by Clayton Shearman
Baseball – a game played with a bat and ball between two teams of nine players each on a large field having four bases that mark the course a runner must take to score.
Is that really all it is?
Baseball is an amazing “game”. David sunflower seeds all over the dugout. Paper cups and bubble gum wrappers on the ground. The smell of pine tar and leather gloves. Beech-Nut packages and empty cans of Copenhagen everywhere. You can hear four different languages and only understand three words. Complicated handshakes, pre-game rituals and wrists getting taped up. Those are some of the physical parts of the game outside of the white chalk.
Inside of the lines, there are many unwritten rules. Etiquette, procedures and situations all factor into every minute of the game as well. There are designed play just like football, but no playbook or helmet mics. It is all stored in the good ol’ peanut. The plays are set for certain situations and to answer player tendencies. Many things go into the great game of Baseball, many.
Mentally, the game is extremely sophisticated. There are more situations and variables to the game than any other sport.
For instance, In the eyes of a casual fan a lead-off hitter just that. What most people don’t know is that a hitter has certain strengths and certain weaknesses in certain situations against certain pitchers. The pitcher toe-ing the rubber doesn’t just see another opponent. He sees the guys body language, he sees the scouting report going through his mind, he visualizes the last time they faced off and he sees an opportunity.
When a player gets on base, he isn’t spectating. He is checking where the outfielders are and is applying the hitters tendencies to where the ball may go and where the gaps may be. He is getting the stopwatch time of the pitcher from his first base coach. He is remembering the catcher’s pop-time and is calculating those to predict whether he could steal successfully.
The game of Baseball is extremely diverse. Different players from different countries speaking different languages. All of them only have one language in common, of course that dialect is Baseball. You see younger players learning from older players for a simple reason, out of respect. The veterans remember being in the same exact position when they were young players. They see themselves in those that admire and follow them.
There is an immense amount of things that go into the game after every pitch, out, hit, catch inning and game. It is simply unrealistic to try an explain the things I know about the game and is utterly impossible to know everything about it. I know enough to know that there are thousands of people who have forgotten more about the game than I will ever know.
It is said to just be a “game”, but it is more than just that to many people. It is a lifestyle, a connection, an infection and a religion to some. Anger, devotion, misery, satisfaction, pain, joy,fulfilment, brotherhood, intensity and love are words that describe Baseball the best.
So the next time you turn on the T.V. or head to the ballpark to watch your favorite team, imagine every single seemingly tiny ounce of dedication it takes to make just three hours of a “game” such an electrifying and beautiful thing.