Editor’s corner: Why the game of baseball is so special

JOEY SEMEL, Editor-in-Chief:

People often tell me that baseball is boring. They’re wrong. And it makes me mad.

Until recently, I couldn’t figure out why it made me so angry.

Now it’s clear. 

The clarity came from my dad – the man who made me love baseball in the first place – in a text.

“There’s baseball,” he wrote. “And there’s everything else.” 

He sent me that text on a night when something beautiful happened. Just after the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, his teammates threw a combined no-hitter. The kicker? They were all wearing Skaggs’ number 45 to honor their fallen brother. 

It was a touching, poignant moment. The players were crying. The announcers were emotional. And you’re damned right — I was teary just like millions of others watching at home. 

But what that moment, that text, cleared up for me is why baseball is so special. It really is different than any other sport. 

There’s no clock in baseball. You have to play all 9 innings. You have to play all 27 outs. I love football, don’t get me wrong, But In that sport, you get the lead, run the clock out, and take a knee. There’s no taking a knee in baseball.

Think about the big moments we remember from football games. The helmet catch. The immaculate reception. When did they happen? During the playoffs or the Super Bowl, when the whole world was watching.  

Think about all of the moments throughout baseball’s storied history. Yes, we remember the clutch playoff performances, but we also remember others as well. 

We remember Babe Ruth’s called shot. Hank Aaron’s record-breaking blast. Mike Piazza’s home run in the Mets’ first home game after 9/11. Derek Jeter hitting a walk off in his final home game. Lou Gehrig’s speech. Mantle’s broken ankle. The race for 61. The Angels throwing a no-hitter, wearing the number of their fallen teammate. We remember the perfect games. The no-hitters. The cycles. 

It’s difficult to explain why, but these storybook moments don’t just happen in other sports. Those other sports need the big moment to be magnified. 

But what makes these moments even more special is that we don’t just remember them, we remember where we were and who we were with when they happened. We remember going to games with our families, our fathers, and having nothing but the beautiful game in front of us to worry about.

I can tell you exactly where I was for Jeter’s walk off hit in his last home game. I was sitting in my living room with my parents, the two people who cultivated my love for this sport, watching a guy who had 20 years of magical moments play in his last game in the Yankees’ iconic pinstripes. 

I’ve seen my dad cry three times in my life. This moment was one of them. 

The game brings people together. We sit there and we watch. We turn on our TV’s. We follow the statistics and the standings over the course of six months and 27 outs in 162 games.

As Jeter knocked one more hit through the right side of the infield it captured so much of what makes the game special for me and millions of others around the country.

It’s about moments. It’s about family and friends and the ties that help bind us. There’s something forever about it all.

After all, there’s baseball. And there’s everything else.

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