Baseball vs. Football: The battle for America’s pastime

In April, Bloomberg Politics Poll surveyed 1,008 Americans over the age of 18 and posed the question, “A national pastime is a sport considered to be a central part of the culture of a nation.  In the U.S. today, do you think that sport is baseball or football?”

A staggering 67 percent of the respondents deemed professional football as the current national pastime and 28 percent defended baseball as America’s sport, according to

“I definitely vote football as our nation’s pastime today,” Mikey Marquart, former NCAA Men’s Division III number-one ranked tennis player said.  “It’s fast-paced and action-packed, so everyone enjoys watching the game regardless if they know much about it.”

In Week 8 of the NFL regular season, the Denver Broncos hosted the Green Bay Packers on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”  And on that given Sunday, the final game of the 2015 World Series aired as the Kansas City Royals would defeat the New York Mets in Game 5, winning the World Series for the first time in 30 years.

Game 5 of the 2015 World Series attracted 17.2 million viewers, the largest viewership since 2003, according to  But the NFL matchup between the Broncos and the Packers in the regular season would dominate household televisions on Nov. 1 drawing 23 million viewers.   

As technology continues to rise, so does the popularity of professional football.  Football simultaneously grew with the rapid expansion of television for a reason. With high-definition cameras, countless angles and specialty channel packages, it almost seems as football was made for television.

Recently, Americans have been spoiled with the instant-gratification of football and the immediate excitement of the game.  Baseball, on the other hand, is a much slower-paced game that doesn’t receive as much “hype” in the media.

Regardless of the ratings today and in the future, baseball will always be the first professional sport organized in American culture.

“I just love baseball.  I love the history of baseball and all its traditions.  Baseball is purely a skill game and a thinking man’s game,” former New York Mets relief pitcher Robert Carson said in an email interview.  “In order to have a better appreciation for baseball, you have to understand the game and its extensive history.”

There really is no other sport like baseball.  Baseball is deeply rooted in American culture and history, and the best way to understand the game and its history is to sit in the stands and take part in all of the sport’s many traditions.

Eat some peanuts, grab a hot dog, then polish it off with an ice cold Budweiser.  Take part in the seventh-inning stretch and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” like the late Chicago Cubs’ announcer Harry Caray.              

Growing up in the 1990s, baseball was a big part of my childhood.  Collecting baseball cards and playing in the Little League World Series was the highlight of my early years in grade school.  My dad driving my brother and me to Atlanta to watch the Braves and Chipper Jones play became routine, followed by our obsession with some of the greatest baseball films ever made like “The Natural,” “The Sandlot” and “Rookie of the Year” to name a few.  My early memories of “talking ball” stand out more than any other.   

“I love both sports but I think baseball will always be our nation’s pastime,” California Lutheran University senior Jazmine Osbourne said.  “Really nothing can beat a good, old-fashioned baseball game.”

Football may win the battle over the viewership in America, but in the grand scheme of things, baseball wins the war as “America’s pastime.”

Tate Rutland
Staff Writer
Published November 18th, 2015