Since the conclusion of the 2022 Minnesota Twins season, a troublesome idea has been bouncing around in my noggin. I’ve been following the Twins & Vikings—considerably less interest in other professional teams/players—since the mid-1990s. A few times each year, I get asked whether the Twins or Minnesota Vikings are my favorite squad and I reliably answer in the baseball affirmative. That has changed over the last 3-4 months.
Before you lash me to the stake and light the fire, a quick defense: baseball will always have a hold on my heart. It was my first love sports-wise and contains a history and intricacy that is unmatched. Truth be told, its leisurely pace more closely suits my personality than the frenetic NFL. But when the “favorite sport” question is inevitably asked over this holiday season, my answer now skews football’s direction.
One more caveat: I completely realize that this is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Baseball’s game-a-day pace cannot directly compete with the frenzy of the NFL’s Sunday blitz (pardon the pun). I’m also very aware that a Twins collapse followed by an enormously exciting—at least so far—Vikings campaign plays at least some role in my flip-flop.
But even beyond all that, there are 3 concrete reasons I currently give football the edge...
Reason #1: Parity
- The NFL’s salary cap can be manipulated a bit, to be sure, but eventually the piper must be paid (see: LA Rams & New Orleans Saints). That doesn’t happen in MLB—and allows the
Giants to ridiculously outbid the Twins for talents like Carlos CorreaMets to ridiculously outbid the Twins for talents like Carlos Correa. As such, fortunes can change dramatically in the NFL from year to year and not so much in MLB (i.e. it takes awhile—if ever—for the cream to settle and detritus to rise).
Reason #2: Excitement
- Baseball used to be filled with exciting plays—triples, stolen bases, bunts-for-hits, and defensive gems. But analytics and shifting have largely removed such splash plays. Great for nuts-and-bolts winning—not so much for the fan experience. Granted, an uptick in the game’s most exciting play—the home run—would seem to help, but not when it is offset by a huge increase in walks and strikeouts. In the NFL, play-to-play excitement is rarely a concern other than bad weather or late season non-contender matchups.
Reason #3: Style
- I’ve previously used a UFC analogy to illustrate this point. Whereas UFC fighters once utilized different styles, they eventually homogenized and all sort of look similar now. The same thing has happened in MLB, with all organizations scouring the same numbers and technology. While this is starting to happen in the NFL, there remains more uniqueness from team to team.
To be clear: I still love baseball. I am not disgusted or “through with it” in any way. I marvel at its batter-vs-pitcher chess match, ballpark experience, rich history, and ability to be the greatest conversation piece of all time. But at this very moment it takes a close second to my Vikings/NFL experience, and that is interesting to me.
What is your favorite professional sport? One would assume baseball comes out on top in a Twins blogosphere, but the NFL is currently the Grand Poobah overall, so...
Favorite Pro Sport
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