opinions · riff

Sportsmanship

017_14aSure, it’s slow-moving and slowed down further as inninhs are dragged out in throws to first, but here’s why I like baseball: no fouls. Well at least mostly. The game depends on the skill of pitcher and hitter, batter and fielder, runner and catcher. It has a purity.

Fans would be hard pressed to recognize the NHL without its penalty box.

In the early aughts when my husband and I faithfully attended New York Liberty seasons, the lady basketballers would routinely lose all dignity in fouls. Their opponents could catch up to a lopsided score from the free-throw line.

We watched an encore Knicks-Hawks game on MSG last night. It was a historic game as the announcer informed us, in that it was only the 11th such contest that went into quadruple overtime. The last such event was 51 years ago. The game remained close until the Knicks gave the Hawks the gift of free throws. The Knicks had a lead, but still could not resist fouling their rivals, giving the Hawks the chance to get ahead. The Knicks committed foul upon foul in that last quarter. Apparently, they had committed many earlier in the game as well, since a number of their starters had fouled out long before we started watching.

It seems to me that fouls seldom serve a team well. Fouling out puts key players, who might do more by scoring than by being removed from play, on the bench.

In hockey, as I’ve mentioned, and football fouls are intrinsic to the sport. If not to the sportsman-like progress of the game. They rely on teams to bang into each other.

Feels like sportsmanship is replaced by brute force, and the crowds love it. I like baseball.

 

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