Baseball is the best sport in America. For me no other sport exemplifies Heart and Hustle as much as Baseball.
I like that it’s inclusive in nature. It’s the most “average” of the sports. Regular people can play baseball—and excel at it. You never hear, “He’s not big enough to play baseball.” OR “She’s not tall enough to play softball.”
Baseball or softball can be played by all—at any level and any age with relative success and/or enjoyment. (Although watching little kids try to bat the ball and strike out can break your heart!)
Of the pro sports, it’s the most egalitarian in nature. Because there are many components and many positions that require specialization, one player can’t dominate a team. (One can dominate the media but that’s not the sport.)
Sure, Barry Bonds with steroidal assistance can smack the beejeezus out of a ball. But that trait alone will not guarantee a team’s success. (Did it, Barry?)
Baseball is the sport where I see the most how sheer enthusiasm can infect a team and propel it to play better. I see more of the joy of playing a sport in baseball more than any other.
My Dad (the golfing fanatic) can’t understand why I love baseball. (Further proof that the nice Irish couple accidentally left me behind as a baby—as after ten children, they stopped counting how many they had in tow. Bummer for me.)
My Dad thinks baseball is BORING. This is an example of when ‘Father doesn’t know best.’ Oh Daddy Dear, you know not of which you speak.
Baseball is exciting even when NOTHING is happening on the field! The pitcher is thinking (probably way too much). The batter is squinting and squirming on the inside. The catcher is signing. The infielders are ready to jump. The outfielders are ready to run. The guy on deck is wondering what he is going to do. Other players are scratching and spitting. (Do they have to do that?)
Then a swing and a crack and the ball goes flying and a choreographed, stylized, athletic routine takes place. Like a ballet, baseball is beautiful to watch.
I love baseball in that there’s a team pulling together as opposed to one person vs. another person. In addition, in baseball the players don’t jumble up all together and fall down on each other. You can better keep an eye on all of them (without all that physical contact).
Baseball is complicated. The action is more varied than any other sport—like for instance basketball—which to me is too much of the same thing (running up and down the floor boards). Do you ever see the same play twice? The same hit? The same fielding?
To me a baseball game is like a game of bridge. You never get dealt the same hand twice.
Lastly, baseball produces the single hardest athletic feat in ALL OF SPORTS—hitting a baseball. A consistently good hitter—with a decent batting average—is a gifted creature of nature.
So today when my SF Giants go for the Division Title, the game will be a masterpiece of athletic endeavor. And the team with the most hustle and heart will win.
P.S. #1 –To SF Giants Fans attending today’s game: If you think our guys need a Fight Song to get them going, see my blog from yesterday. (Part 1 about my love of baseball.)
P.S. #2 – Part 3 will be about how I started my love affair with baseball as a little kid.