There's great danger in elevating sports into something that would suggest that it has mythic importance.
I can tell you firsthand, it has no such qualities.
But there are moments that it can help someone forget who they are and where they are on this earth. And certainly that has to be worth something. Nothing heroic or cut from the cloth of Homer's "Odyssey," but temporarily transforming nonetheless.
Some could argue that a great passion for sports and competition is more indicative of arrested development.
Well, so what. So is the 58-year-old woman who has a house full of dolls or the 78-year-old geezer who spends more time with his garage train set than he does with his grandchildren.
For me, baseball holds a fair amount of allure. Don't know why. I played the game as a kid and covered it a little as an adult. There's something about baseball that keeps my interest in a way that, say, the 27th game of the season for Gonzaga's basketball team does not.
The peripheral attractions of baseball, like the ones mentioned here, are the sorts of things that keep my attention. I mean, I'll constantly be amazed when someone like Derek Jeter backhands an overthrown ball to the plate to preserve the win in Game 3 of the 2001 American League Divisional Series. I watch baseball just in case I am privledged to see something superhuman like that again.
But few things in life are as much fun as rooting through your baseball card collection and finding you still have your Biff Pocaroba from 1981.