Whenever I hear people say baseball is in decline, or it’s not hip with kids today, or any other naysaying about the game that will always be known as the national pastime, I think about this time of year. It’s summer, after all, and the possibilities seem endless.
Summer, as always, brings picnics, parties, trips to the beach and baseball games on the radio. Or maybe baseball games on TV, or baseball games streamed over the internet. But there will be baseball, without any competing sports to get in the way.
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The NHL is in hibernation now and so is the NBA. The NFL had its combine and its draft, and perhaps Super Bowl highlights from the 1970s could possibly scratch somebody’s pigskin itch. But for live games that actually count in the standings, baseball is the only game in town. The game and the summer season are made for each other, after all.
Football, basketball and hockey never get the chance to carry the American sporting load all by themselves. They always have their games overlapping each other in one way or another, as if to relieve some of the pressure from each other. But baseball has none of that. Between now and Labor Day weekend — when the NFL kicks off for real — there’s only us.
Perhaps some will try to get caught up in the game that the rest of the world knows as “football” this summer, but the all-American sport will be available when all that running around gets old. And believe me, it will.