Some weeks ago Charlie asked a very good question. Why are you a pirates fan? I thought it was a brilliant way to get an insight into the fan base of the Pirates. It elicited I think both 'first word' responses as well as some really thought out explanations as to why folks were Pirates fans. Given that I am a big fan of deep thought
I figured a really good question to ask would be why are you a fan of baseball?
I myself have been a fan of baseball ever since I was born I think. I am pretty sure that when i was hatched I had a bat in one hand and a glove in the other. I played the game all the way up into high school, until knee problems began to show. I think that may be in part due to the fact that I played a metric ton of hockey (played every day in Connellsville PA, about an hour drive from my house :P), as well as a metric ton of golf. Perhaps I was born with a bat in one hand, a glove in the other, and a putter sticking out of an orifice. Only the docs and my parents know, and they don't talk about my birth much, it must have been a traumatic experience.
To me, baseball is the ultimate mix of one vs. one competition and team play. When a great hitter stands in against a great pitcher, it almost has a shoot-out feel to it like in the NHL. The strategy of the pitch selection, type, and location has a chess feel to it. What will he throw next and where? If that pitcher wins the battle via strike-out, he wins the duel. However, if that batter puts the ball in play than it turns into a team game where the defense must bail out the pitcher. I think those pitcher vs. hitter moments are what make the game for me. Not so much watching my favorite player (go get you some petey and fort!) rake, but watching the hitter vs. pitcher game. The suspense of the standoff between hitter vs. pitcher, the power of the homer, and the grace of well played infield defense. There are probably at least three games within the game of baseball, and to me; it is the only game like that. Sure there are games within the game in the NHL and NFL, but vary rarely do those games show themselves as often as in the game of baseball.
Cheers and I look forward to seeing some of the response's!