As much as I enjoy baseball, it has not been our "national pastime" for at least three decades.
Instead, football has become the national obsession for American sports fans, with billions of dollars exchanging hands each year in both professional and college venues.
I am excited that for the first time in an entire generation the Pirates have a chance to finish better than .500 in a relatively weak Central Division. In addition, local youth leagues and having the Curve and Blair County Ballpark in our region have helped to keep my sons more interested in baseball.
Still, I have little doubt that the most passionate sports conversations at area barbecues this weekend will focus on football.
When Harvard University built the first concrete and steel football stadium in 1903, I.M. Hollis, the faculty supervisor of this project, had no idea how profound that decision would be. Other universities followed suit, building massive stadiums and packing them with loyal alumni.
The passion for football was so profound in subsequent years that Southern Methodist University built its football stadium 13 years before constructing its library, and Oklahoma President George Lynn Cross, when grilled by state legislators as to why his school needed so much state funding quipped "we want to build a university of which the football team can be proud."
More recently, when asked whether Jim Tressel might lose his coaching job because of an unfolding scandal which had a predictable outcome, Ohio State's president Gordon Gee stupidly remarked, "I hope he does not fire me."
Whether Ohio State could be stripped of its national championship honors, earned under Tressel in 2002, is uncertain. But the recent NCAA decision to vacate USC's national crown in the wake of another scandal and numerous questions regarding Auburn's top player has me wondering if the last decade of collegiate football champions will mean anything several decades from now.
Still, in state after state, even with budget crises galore, the highest-paid state employee is often the local university football coach, while the SEC has inked an agreement that will deliver about $3 billion in television revenue to member schools over the next 15 years.
The stakes at the professional level are even higher, with billions pouring in each year from lucrative TV contracts. The ESPN contract for just one game per week through 2013 is a whopping $8.8 billion.
Taxpayers have also helped professional teams, typically giving them extremely sweet stadium deals that help owners make even money off of ticket sales, skyboxes, and naming rights.
In spite of all those revenues, the smartest minds in the game have struggled to figure out how to split up amounts that make the largest Powerball jackpots look like chump change.
As someone who has frequently rooted for the underdog, I am hoping that baseball gets a bit more respect this weekend.
Even though Saturday and Sunday football marathons and tailgating are all enjoyable activities, there is nothing like a backyard catch with the kids or a trip to the local ballpark on a warm summer day.
Trumpbour is a communications professor at Penn State Altoona and a frequent contributor to Voice of the Fan.