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.
6 thoughts on “Why I Like Baseball”
Looks like Cousin Craig has hit another one out of the park! I played more baseball/softball than Domer did. He played the requisite T-ball and such, but when he noticed all his friends wearing bruises from being hit by errant balls, he decided that game wasn’t for him. No matter, he replaced it with most of the others!
Still, I do think baseball is a slower game than, say, football or basketball. All that chewing and spitting! And have you ever noticed how superstitious baseball players are? Every pitcher has to touch the bill on his cap, or stamp a foot, or whatever before every throw. That’s probably what takes up so much time.
Thanks for reading. Baseball as a sport is definitely not for everyone. I also find that those who devote themselves as if it were a religion are maybe a bit overboard. The speed (or lack of speed), the superstitions, the pacing for me are like the old Ketchup commercial. Anticipation – waiting for all of that nothing to burst into action in the form of a pitch, a hit, or a really good scratch (anything worth doing is worth doing well). Thanks for your comment and I will now tip my lucky cap to you!
We played a lot of pick up games when I was a kid. Bat, ball, gloves, empty lot. It was all kid generated. No water bottles back in those days. And then I found the golf course and never looked back.
My son played Little League but not for long. My company has sponsored Little League teams for years. Love those pizza parties I never remember any of the ugliness you hear about today. We all got along. The lessons of the sport were more important than individual stars. Mostly the lessons you wrote about but on a smaller scale. Team sports were good for both my daughter and son.
Beach Volleyball sounds like a good spectator sport.
Thanks for reading! I love the memory of the “pick-up games” you mentioned. “Kid generated” is a great term.
I agree there are a lot of good lessons in sports. For that matter, any activity working in a group, like band for example, teaches people to work together and to do their part for the good of the whole.
Like you, I see some of the ugliness you mentioned, but in the end we all have to learn to deal with jerks too, I guess.
Good sports points. I’ll be the one to point out that Mom’s are just as likely to throw pitches as make apple pies. You needed me to point that out, right? I have been told that I throw like a girl. But I was just protecting my manicure. Priorities (right Kb?). Not much of a fan. I was really glad when the kids decided to drop baseball and play soccer. But I think all sports teach kids important lessons. Some good, and some not so good.
I agree 100%. We had an all-American pitcher on our softball team who cried when she ended her senior year but then said she was never happier than the day she realized she could keep her nails long.
Soccer is a sport I knew nothing about until about 15 years ago, Now I know a little, just enough to know that I don’t know enough – does that make sense? Thanks for reading!
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