Beer and baseball

There’s a reason baseball isn’t very popular anymore (a couple reasons, actually). The game is too slow and methodical – it doesn’t play well on television as opposed to basketball and football.

There aren’t any stars to watch anymore, either. Alex Rodriguez, for as polarizing as he was, brought in fans. The same can’t be said about Mike Trout – he’s a generational talent but could not be more of an average Joe.

The game was exciting 15 to 20 years ago. Now, it’s not. Baseball is an old man’s game, which doesn’t appeal to a younger audience.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the old man’s game mixes my favorite game with my favorite drink – an ice-cold beer.

At first thought, beer and baseball don’t seem to pair well together at all. Playing baseball requires quick reflexes, intense and rapid motions that go against your body’s natural anatomic movements and keeps you on edge. Beer slows you down, numbs you to your surroundings and relaxes you.

That hasn’t stopped players from drinking, though. Josh Beckett notoriously drank beer in the clubhouse during games for the Red Sox during the 2012 season. Mark Buerhle casually entered Game One of the 2005 World Series a little buzzed, only to earn the save in the game (Granted, Buerhle was sipping on some Jack Daniels, but the sentiment remains the same ‒ alcohol and baseball are intertwined).

Beer has become so entrenched in baseball culture that adult slow-pitch softball leagues are colloquially referred to as “beer leagues,” or as I like to call them, “more fun leagues.”

Despite those anecdotes, the bond of beer and baseball isn’t meant for the players. No, beer is supposed to be enjoyed by the spectators, the red-blooded Americans who spend their hard-earned money to watch America’s pastime with family and friends.

The joy of cracking open a cold Budweiser on a hot July afternoon to the sound of a baseball popping a mitt is second to none. It’s so simple, yet so rewarding to watch stellar athletes like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper blast 400-foot bombs while drinking this beautiful, golden alcoholic concoction.

You know why Wrigleyville in Chicago and Ballpark Village in St. Louis work so well? Because they mix baseball and beer. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, just someone who understands America and knows how to have a good time.

Now you may think, “Is beer one of the reasons why baseball is dying? Is beer necessary to enjoy baseball, hence the low viewership from millennials and underage kids?” My answer to these questions is, “No.” You don’t need beer to watch baseball – just like you don’t need beer to watch any other sport.

But beer makes the game better. Drinking beer and watching baseball are both social activities, and it brings people together. What better way to get closer to baseball than drink a few Buds with a friend and watch a game? If you’re a father, what’s a better excuse to drink a beer than to take your kid to a baseball game and bond over America’s pastime?

Baseball may never reach the same popularity it once did, but as long as beer is around, the game will never truly die. So this Sunday, when the 2017 season kicks off and you watch the Mets and Royals play on Opening Night, crack open a cold one with friends and enjoy two of America’s greatest pastimes.