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Baseball Classic, Baseball Classical

by Mark Baker

Last week I compared Major League Baseball to long distance running, the NFL to a sprint, the NHL to a relay, and the NBA to hurdles.

As I said, MLB is definitely a long ol’ season and, compared to the seasons of America’s other ‘big four’ sports, the NFL is lighting quick. Don’t ask me why I thought NHL was a relay or NBA was hurdles, honestly I couldn’t tell you. It kind of sounds right, but I have no real basis for that statement. Maybe the relay baton is the hockey stick or puck, and the jumping over hurdles is the jumping of the basketball player.

So this week I thought it might be fun to compare each of these sports with musical styles instead. If I take the list in reverse this time I’ll begin with the NBA. To quote the ever-entertaining Steve Carell in his role as Michael Scott in The Office: An American Workplace…

Football is like rock and roll, it’s just bam-bam-boo… And basketball is like jazz, you know? You’re kind of… Dupee-doo, dupee-do. It’s all downbeat, it’s in the pocket, it’s like… Dupee-do, dupee-do, dapee-dah…

Dupee-doo dapee-dah indeed Mr.Carell. Basketball is all about the rhythm and flow, just like jazz. And quite rightly American Football is bam-bam-boo, all about getting the job done as loud and proud as possible – just like rock ‘n’ roll. Except perhaps when all the action is in the courtroom and there’s a serious threat of there not even being an NFL season this year. In that case it might be the music styling of John Cage’s 4’33” (Just type 4’33 John Cage in to your favoured internet video browser to find out exactly what I mean.)


Ice Hockey is a difficult one. Is it some obscure industrial German techno? Is it the gangsta mentality of hip-hop with rival rappers dissing each other and drive-by shootings? With the recent Vancouver Riots after the Stanley Cup loss to the Bruins, Ice Hockey seems violent both on and off the ice.

Now we come to baseball. Which musical genre is the Major League? I would have to suggest classical music.  Classical music has been around for a while, it knows what it stands for and it’s not offended if the young whipper-snappers have to listen to a decade or two of bad pop and RnB before they come to appreciate it. Classical music, like baseball, is often long and identified by a series of shorter segments. It has allegro and crescendo, building up and relaxing, and can even carry on a few bars/innings after you think it’s about time it was all over.

Baseball is the only sport which ascribes the word classic to several events in the season calendar. Baseball teams work together like the instruments of an orchestra, with the manager as the conductor and the bats as the batons. Make that scoreboard dance!

If you have any alternative comparisons for the ‘big four’ or think that baseball is actually more like… Japanese post-punk with a twist of Jamaican dancehall, let us know below!

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