Watching the NFL versus the MLB
Imagine placing two flat screen plasma TV’s side by side in your living room smack dab in front of your couch. You’ve got beer, snacks a-plenty and fresh batteries in your clicker.
One TV has an NFL game on and the other has a Major League Baseball game and they both start at the same time.
Besides this being many sports fans’ idea of hog heaven and even better than clicking back and forth between games with only one TV, it’s fun to watch the differences between these two pro sports. Watching the NFL on TV is a weekly ritual; baseball is on every night of the week, but watching the two combined is almost as rewarding as joining a Cowboy cheerleader snuggle-fest.
And that’s exactly what I did recently (not the snuggle-fest, but the two TV’s thing). Here’s what happened:
The football game started with a massive kick to the opposing team, and a line of 250-pound plus men with murder in their eyes started charging after the poor slob who caught the ball. After a few seconds he was crushed by his pursuers, becoming the bottom man in a very scary adult male pig-pile. MLB players tend to be a little mellower and less physical, but all pro players in any sport need to be strong. Football players take steroids, baseball players get caught.
Meanwhile, the MLB game started off a little less exciting. My heart rate and pulse began to slow down as I watched the catcher and pitcher play catch as the batter just stood there spitting and adjusting his crotch. I got quickly bored and turned back to the NFL game.
In a matter of a three minute span two men had been injured, with one having his ankle relocated to his armpit. A touchdown was scored, the ball changed hands twice, and a whole lot of tackling, smashing, crunching and finger-breaking happened.
Football is more of an immediate gratification, ADD-friendly game to watch.
I glanced back at the MLB game for a couple of minutes. Two strikeouts and four fly outs came and went and we were already in the second inning, with little action to show for it. A baseball game is more of a wise-old-man kind of sport, where patience and number-crunching are paramount. It reveres serenity.
Football reveres mayhem. Watching football gets me angry and all charged up. Watching baseball makes me sleepy. In fact, I usually like to watch the first two or three innings, fall asleep, and then wake up to catch the last few innings. Watching football players hit each other full force and light each other up is exciting, and dozing is out of the question. Watching one grown man with ball in glove chase another grown man to tag him in a pickle is kind of funny.
As 10,000 commercials played on the football TV, I had a few minutes to catch up on my MLB game. Finally, in the bottom of the third, a man hit the ball and dropped it in the right field gap for a single. All the baseball players, including the guy running up to first base, seemed quite pleasant. Why not be? They were playing in a nice park, on a nice warm and sunny day and no one had even broken a sweat yet. The batter reached first base and started chatting with the opposing team’s first baseman. They started smiling and having a great time with each other. My lip-reading skills are not what they used to be but I think I saw one say to the other, “Hi Johnny! How’s the wife doing? It’s been a while since we saw her. We’ve got to get together sometime soon.”
Growing restless, I turned back to the NFL game just in time to see one man standing over a writhing and groaning man on the turf. I think I saw his lips yelling, “Hey Bruno, while we were having breakfast together this morning, your wife told me to tackle you into next Tuesday, did I do a good job?”
In the very next play a running back was nailed in a bone-splitting tackle. Indeed, his bone did split, and then protruded right out of his bloody skin causing a wave of nausea to spread over the crowd.
Fascinated but horrified, I quickly turned to the baseball game and witnessed a wild pitch hit the batter on the finger. The batter yelped and had to sit the rest of the game out, his pinky was smarting.
To replace the bone-sticking-out-of-his-leg guy in the NFL game, a bulky player with flowing dreadlocks sticking out of his helmet started lumbering onto the field. He had a huge cast on his arm that looked like a big club. With the hand totally encased, forming a big bulbous weapon, he shook it as his opponents in defiance while possibly struggling to stick one particular finger up, and then reluctantly joined the huddle.
It was nearing the halftime and so many timeouts had been called that they seemed to have run out of commercials to play. So the cameras started scanning the crowd. It was a lot colder where this game was being held, and I could see people’s breath. I also saw a guy in shorts and no shirt who had painted his skin from head to toe in his NFL team’s colors. His head was shaved and also painted, and he was wearing a big pig’s nose on his face.
As I briefly scanned the crowd on the other TV, I saw lots of people in button down, short sleeve shirts, baseball caps and gloves on, waiting expectantly for that ever-elusive foul ball.
The first half started to wind down in the NFL game, and I actively awaited gratuitous shots of hot cheerleaders. I was rewarded with lots of silly pompom waving and cleavage. I then happily turned back to the MLB game but only saw three heavy-set women shoving sausage dogs and peanuts in their mouths.
At halftime I got a chance to go to the bathroom and grab another cold beer and more snacks. There is never a big break in baseball, and every time I go to the bathroom while watching baseball I always miss the big play, which of course happened this time too.
My MLB game continued to plod along when I got back, inducing the unique ball-strike-out hypnotic state that only baseball can cause. I was about to doze off when I was jarred out of my trance by the flashy touchdown dance I saw on my other TV. The guy who just scored was moonwalking across the uprights while flapping his arms like wings. He then proceeded to do a magnificent swan dive which turned into a double summersault with a twist and finally landed perfectly on the field.
I then quickly caught the replay of the big baseball play I had just missed. Someone hit a grand slam, rounded the bases and was greeted by a big, warm, bouncing-in-unison group hug.
After a while, both games ended and I had experienced a full range of emotions. Both games are great to watch and if you can get past the roller coaster ride of stimulation, watching football and baseball simultaneously is a blast. I decided to keep both plasma TV’s in front of the couch permanently
Finally, no football vs. baseball article could be complete without mentioning one of the masters of comedy and this subject, George Carlin. Here’s a quote from Carlin’s famous monologue that inspired this article:
“And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:
In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line. In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! – I hope I’ll be safe at home! “