A Sport, A Hobby, A Lesson:
Reasoning for Baseball as My Preferred Sport
By: Michael A. Chase Jr.
Based on the title I could have the majority of this article aimlessly preach about how I see baseball as a tremendous sport that all should experience. Though I do not feel I will get my point across effectively in that manner. Rather than just throw a bunch of opinions and statistics out there, I rather story tell from my own experiences. I would prefer to provide first hand stories and provide my analysis of what I see from the sport today. Baseball provides not only entertainment, but also an opportunity to learn, along with just a quality environment for those to take in the sport. Baseball as will be depicted through the stories in this piece is a sport that covers all basis of game and life. A sport with plenty to offer to all sorts of consumers and participants.
Beginning with baseball from an entertainment standpoint it is certainly not a sport as fats paced or in constant motion like Football, Basketball, or even Hockey. Though the entertainment appeal it does provide while at a decreased speed is still something to witness. Whether it is watching a player hit a 400 plus foot home run, a pitcher strike out the side in an inning, or a great diving defensive stop by a fielder baseball bring amazing plays at every instant. It is a game where is seems at times you are waiting for long periods for something to occur but the payoff is amazing. Baseball is a sport that provides an enjoyable environment to its consumers as well. It is a sports where you can sit back and relax and take in the atmosphere while talking with those around you. Unlike other sports baseball is a sport where you can stop watching play for extended periods and not miss much in the way of action. It is a sport that provides its fans plenty of moments to “breathe”, and ultimately observe a very difficult sport to play. What makes baseball even more exciting is the pressure and importance of every pitch and play that takes place in a game. Every instance in a baseball game can swing the momentum from one side to another. From a pitcher getting a big strike call on a hitter with runners on base, a hitter managing contact on a tough pitch, or even a runner beating out a routine groundball. This in game pressure is no more prevalent than in the baseball postseason where the pressure significantly ramps for all involved. In baseball’s postseason runs come at a premium which is why fans and observers tend to be on pins and needles throughout the festivities. The pressure from pitch to pitch seems to double in the postseason from the regular season and this adds the excitement and suspense of the games.
As far as my experience I could talk about all the MLB postseason games I have watched recently that have had me on the edge of my seat. Though the greatest experience I can remember was the nervousness and suspense of going to my first career MLB playoff game. This occurred back in 2012 when I went to Game 5 of the NLDS between the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Washington Nationals. With me being a Nationals fan and this being their first playoff appearance in team history I was already nervous as it was. Then the game happened and my emotions were on a rollercoaster throughout. I experienced joy when the Nats jumped out to an early 5-0 lead on the Cardinals through 4 innings. Then had to control my nerves as starter Gio Gonzalez aloud several baserunners throughout his start and pitched out of trouble routinely. All the way to the disappointment of watching the Nationals blow the lead in the 9th inning with closer Drew Storen having a big meltdown. Overall this experience really opened my eyes to the beauty of the sport, and from here quickly became my favorite sport. The live experience that I had and have now had several times since this game, have helped grow my perspective and respect for the sport. While educating me on a game that I am now more knowledgeable in than ever before. It is an experience I have gotten to take my friends to see as well and they have grown to enjoy the games as well. A game they were and still are not fully familiar with but even they have had it grow on them as a live event to witness.
The other part to the allure of baseball is the opportunity it gives those who choose to play it to make a decent career out of it or just learn more about themselves as an athlete and person. In terms of making a career out of playing the sport, baseball is a sport that gives a chance for those of all sizes and ages to play. Baseball is a sport that of the 4 major sports provides the most longevity to a professional career. 5.6 years is the average length of a career of a MLB player. Compare that to an NFL player which is 3.3 years and NBA player which is 4.5 years and a career in baseball provides at least 1 to 2 more years of play for its athletes. Baseball is a game we have seen many athletes play into their 40s and some into their 50s. It is a game that compared to the other sports has far less contact and physical wear and tear which allows careers to extend fairly consistently past their prime. We have even seen players of all body types play the game and play it well. While certainly all players need to be in shape to play effectively everyone does not need to look like a Greek God to play the game at a high level. If you can learn the keys to success of the game then you do not need to run the fastest, be the strongest, or look the best to be the best.
Baseball is a game that also teaches you a lot and the payoff is terrific when the knowledge is put to use. I discovered this during my own experiences while playing baseball myself. The biggest learning experience I had came when I got my first hit as a player which came during my high school career. I played for Archbishop Carroll High School and played second base and outfield my 3 years playing. It was during a game when it was my second at-bat of the day after striking out my first at bat. The count got to 1 and 2 and before stepping back in for the 6 pitch of my at-bat remember looking at my coach at 3rd base. I remembered what we were being taught during recent practices in terms of hitting which was 2 strike adjustments. Thus as I stepped back in the box ad made my adjustments by choking up further on my bat, moving up in the batter’s box, and shortening my swing. Thus the payoff I got from these changes were my first career hit in High school. It was a great personal moment, but also put into perspective for me the importance of absorbing all the information during my baseball career.
Now even though I stopped playing baseball after High school it was still an important experience for a lot of reasons. My time playing this sport helped me learn the importance of hard work and cooperating with others. While aiding in my own self-discovery of my motivations and the type of effort it was going to take to be the best at whatever I choose to do going forward. Baseball like most sports is a sport which teaches discipline and work ethic. But maybe what it teaches even more than other sports is a focus on the mental side of the game. Baseball is a game that requires as much of a mental strain on its athletes as it does a physical strain. It can certainly be as some have said, “A thinking man’s game”, and strategy is just as big as just doing the essentials of a game. That is why baseball is a game that can teach a lot about concentration and focus which is key to a lot of jobs and everyday life things along with baseball. Because without these two characteristics one can not be successful at any job which is why they are life essentials.
Thus overall baseball continues to grow in popularity and I would always encourage people to play the game because of all the positives it provides. It is a sport that can teach kids and adults alike a lot about different things. It is a sport capable a creating stars of all ages and a sport that provides numerous opportunities for those who partake in it. In the end Baseball in a great game that covers all avenues of what makes sports and so much more.