Long Live the Game

Too slow. Too boring. Too long.

Call it what you want, Baseball has heard it. Once the greatest game in all of America, Baseball has fallen behind in the ever changing world of pop culture and entertainment in the last 20 years.

Now the world has focused its attention on more exciting and violent sports like Hockey and Football, or fallen in love with the Mega-stars of the NBA. The NFL in particular has become the most beloved sport in America. A multi-Billion dollar industry that has grabbed the hearts of millions of Americans every Sunday. 365 days a year those fans are entrenched with the good and bad of the National Football League. The good being the competitiveness of each game and its overwhelming popularity. The bad being the criminal side, where since the 2013 Super Bowl, 27 players have been arrested for multiple crimes including murder and DUI. Sadly we are all guilty of following each and every move of these millionaires as if their lives have any real effect on our own. Simplicity and rhythm don’t have as much of an impact on sports these days. Instead we fall for the violence, glamour and bright lights as it has a higher appeal. These are the reasons why Baseball is called the most boring sport nowadays.

Before I begin, I would like to say that I follow the NBA (obviously) more than any other sport and keep up with the NFL and College Football just as much as any other fan of sports. I play Football and have loved it every since I began in 4th grade. But before you start bashing Baseball, do your homework and realize what argument you are about to get into.

First, I’m not going to ignore the fact that Baseball players are just as every bit overpaid as athletes of the NBA and NFL. But that isn’t my argument. My argument is about the game itself.

More and more athletes are parting ways with Baseball because it’s too slow and not as action packed as say Football and Basketball. I’ll admit, having played all three in my life, it is true that Baseball is the slowest. But another argument against Baseball is that it doesn’t show off an athletes maximum athleticism as a 75 yard touchdown pass or a dunk does. You know why? Because Baseball isn’t hard enough. When something along those lines are said, every Baseball player will lose their cool.

Most of these criticisms come from former Baseball players themselves. Where at a very young age they gave up the game for something more violent and intense. Understandable, Baseball isn’t for everybody and that’s for a reason. It is only for a select few of athletes that specialize in such specific traits that are only given naturally. You can coach someone to run the right technique and help improve their speed. You can coach someone to catch a ball and to shoot one into a basket as well. But in Baseball, half of your talent is god given. You can’t coach someone to anticipate a ball moving at 80 mph right at your head to drop 12 inches and hit it with a bat no wider than four fingers, for a base hit. No matter how hard and how long you lift, you can’t coach someone to throw 90 mph and up so effortlessly and carelessly. You can go to a specialized hitting coach for 3 hours everyday, but even then you can’t coach a player to combine his lower and upper half together at one point to create the greatest amount of force on a single object, repeatedly. Things like this, is why Baseball is tougher than you think.

I play Football and I know how physically exhausting it gets, but I don’t need intense focus on running my fastest or hitting someone as hard as I can.  Michael Jordan, who many call the greatest physical athlete to ever live, struggled with Baseball. You could run the fastest and jump the highest, but that only gets you so far in this game. This game requires so much patience it drives players mad  and requires you to think about every little detail in each situation before a pitch is thrown. In Football and Basketball, if you have the strongest, fastest and most athletic team, you will win every game. Not the case in this game. Not only do you have to outplay the other team, but you have to out think them too. Because every time a batter steps to the plate against a pitcher, it’s a mind game that can’t be replicated anywhere else than on a diamond. Because one pitch could go at your head and the next right on the outside corner for a strike and now you have to regather yourself and hit the ball. Which in most cases you won’t.

You might have heard the term, “Baseball is life” in which many take that as Baseball being a game that you play all the time. Not so fast. Breakdown the phrase, Baseball is life, that’s because Baseball is the one game that is most like life. In life you’re going to fail more than you succeed. But when you succeed in life, it wipes away the failures. In Baseball, Failing 7 out of 10 times puts in you in the Hall of Fame , striking out one time may be bad, but getting a base hit the next time makes up for your previous failure. In life you’re on your own but still have to work with people. In Baseball it’s no different. You have to be as independent as you are dependent on your teammates.

I realized today that you could take a group of talented Baseball players that have never played a single pitch with each other and put them on a team and right away that team would be good. Because if each man knows how to play the game just as much as the other, then they can play as if they’ve played with one another for a decade. Take a Football team for an example and take out their QB, now the offense is dysfunctional. The little things in Baseball can’t be replicated any where else in sports. An old coach of mine once told me that, “Baseball is the greatest game ever to be played because it tests your physical abilities, your mental toughness, your heart and your soul.” Its rhythm is so smooth and so calm. The ball hitting the mitt, or the bat hitting the ball. Even with all the specifications that game brings with it, it’s the simplest game ever created. You hit the ball, you catch the ball and you field the ball. And yet for some reason, the worlds greatest athletes can’t do it. Those athletes don’t have the patience or mental toughness to play the game, they can’t think and act at once.

Too slow? Why are you in a rush in the first place? After all, you are playing the greatest game ever created. It brought Blacks and Whites closer together. It brought our country together during 9/11 and inspires any young kid, big or small, to be as great as Babe Ruth or as electric as Willie Mays. Baseball has no limitations or boundaries, time does not dictate when the game will end, the players do and forever will. So next time you want to say Baseball is no work or not hard, put on a helmet, grab a bat and step up to the plate and hit that curve ball that was originally gunning for your head, right back up the middle 3 out of 10 times for a base hit.

Sounds easy right?

-Goat

Go ahead, test me...

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