The Detroit Tigers are currently facing off against the Oakland Athletics in the decisive Game 5 of the American League Division Series, and I was reminded of something…I love baseball.
Originally, I had a “Baseball Is…” post in mind for RM Sports, and I was reminded of something else: many, many…many people dislike baseball. Because, after all, what is baseball? Baseball is BORING. Baseball is not TOUGH. Baseball is America’s pastime?
Well, just ask legendary comedian George Carlin (FYI – perhaps my favorite comedian) what baseball is all about. His ideas back in 1990 reflect the general thoughts of the sport for many across the globe.
A few years ago in Los Angeles, I was having an epic baseball discussion at work when my supervisor walked in with a smirk and said, “What are you talking about? Baseball (rolls eyes)? I’ve never liked baseball. What’s the point?”
Before I continue, I must point out that it was not uncommon for this person to walk into my office and talk about gardening.
Although I can certainly respect great gardening minds, and also those who don’t love baseball, it’s not difficult to find out who didn’t grow up with baseball. Most baseball fanatics didn’t find the sport on their own and think, “I have to play this game.I just gotta.” No, of course not. It’s family tradition. Baseball come from your parents, and if you didn’t have that experience, then it came from someone close that you looked up to. Baseball is a conversation you hear about as a youngster, and want to be a part of. Sure, you don’t know who Mickey Mantle is, but you want to find out.
For years, one may not even know the official rules of baseball until a part of an organized league. Until then, the experience was ripping open a pack of Topps, chewing the bubble gum and wondering if you had a Kirby Puckett. I am speaking as a child of the 80s, and the new generation obviously has a new experience. How about that, though? Do packs of baseball cards still come with a stick of bubbl gum? I am much closer to past generations than I thought.
My baseball experience had a six year life span before I even had an umpire to call me on out on strikes, or tell me to not throw at people’s heads. THAT is baseball. Psychology. Timing. Patience. No one is safe…not even those in the crowd. Of course, as I mentioned, these are lessons I learned later on when once I was involved in organized sports (and I played them all).
Baseball is…boring. Baseball is…tainted by steroids. Baseball is…not too strenuous on the body.
Let me tell you what else baseball is. Baseball is a 90-mile-per-hour fastball at your head or ball sack. Believe me, I know from the perspective of a hitter and pitcher.
Baseball is “Maybe I’ll put a fastball underneath this guy’s chin.”
Baseball is “Maybe I’ll put a fastball underneath this guy’s chin, but perhaps I’ll miss and only drill him on the arm.”
Baseball is knowing your position, and accepting what comes with it.
Baseball is finding the right nut cup.
Baseball is being willing to face a fastball.
Baseball is surrendering to the idea that the pitcher can throw wherever he pleases.
Baseball is surrendering to the idea that the batter can hit a line drive off the pitcher’s face.
Of course, baseball is ultimately about the love of the game, the camaraderie and the history that everybody brings to the ballpark.
The true art of baseball revolves around the constant failure, and having the mental stamina to deal with the psychological effects.