Monday, August 2, 2010

Why the NBA is better than the MLB



Since the latest basketball season ended, Kobe raised that trophy above his head, and I cried myself to sleep, I've been forced to concentrate on the only (real) professional sport that's currently in action, Major League Baseball. It has been OK. Some young, exciting players have broken out of their shells, my fantasy team is doing well, and like twenty dudes have thrown no-hitters. But seriously, in comparison to the NBA, the MLB kind of sucks. So in honor of the mediocrity of Major League Baseball, here are five reasons why the NBA is better than the MLB.

Reason #1: The Salary Cap

Although it seems like the same teams are the most successful every year, the cap really does just add so much needed parity to the league. At least when a new season is starting I can grab about six or seven teams that I think have a legitimate shot at winning it all. In the MLB, teams can just buy their way to victory as long as they have the money to do it. There is no reason why I should be able to name the entire Yankee batting order and not know one player on the Pittsburgh Pirates. At least in the NBA you can't just add the best two free agents on the market to your team the off season after you win the title. Who's going to win the NBA Finals this upcoming season? The Lakers? The Celtics? The Heat? The Magic? The Thunder? It could be any one of them. Now, who's going to win the World Series. I'll tell you right now. ***SPOILER ALERT*** It's the Yankees.

Reason #2: Superstar Appeal

The NBA may have a lot of trouble makers, loud-mouths, locker room cancers, pot heads, Kardashian daters, psychopaths, and narcissists, but at least they're entertaining. We watch, we enjoy, we follow the off the court stuff, and it's fun! We have favorite players! Baseball players are just boring. That's why when someone is a little different than the others like the shorter Dustin Pedroia and the younger Stephen Strasburg, baseball fans get all giddy about them. Everyone else is just a baseball playing drone. Albert Pujols could be the greatest player to ever play baseball, but who cares? People are more interested in what could happen surrounding LeBron James than they are with what is happening with Albert Pujols. Do you know why? Because LeBron James, and many others in the NBA, are interesting.

Reason #3: Faster Pace and Higher Scores

This one may be just me, but I have a huge issue with getting bored if there is no score on the board. I call this the soccer factor. I know everyone but me loves the World Cup, but isn't it a little frustrating when you watch a game (or "match") for three hours and then the game ends in a 0-0 tie? I can't stand it. The NBA is great because you can go through so many emotional highs and lows while watching a game because good and bad things are happening to your preferred team constantly and there can be countless lead changes in any particular game. Show me the action! This is a huge problem for me watching baseball. I'm watching the game, the pitcher gets the ball, he stares at the plate, calls off a couple of pitches, agrees with the catcher on one, stares some more, goes into his wind up... WOW! Finally! A pitch, something is actually happening! Nope, just a ball. Let's do it all over again... a thousand more times until the game ends 2-0. And the pitcher didn't even check on the runner in that previous imaginary scenario. Here's the right slogan for the NBA: The NBA, where things happen.

Reason #4: Cooler Trades, Cooler Off season

When guys get traded in the NBA, you actually know who the guys getting traded are, and it's not always making the better team involved even better. In the MLB, which just had it's trading deadline (although you can still make some trades after the trading deadline...), every trade is a bad team sending its one good player to an actual contender for a bunch of unnamed prospects and something to be named later. In the NBA it could go either way, and in some cases a trade can even make both sides better, and I actually have head for the people involved. This makes the NBA off season so much more exciting. Not to mention the infinitely more exciting draft. When a player gets drafted in the MLB, you probably aren't going to see them for five years if you ever do at all. In the NBA, these guys getting drafted are, in most cases, going to be playing an actual role on the team the next season. Instant satisfaction. That's what I'm looking for.

Reason #5: Teamwork

People tell me all the time that basketball isn't a team sport, and I tell them quite the contrary. Winning in the NBA isn't just about having all of the best players in the league and throwing them on one team (Uh oh. I'm starting to unintentionally make an argument against Miami Heat success). It's about finding a good mix, guys who can work together correctly towards a common goal. I swear, I could be an MLB GM today and be just as successful as anyone else. A team that looks great on paper is almost always a great team. In the NBA, everything you do you have to do as a team. Some will say that many teams in the NBA are only focused on one player and that player hogs the ball and basically is responsible for whether the team wins or loses that night. That may be true, but those aren't the teams that win. The great teams work as a team. To be successful, each player that steps on the floor must work with his colleagues in order for the whole team to achieve any type of success. In the MLB it seems that teamwork only really comes into play in the field, and it's even minimal there.

Maybe I'm on my own here, but baseball is starting to bore the crap out of me. So much so that I wrote this rant tonight instead of sitting down and watching a game. And I could go on: The rule where every team has to have an all star... stupid. A better player on a better team (Youkilis, Dunn, Weaver, Rios) gets left off so that the A's can send out Trevor Cahill? C'mon. The fact that only like two teams actually make the playoffs... so stupid. A .500 team can win a division while a team that is twenty games better than them misses the playoffs. C'mon. Look, if you love the MLB, more power to you, I have no problem with that. But personally, I need the NBA to start back up soon before I go insane. Or at least the NFL.



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