Baseball the cool kids at the party for now

September 4, 2012, 5:32 pm
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Its about mood and feel. Its always about mood and feel. In the Bay Area, it has always been about finding the coolest party, and right now, with all due respect to the opening of the NFL season, the coolest parties have baseball players running around on the dance floor.In one of those happy coincidences, the San Francisco Baseball Associates Limited Partnership and the Oakland Athletics Baseball Company are both neck-deep in pennant races for the first time in a decade, and even for outsiders whose allegiances arent already compromised by either other teams or chemical objections, they are as fun a diversion as there is in an area thick with them.And while this has been, is, and will always be a football-first area when all things are equal, all things right now are frankly not that equal.The 49ers are coming off their most rewarding season since 1981 rewarding because the best kind of championship is the surprise championship but its been a long time since they plied their trade in a real game, and excitement must be rebuilt slowly. The Raiders are so new that they may as well have moved to town from Jacksonville. The field is awfully crowded for Cal, Stanford and especially San Jose State, and has been for years. The Warriors are two months away, and the Sharks four, at the very least. The Earthquakes have the best record in MLS, but its MLS while the best European teams have begun their seasons so traction is a problem.In the meantime, there are the SFBALP and OABC. Their season has been compressed to one month, and even allowing for the more languid pace of baseball, nothing beats the adrenaline of daily results. The NFL is mostly buildup, but a pennant race is constant stimulation that the 21st century cannot help but embrace.You know, like every party that didnt involve a table and playing Cards Against Humanity with your sedentary and drunken friends.This may smack of a generation-past argument, but September baseball that matters is hard to beat. And to get it twice at the same time is the whole reason to have two teams close enough to argue about mythical territorial rights.Every game matters now in ways that 49ers-Cardinals could only hope to pretend to replicate. Every argument lasts only as long as the starting pitcher does, and every pitching move either exposes or extols the manager. No guess is not seconded, no move is too small to bitch about, and every inning comes with its own legal amphetamine supply.Counter that with one game, once a week. Two days, tops, of agonizing over the events of the game just done, three or four days of time-wasting (Hey, what do think would happen if Colin Kaepernick had Green Lanterns power ring?), then a day of discussion prep for the next game.This schedule shortens in November and December when the games become more important, but in September, football is mostly the opening act, when even the genuinely unwatchable teams havent been eliminated yet. Baseball in September is the headliner.And with any luck, we will go through September with four or five teams in each league in the race until the end. Front-running is dull, unimaginative, cheap and weasely. Daily uncertainty is better, and the chaos of multiple scenarios is best of all.So party down, kids. Football will always be there the NFL has seen to that. But for a month, baseball comes through us. Thats why two teams are better than one, thats why the As and Giants must coexist no matter what the Giants might want, and thats why every passing day makes us all cooler than the day before.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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