What is the MLB going to do to fix free agency? What will Mike Trout‘s career WAR be when it is all said and done? Is the designated hitter coming to the National League?
Albeit those all being good questions, I am here to show some gratitude for the simple delicacies in baseball that can go so unnoticed in a hustle and bustle world. The sport is in a tricky limbo when it comes to rule changes, free agency, etc. However, like I said, this is about savoring the elementary aspects of baseball. It is imperative to remember some of the first reasons we enjoyed the game. This article isn’t to point out ground-breaking news, but rather to take a minute to appreciate what has become commonplace.
For the purpose of this article, take all your stats, projections, and exit velocities and throw them out the window
at a high spin rate. Baseball is about more than just the numbers.
The bat? The glove? Both. A short burst of sound is one of the most satisfying things in baseball. Kids all over the world grow up throwing the ball with their dad, best friend, or just about anyone else who will throw the ball back to them. We all remember that sweet sweet sound of a ball perfectly landing in the glove pocket. Can you hear it now? It’s a noise that is unparalleled. As catchers and pitchers have recently reported, baseball fans have started salivating at that crack of the glove leather. How great is it, though, that even young kids can replicate this dramatic sound? A lot of beauties in sports events are seen by eye. However, the crisp pop of a bat on a ball or a ball in a mitt is heard by the ear, and this makes it a distinct thing of beauty.
Picture this: It’s a 70 degree evening at your favorite ballpark and you’re enjoying a hot dog and a game with some of your closest friends. Is that not the life? Baseball is the only sport to really be known for the food that is sold at the games. I mean, think, is football known for their pretzels? Is basketball known for their ice cream? No. Is baseball known for the ball park hot dogs? Absolutely. Baseball has revolutionized foods such as hot dogs, peanuts, and cracker jacks. It may seem silly, but there is just that intangible nostalgia that makes food at a ballpark special. The best hot dog you will have in your life will be at a ball park. Love or hate baseball, food is something most people can agree upon. Although not always healthy, something about a hot dog in the bleachers is unrivaled.
Grass and Dirt
Do you ever remember being told “Stop playing in the dirt, we’re here to play baseball!” as a kid? Who can blame us? The baseball field is novel place to play a sport. Baseball easily has the most distinguishable playing surface. The first feature that sets it apart is that it is not a rectangle. Most major sport events are played on a rectangular surface or a shape very similar to a rectangle. In fact, there may not be a sport played on a more unique surface. What shape would you even call a ballfield? Only the infield resembles a diamond. Besides the shape, a baseball field is also comprised of not one, but two materials: grass and dirt. Every other major American sport is played on one constant surface. The difference in surfaces not only helps distinguish positions, but also creates a truly artistic playing surface. One of the best feelings in baseball is dirtying a crisp, white uniform. Baseball legend Rickey Henderson captures this feeling in a famous quote: “If my uniform doesn’t get dirty, I haven’t done anything in the baseball game.” Grass stains and sand spots covering a uniform is distinctive to baseball. The ball diamond is not nearly appreciated for what it is. The shape is distinctive and the different surfaces combine to make a ball park incomparable.
Yes, I am biased. Yes, summer is far and away the best season. In all honesty, is there a better time of year for a sport to be played? The warm summer days are filled with baseball for the entirety of the season. The warmth and beautiful sunlight shining down on a ball field makes it that much more enjoyable to watch. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a cool, breezy Friday night to watch some football. However, as baseball fans, we have a luxury to watch in baseball in the warm temperatures that accompany it. Watching baseball without having to worry about weather (most of the time) is something even I take for granted. Have I mentioned sunsets yet? Evening games in the summer can be astounding to say the least. Day baseball is beautiful in its own way. However, bright stadium lights combined with the vibrant colors of a sunset overlaying a baseball field is like no other. It’s something that seem foolish, but baseball would not be what it is if it was played in any other season.
The Ball Itself
The baseball itself is the most simple thing about the game. Without a ball, there is no game. This isn’t just some “ball,” however. Sure, a lot about has changed about baseball. The constant? The ball. Say what you will, but this game has been around for quite some time and one of the only things that has remained the same is the ball itself. This 108-stitched sphere of baseball is glorious in its own way. Hitters try to demolish this thing and pitchers make this thing seem to defy physics. A baseball means something different for all of us. For some of us, it represents our first game of catch with our dad. For others, it represents their first hot dog in the stands. The list goes on. The baseball is rich with history. How can an object only 9 inches in circumference represent so much? That’s a question that most people cannot answer. This ball, be it shiny white or stained with dirt, has stood the test of time and represents an amazing game.
In a world where numbers and computers are the future, it is a piece of cake to find yourself looking at the statistics and numbers of baseball. The future is taking hold of an old-fashioned game and bringing it along for the ride. Not everything needs to be so complicated in baseball. However, don’t forget why you first fell in love with the game. Savor the intricacies of a truly special game.
What are some reasons you fell in love with baseball? Let me know! Follow me on Twitter: @__tylergreen__
Featured Image: Associated Press