By Mark David Blum, Esq.
OK Folks, imagine it’s the 7th game of the World Series. Make it Dodgers Yankees and heck, make it at Yankee Stadium. The whole game has been a pitcher’s duel. Imagine too that only a few hits were scattered here and there, a few walks, and a few near misses, but at the end of 15 innings, the score still remained tied. The whole world would be watching America’s national pastime at its zenith. Then, to finish the hypothetical, imagine at the top of the 16th inning, a Dodger batter hits a home run which is not answered by the Yankees’ next three batters. The result of this fantastic pitching duel and Dodgers winning the series would be talked of in exalted terms for years to come.
We are Americans and we love our baseball. A game such as I described would have all of America riveted to their seats; staring into TVs with wide eyed hope and anticipation of something -- anything, to happen. Pounds of fingernails would be chewed up along with doritos and beer. There would be cheering and booing and yelling yourself hoarse at the home run. That game would be the toast of the town.
The game would also have been over four hours long; at a minimum. There would have been no action other than the pitching and the occasional throw to first base. We Americans would have been glued to our televisions as baseball players showed the myriad of ways to empty one’s nose as the evening wore on. Sportscasters and writers would have been all over it. Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, etc.
So why is it when the sport that the entire world loves, Soccer, plays its final championship game, (a game it takes four years to reach because of so much competition around the world), Americans whine endlessly about how boring and stupid it was.
Considering that the regular play – Soccer’s version of 9 innings – only lasts 90 true minutes compared with the 3 hours or so a regular baseball game lasts, I don’t understand the clarion of boredom. Had America sat through hours and hours of a pitcher’s duel with no action on the field, that would have been applauded wildly. Soccer, not so much. Even the Stanley Cup, which has the same type of outcomes as the World Cup, would have Americans cheering at a 1-0 game in overtime.
Soccer does not permit its players to get time outs. No resting. You go out, you stay out. Soccer itself takes no time outs so you play non stop until the clock stops. In fact, if play is stopped, time is added back onto the clock to make sure there is 90 minutes of play. Baseball – let’s not even go there as there is no clock in baseball.
Why do we hate soccer so much and why does America whine at what was a really damn good World Cup game? I could be rude and say ‘xenophobia’ – in that we didn’t think of it first and can barely compete at a world class level. It is a game of real athletes who work harder at their sport than our footballers, basketballers, or hockeyers. They run and run and run for 100 minutes; while getting kicked in the head, shins, and boy parts. There was more high def blood visibly spilt in the World Cup title game than you would ever see in a baseball game.
Why, America? Why? Why doest thou hatest Soccer with such a passion?
On a related matter: Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller were mocking the Baseball All Star game as being another boring meaningless game. Oh are they wrong. In fact, MLB’s All Star game is the only all star game of any sport that has any real meaning. The winner of the all star game is the league that hosts the World Series. That team will get to open and possibly close out the World Series on their home field. Basketball – not so much?
Show some love for soccer. It is a boring sport and I am not a fan. But to diss' the World Cup game that I saw for reasons that make no sense cannot go unchallenged.
I say to you as I think I heard somewhere, “I loved the World Cup and as soon as it was over, I hated soccer again.”