First, let me be upfront about something. I dislike football. Fact is, I absolutely detest it. I have no tolerance for the college variety, which I consider akin to athletic slavery. I can deal with professional football, but would rather not. I am a baseball fan.
There are three kinds of people. First there are those who could care less about sports and don’t know a hockey puck from a golf club. Then there are the sports fanatics who follow everything, regardless of what it is. They just love sports. And, there are the single sport fans. They know the difference between a hockey puck and a golf club, can tell you how Olympic gymnastics and figure skating is scored, but have given their heart to just one specific sport. I am among the latter. My heart belongs to baseball.
I can only remember watching the Super Bowl one time, and will also confess I’ve been known to refer to it as the Stupid Bowl or even the Toilet Bowl. Because of my intense love for baseball and intense dislike of football, I’ve always considered the hype and hoopla surrounding Super Bowl weekend to be absolutely ridiculous. I will also admit I have no earthly idea why people who rarely watch sports have a viewing party. So, over the years, I’ve come up with a few ways a baseball fan can survive the weekend, sanity intact.
The late MLB Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti once wrote that baseball breaks your heart. “It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone…” The Super Bowl fanaticism breaks the heart of a true lover of the game of baseball. Why can’t the World Series get this much attention? Why are baseball fans treated like second class citizens? Who died and made football god?
And so the days leading up to and all the excitement of the Super Bowl are like a knife stabbing at the very soul of a true baseball fan. We are only a few short days away from the beginning of spring training, but during those long, dark days of winter it seems like it is forever. The first survival technique for a baseball fan is to wax philosophically. The only other major sporting event separating you and baseball is the Daytona 500. The minute you hear “Gentlemen, start your engines!” the rest of the winter is like rounding third and heading for home.