Baseball. It’s all about playing catch and throwing strikes. Baseball is revered by fans and trashed as slow and stupid by non-fans. I know you’re wondering where Campo stands on this topic…so, without further delay…Batter Up.
In these musings, I am writing about baseball and softball. The games are not the same, but I like the same things about both games. So, when I talk about baseball, I am also talking about softball.
Everyone plays. Big, small, or tall, it does not matter. Babe Ruth, one of the greatest hitters of all time was fat. Being big has advantages, such as increased range in the field and more power in the swing. However, there are also disadvantages to being big, such as a bigger strike zone and having to bend farther to get balls off the ground.
Every team has the opportunity to win. Money matters, but teams with the most money don’t win every game or every world series. Ted Williams, the best hitter of all-time, hit just over 40% of time in his best season. Most players hit around 27.5% of the time. In a game, the players might get three hits or none, even if they are great hitters. The best team in the MLB this year wins 71% of the time (Dodgers, 79–32, .712 win rate). The worst team in the MLB wins 37% of the time (Phillies, 40–69, .367 win rate). The worst team has won 40 times, which I hope proves my point, but if it doesn’t, let’s check a league without so many teams.
The pro softball league has five teams, with an international team thrown in for games. Of the five competitive teams, the Pride, wins 81% of their games (34–8, .810 win rate). The worst team, the Texas Charge, wins 47% of their games (21–24, .467 win rate). Again, the worst team wins almost half the games they play.
So why am I boring you with these numbers? To prove a point. Any team can win on any given day. So there.
Baseball builds character. The best players will make mistakes and lose games. Anybody can learn to succeed, but failures measure you as a person. Baseball teaches its players that it is deeds, not words, that matter. It also teaches its players to look up and get up, but never give up.
Baseball grows relationships. During the long baseball season, fans have opportunities to get to know the players. They know which players hit better when the game is on the line and how a player will react to an error. Fans develop personal relationships with players they only know through the game. Baseball fans are loyal to their teams whether they win or lose. They care; they really care. For example, some fans waited over 90 years for the Chicago Cubs World Series win in 2016.
Baseball is for all of us, but it is not more important than any of us. Team members must work together on the field to succeed. However, there are also individual moments in the game, such as those between a pitcher and a hitter.
Most sports fields have grass (or a grass substitute) and clay. Can you think of any other sport where the playing surface changes? I hear you golfers, but I would argue that the best golfers only play in the grass. Baseball games are played inside and outside and in all types of weather. True, rain and lightning brings players off the field, but rain delays teach fans patience and to appreciate the sunshine when it comes out again.
Baseball has insider, unspoken rules you learn through experience. For example, if a pitcher has retired 26 batters in a row, you DO NOT mention it. In fact, if a pitcher has not given up a hit in a game, you should NEVER say the words “no hitter.” How do you know this, you might ask, because I was once the idiot who said, “oh look, this pitcher has a no hitter in the 7th inning,” just before she gave up a hit. I felt the stares and the hate, and I learned from them.
There are other rules you won’t find in the rule book. For example, you should never pose at the plate after hitting a home run. If you do, you might find yourself getting thrown at instead of thrown to the next time you are up to bat. You should also always run out hits. Often, the opposing team will call you out if you fail to make a reasonable attempt to get to first base. You don’t complain about balls and strikes. You don’t quit until the last out. You look your opponent in the eye and shake their hands, win or lose. All catchers are weird. Only the initiated know the rules.
I could wax and wane passionately about most sports, but baseball is special, isn’t it? Dad and son tossing a ball back and forth. The women folk inside making apple pie. Yum! It’s about stats, stretching and peanuts. It’s about who’s on first!
My dear and wonderful cousin suggested this topic to me—finally, a topic I liked—and I hope she likes it because I took a lot of time to ponder this subject. Time that is in short supply since I am in the middle of both Football and Soccer pre-season training video sessions.
Sometimes, I wonder if my Odd cousin appreciates me enough. I know that I am not paid enough, and I bet she will edit out the part of this post about the beach volleyball season—I do my best not to objectify women during this sport—but if you ask in the comments, I’ll share!
Odd Loves Company,
I appreciate you, I really appreciate you. And because Odd isn’t hiring right now, I want to keep you employed! Volleyball stories and such can be tossed around in the comments tho!! Love, Cole’s Mom.