Not long ago someone asked me why I liked baseball. This person is not a fan. In fact, they are not even from a country that plays baseball so they don’t fully understand the game.
All I could come up with on short notice was “everything”.
I really do love everything about this game – the sounds, the smells, the feeling of a cool breeze on a hot summer’s night – the list goes on and on.
Besides the smell of hot dogs and fresh cut grass, there is so much to love about the game.
Some people say it’s too slow and it takes forever to finish. But I say to them that baseball is a talking sport. The periods between plays gives you time to talk about the game – to talk about what has happened, what might happen, what has happened in past games in similar situations, and so much more. In my opinion, you can’t have enough baseball and being at the park for “free” baseball (extra innings) is one of life’s little pleasures.
I love the game within the game. This is one thing that I have always loved and one reason I think that I have always wanted to be a coach. The chess match that managers play with match ups is exciting. I even love watching the fielders move between batters to see how they play one hitter to pull and the next straight up or as a slap hitter. Even the slightest movement of the middle infielders to get into position for a double play are things that I love watching for.
Then you add in the ballet at the bases with runners and balls arriving at the same time. Some of the greatest enjoyment of a game is before the game watching the middle infielders practice turning two during BP. Watching their footwork around the bag is amazing and they do it with such ease. Having tried to do the same thing they are doing only helps me appreciate it just a little bit more knowing how difficult it is.
It has been said many times that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a round ball square with a round bat. When they do it and you hear the crack of a bat, it’s a great moment. Now add in that that ball is coming at you at speeds upwards of 100mph with movement and the feat of hitting a ball becomes even more impressive.
I love the non-verbal interactions that are going on at all times. It’s not just between catcher and pitcher or hitter and third base coach but its all over the field. Infielders are communicating with each other. Coaches are communicating with fielders and other coaches. It’s a whirlwind of signs going on at all times.
I think I could go on and on about the different things that I love about the game. Come to think of it, I can’t think of anything I don’t like about the game.
No matter who you root for, they don’t let you down. As Jimmy Fallon said in Fever Pitch:
“ They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you. ”
It doesn’t matter if it’s the Red Sox, Cubs, or Rangers. No matter who your team is, they are always there.
The measurements are perfect. How they came up with 90 feet was a stroke of genius. No matter where you go the game is the same, yet different. Each field has its own unique character unlike many other sports where the fields are always the exact same size. The uniqueness of places like Fenway Park or Wrigley leads to added greatness.
Then there are the rivalries, the tradition, the drama, the legends, the stories, the comparisons of old and new players, and so much more.
So tell me, what do you like baseball?