What makes baseball a beautiful game
Why baseball is a great sport after all
As explained above, it is no coincidence that Ted Williams' phrase, "The hardest thing in sport is to beat a baseball," has become a mantra. Where in basketball and football you can often go quite far through pure athleticism, technology is also part of baseball: the ability to hit a fastball up to 100 miles as well as a 75 mile curveball.
This perfect swing, the eye and the coordination have to be worked on incredibly laboriously over years, if not decades. It is no coincidence that in the NBA or NFL players regularly become top performers or even superstars immediately after the draft, while such careers in baseball are the absolute exception. Even the absolute super talents torment their way through the minor leagues for several years - if they make it at all.
At the same time, the MLB, given the technology, offers its viewers an unbelievable variety of player types: There are the top athletes with miracles on the outfield walls, the walking fridges, the wiry speedsters and those who could also be assumed to have a small beer belly. Incidentally, also with the pitchers: In which sport could a Bartolo Colon with almost 44 and this physique (!) Still be one of the top performers?
Who is the cat, who is the mouse?
The duel nature of the sport has already been mentioned above, and in combination with such types of players at batter and pitcher, this leads to a multitude of fascinating duels: Sometimes it is the 1.95 meter tall Fireballer who literally blow away a lightweight from Japan want. And sometimes it's the aging fox on the mound who somehow has to fool a homerun monster in the prime of his life.
There is also the mental component: it is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game that takes place on the field. Which litter is he expecting? Which corner? Does the pitcher get his opponent to swing outside the strike zone after a pitch? Conversely, he can even make it to base without a single swing. Depending on the score and the game situation, the tension multiplies in such a way that even the moments between the pitches are literally electrified.
Look at this scene from the last playoffs. Or this one from the year before. Does that look really boring?
Is there really so little going on in MLB? It is true that the number of runs per game has decreased somewhat since the turn of the millennium, but that the duration of the game has increased somewhat at the same time, for example due to the increasing number of relief pitchers. In a time comparison with an increasingly popular sport in Germany, baseball still does well. According to a study by the Wall Street Journal, there is about 18 minutes of action in an MLB game - but only 11 minutes in an NFL game (longer on average).
Why might it still not feel that way? Because in football there are 22 men waiting eagerly for the snap and then splashing apart, while in baseball only three players are involved most of the time (pitcher, batter, catcher)? Maybe also because in the NFL, due to the few games this season, the stadiums are almost always full to the brim and every game can decide the playoffs, while the upper tiers are not always packed with hoarse fans on a mild summer evening.
On the other hand, a game between the Nets and the Kings in February isn't exactly NBA advertising at its best, or Jets vs. Browns in the NFL. Of course, a primetime game of a hated rivalry like Yankees - Red Sox in the sold-out Yankee Stadium with two aces on the mound is more fun. But there are up to 15 games per day: A highlight is almost always there.
Defense acts, offense reacts?
Not enough offense? These are the same allegations that football once had to listen to in the USA: A game can end 0-0 after 90 minutes? Why is pitching excluded? A close game can also be exciting, as we know from other sports - but in baseball you have the additional component that the defense has to act and attack in the person of the pitcher. The defense has to give the offense the ball to be successful!
The focus on the pitcher can also be fascinating: How does he change his tactics depending on the hitter? Do other pitches suddenly come into play in the second or third round due to the lineup? And at the latest when the game moves in the direction of no-hitter or even perfect game, a tension develops that a defensive battle in basketball or football cannot offer at all.
Of course, an MLB game also offers idle phases. The game, like the season, is more of a marathon with intermediate sprints. There is ebb and flow, not just action, but also a lot of anticipation and reaction. One could even ask whether the regular breaks and inning changes make it a better fit for today, because our concentration spans are getting shorter and shorter.
No time game in the MLB
One plus point that the MLB definitely brings with it is the following: There is no time game. Slow down, let the clock run down? Just bring the lead over time? Impossible in baseball: the opposing team must be defeated. "You can't just run into the line a few times and run down the clock like that," said Orioles legend Earl Weaver. "You have to throw the ball over the damn plate and give your opponent a chance. That's why baseball is the best game ever."
That means at the same time: In baseball, any comeback, however absurd, is possible. Not always likely, but always possible and all the more crazy if it really is one of those evenings like April 9, when the Angels somehow turned a 3: 9 in the last inning. Soccer, basketball, football - at some point it becomes clear that there is simply not enough time. There is always enough time in MLB.
Enough talked. Finally
Ten reasons why baseball is great after all
- Because the sport has an incredibly rich history.
- Because that's why records really mean something in baseball. It feels like new records are being set every week in the NFL and NBA - it makes the headlines, but it can also be tiring. But if you really approach a baseball record, you first have to defeat over 100 years of history.
- Because defense is also played in the MLB All-Star Game.
- Stealing Home.
- Because even the spectators in the stadium can intervene in the game. Just ask Steve Bartman ...
- Because the players let their fists do the talking.
- Because no other sport can be statistically recorded as well as baseball. The MLB is a real nerd bonanza.
- Because no other sport has adopted such traditions. Wait, all stadiums are different sizes? Different rules in both leagues? Presidents running the first pitch? Long pants with a belt? Sometimes weird, but often awesome too.
- The catcher. Just watch where the catcher positions his glove before the pitch: The best pitchers in the world don't always throw that exact.
- Because baseball has the best sports films. And this scene is ten times better if you know all the rules.
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