Home Local Sports ‘MATTer of Opinion’ SPORTS COLUMN: Why baseball is the best sport

‘MATTer of Opinion’ SPORTS COLUMN: Why baseball is the best sport

One hundred and sixty-two games. Six months. A romantic connection unlike any other. Baseball demands the most, yet gives back the most.

Dale Murphy.

All I remember as a very young kid was the outfielder who was part of the ’80s Atlanta teams manning right field, donning those awful powder blue uniforms with Braves written across the chest with a tomahawk underneath. The beginning of my love for baseball began watching Murphy, and to this day, he’s still my favorite player.

Baseball is the best sport. My favorite. You wanna talk about a romantic connection? My mother used to tell my girlfriends, “Don’t make him choose between you and baseball. Because you’ll lose.”

But getting back to the sport, I need it like coffee needs a cup. Like an omelet needs a fork.

Once I started watching when I was a child, I got hooked very quickly (with some help from my Dad.) Runs batted in. Home runs. Complete games. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Blauser, Justice, Ronnie Gant, and the list could stretch forever. All of it. Sports can be like a drug, an addictive device that brings pleasure, heartbreak and endless intrigue.

The Major League Baseball season is 162 games long and feels like 362 by the end of September. A dedicated fan or columnist needs 15 days on the disabled list by that time due to exhaustion of the eyes, a sensory overload that won’t be apologized for tomorrow.

It’s a sport that needs explanation, devotion and a good street to pace up and down on after a hard loss. It slows down just enough for you to get on the train. A good baseball game cooks low and slow, like ribs in your smoker out back. The intricate details of a baseball game take years to digest and even longer to appreciate.

It’s not just about scoring runs. It’s preventing runs, devising new ways to score and prevent and repeating those practices at a faster rate than the other guys.

A bunch of grown men playing a child’s game will come off as idealistic to some, but it’s a romantic investment. You’ll laugh, cry, shout, scream, smile and gasp inside of one game. Braves fans, remember all those World Series we went to only to walk away with just one championship? You take the good with the bad.

Here’s the thing: moments like that, whether as a kid or an adult, will NEVER go away. They will live on like dreams being replayed on a carousel, ready at your command.

I know that sounds sappy, but remember, it’s a romantic sport. Women and men have gotten more mileage out of baseball than most of their relationships, and the sport has kept their relationships with their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters over decades of time. 

When in doubt, turn on the game and get lost.

When baseball is on, the nagging presence of unpaid bills dies down. The noisy neighbor is removed from your brain for three hours. The lawn still needs to be finished mowing, but you can save it for later, or do it when the game reaches the safe confines of the seventh inning with a 7-1 lead intact. 

Adulting can wait when baseball is on.

All I needed as a kid were the announcers on TBS to tell me what was happening. You hang on every word.

For radio, the best part is hearing the roar of the crowd as a long ball is being launched. Pull over if necessary because operating heavy machinery while listening to baseball can be hazardous to your health.


This season, after the cutting the cable cord, I’ll try to watch games through various apps or catch highlights on ESPN or YouTube. Doesn’t really matter to me who calls the games anymore. I can see it, hear it, breath it; just live baseball.

I’m rambling a bit here, but I’m not sorry. Baseball brings it out of me. While I write about the love and hate of all things sports, it’s baseball that brings my blood pressure down. (Most times.)

Don’t ask me to explain because I couldn’t do it to a doctor.

Bad losses haunt me. Big wins lift my day up. I can scream in my own home at this or any team and curse their mistakes. No matter what, I am moved by the sport. At its best, baseball is like a heart-wrenching three-hour movie. Sometimes, you’ll get an Oscar winner, other times a Razzie.

I can’t tell exactly what the 2019 Braves will do. They added a former MVP third baseman in Josh Donaldson, a former fan favorite in Brian McCann and added them to a squad that includes perennial All-Star Freddie Freeman and future superstar Ronald Acuna. 

So many questions and six months to figure the answers out. No other sport asks you to commit like this. Baseball demands the best of you without always offering a happy ending. More than likely, your team won’t make it.

Predictions are hard, but I think the Braves have another 90-win team. I’d bet on the playoffs, even in a stacked NL East, but I wouldn’t wager a mortgage on it. Whether it’s more or less, and why, is not something I want to investigate right now. Starting this past Thursday, every team was 0-0. Even. Perfect records. It’s spring, where the weather is innocent. It’s safe to feel relaxed right now. There will be a time when things get hot and heavy.

For now, let’s celebrate the return of the best sport, and I’ll think about Dale Murphy. The unlikely outfielder who started this addiction.

Thanks, Dale. Play ball.


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