys aspire to be the next great players that fans so love to watch throughout the spring, summer and fall. Other sports may take over television but baseball will continue to be the epitome of our nation as America’s pastime.

I'm a communications major at the University of Michigan. I love sports, especially the Wolverines, and have always had a passion for writing

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