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Baseball in America

Updated on February 27, 2019
James A Watkins profile image

James Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, historian, and author of three non-fiction books. James enjoys people, music, film, and reading

PNC PARK—HOME OF THE PITTSBURG PIRATES
PNC PARK—HOME OF THE PITTSBURG PIRATES

I Love Baseball

I love the game of Baseball. I have spent countless hours watching my Chicago Cubbies. But I don't want to talk about them this time. I want to write briefly about the game itself—why I love it. And take you on a tour of some beautiful Baseball fields; show you some still photos of the action; and share Baseball quotes I get a chuckle out of.

THE ART OF PITCHING
THE ART OF PITCHING

The Pitcher

The pitcher is the focal point of the game.  He works in the middle of the diamond with four infielders and three outfielders behind him; and his catcher in front of him.  These defenders are playing a game within a game. 

THE BEST CATCH I EVER SAW:  REED JOHNSON
THE BEST CATCH I EVER SAW: REED JOHNSON

The Outfield

The outfielders are fairly alone out there.  They patrol their piece of turf, and do not interact with each other much.  They need to be able to gauge the projection of a fly ball or line drive; get to it quickly; and throw the ball long distances with velocity and accuracy. 

THE BALLET
THE BALLET

The Infield

The infielders, by contrast, must exhibit extraordinary team work and they are very much in conversation with each other—and sometimes they use words.  They depend on cat-like reflexes, as a hard hit ball may reach them in one second.  

HOME PLATE
HOME PLATE

The Battery

Pitchers and catchers form a special bond that sometimes approaches mental telepathy. They have a game plan of how to dispatch each of the nine hitters in the opposing team's lineup for that day. They have prepared by studying film and scouting reports to find the special weakness each batter has, that they hope to exploit.

Generally, they want the ball to be hit, just not hit sharply. They have an advantage there, as the hardest thing to do in sports is take a round bat and hit a round ball—squarely. The very best hitters fail at it 70% of the time.

ALBERT PUJOLS
ALBERT PUJOLS

Hitting is an art form

A batter has only 2/10 of a second to decide whether to swing or not. Past that, it is too late. Therefore, hitting a baseball is all about timing and it follows that pitching is all about throwing off the timing of the batter, by constantly changing speeds, and the precise location that each pitch is thrown. It is a chess match followed with ballet by the defenders when the ball is put into play.

The top pitchers can throw the ball 100 mph. So fast, that during a game, when the umpire called a strike, a batter said, "It sounded outside to me, ump."

HOME OF THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: AT&T PARK
HOME OF THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: AT&T PARK

Life is like Baseball

Baseball is a lot like life. Since it is a rare team sport that has no time clock—there is no telling when the game will end; though it has an average life span. Theoretically, a game could go on forever, as the foul lines do. The most precious thing is baseball is outs. You can't get them back once they are gone.

The season starts in the spring, when the world springs to life; and when all teams at least feign great expectations. It ends in the fall, when life starts to fade to winter, and the dreams of all but a few have come to naught.

CAMDEN YARDS: HOME OF THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES
CAMDEN YARDS: HOME OF THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES

The Rhythm of Life

The rhythm of the game is a lot like most lives, too.  There is no constant action.  There is waiting, providing time for thinking and conversation.  But when the action comes, it is intense.  Spurts of crucibles, often unexpected, even though it has all happened before to other players, somewhere at some time in the past. 

HOME OF THE CLEVELAND INDIANS: JACOBS FIELD
HOME OF THE CLEVELAND INDIANS: JACOBS FIELD

Baseball Quotes

Here are some famous baseball quotes:

"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal." George Will

"Baseball's best teams lose about sixty-five times a season. It is not a game you can play with your teeth clenched." George Will

"I don't want to play golf. When I hit a ball, I want someone else to go chase it." Rogers Hornsby

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby

"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base." Dave Barry

"When we played softball, I'd steal second base, feel guilty and go back." Woody Allen

"Baseball wrong - man with four balls cannot walk." Confucius

FENWAY PARK: HOME OF THE BOSTON RED SOX
FENWAY PARK: HOME OF THE BOSTON RED SOX
GREAT CATCH
GREAT CATCH
THE INSTANT THE BAT HITS THE BALL
THE INSTANT THE BAT HITS THE BALL

More Baseball Quotes

"Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Wes Westrum

"Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple." Barry Switzer

"I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I am playing it." Carl Yastrzemski.

"The pitcher has to find out if the hitter is timid. And if the hitter is timid, he has to remind the hitter he's timid." Don Drysdale

"When you're in a slump, it's almost as if you look out at the field and it's one big glove." Vance Law

"Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first." Frederick B. Wilcox

"Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead." Jackie Robinson

SAFE AT HOME!
SAFE AT HOME!

Final Thoughts

"Why does everybody stand up and sing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' when they're already there?" Larry Anderson

"That's baseball, and it's my game. Y' know, you take your worries to the game, and you leave 'em there. You yell like crazy for your guys. It's good for your lungs, gives you a lift, and nobody calls the cops. Pretty girls, lots of 'em." Humphrey Bogart

"What is both surprising and delightful is that spectators are allowed, and even expected, to join in the vocal part of the game.... There is no reason why the field should not try to put the batsman off his stroke at the critical moment by neatly timed disparagements of his wife's fidelity and his mother's respectability." George Bernard Shaw

“The other day they asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing a long time ago. All through the sixties I tested everything.” Bill Lee

“By the time you know what to do, you’re too old to do it.” Ted Williams

“If I knew I’d live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” Mickey Mantle

"It actually giggles at you as it goes by." Rick Monday, talking about the knuckleball

Comments

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    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      docbruin— You are quite welcome. Thank you for the kind compliments. I look forward to reading some of your writings. Welcome to the HubPages Community!

    • docbruin profile image

      docbruin 

      8 years ago from USA

      Great hub and great quotes James! Thanks for sharing!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Truckstop Sally— Ha! You're funny. "Slow enough for me to follow." I love it. Listening while napping. :D

      Thank you for reading one of my favorite pieces of my work. I enjoyed reading your comments.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      8 years ago

      I too love baseball. At the beginning it was because it was the only sport slow enough for me to follow and understand. Now, it reminds me both of summer and simpler times. Nothing better than to listen to a game on the radio while napping.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      amit— Thank you for expressing your point of view. It IS boring to the uninitiated. I don't know a lot about Cricket. But it takes enormous skills to play baseball. Just ask Michael Jordan. When he was the greatest basketball player in the world he thought he could just go out and play major league baseball. He hit under .200. :D

    • profile image

      amit 

      9 years ago

      BASEBALL is a boring game,we call it the game of the fat ass.there is no atheleticism and skills involved.just another american style wase of time.CRICKET ROCKS

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      gusripper— I visiting Greece once, just Athens mainly, and enjoyed it very much.  I would like to come again if I can.  Great country and interesting. 

    • gusripper profile image

      gusripper 

      10 years ago

      I play some good bets in baseball ,but in GREECE we cannot watch from tv any games,so i will advise you next time

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Capt and The Kid— Thanks.  I agree with you.  Being a fan for 45 years there is little that escapes me at the ballpark but I hear those unfamiliar—especially basketball fans or maybe football fans—say, "It's too slow and boring!"  I don't agree.  I love baseball.  Especially when the Cubs win!  Thanks for your fine addition to the thread.  That's a great comment.

    • Capt and The Kid profile image

      Capt and The Kid 

      10 years ago

      Good stuff. Funny thing tho. When I watch baseball I see constant action even when the ball is not in play. Its happening with and within each player, in the stands collectively and individually, in the air by sound and smell, and in the drama/comedy that moves the game.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Dr Nancy Kenyon— I love it, too. No place I'd rather be than at Wrigley Field, Chicago. Thanks!

    • Dr Nancy Kenyon profile image

      Nancy Kenyon 

      10 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I love to watch baseball. It is great on TV but in person, it is altogether different and much better. Nice report. Thanks.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      MsOpportunity— HA! Love the play on the DH. Good show! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      MsOpportunity 

      10 years ago

      Life IS like baseball... Some choose the the National League and have to learn what to do when the balls come at you. Some choose the American League and have NO clue what to do with the bat...

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Iphigenia— Thank you very much. At the time when the championship series was named, baseball was only played in the United States. I don't think it was foreseen that it would become an international game, as it is now. By the time this did occur, the name "World Series" had been in use for decades. Baseball is very much a game of traditions—there's a topic for a Hub that can include your thoughtful question!

    • profile image

      Iphigenia 

      10 years ago

      Love this hub - if ever/the next time I'm in the States I want to go to a baseball game they look so exciting. But please can you write a hub explaining why baseball (however great a game it is) has a championship called "The WORLD Series"

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      ethel smith— At one time I was into most all sports but there is no time for that now. So, I only am a fan of baseball. It suits me best. Thanks for your comment.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I am not a sports person, either UK ones or American. Interesting to read though.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      tony0724— I, too, have read lots of his columns; being a Floridian and all. He is witty! Beyond funny. :D

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      lefseriver— You are too funny!  The big inning.  Indeed. 

      A lot of folks from foreign countries think the last words to our National Anthem are "Play Ball!"

      Thanks for checking in and your complimentary remark.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 

      10 years ago from san diego calif

      Yeah I like Dave Barry too James  . I always read his column , and he has never failed to make me laugh .

    • lefseriver profile image

      David Walli 

      10 years ago from Northern Minnesota

      Great hub, great photos. and I am sure you already know where baseball is first mentioned in the Bible.... Genesis 1 vs1. In the Big Inning. :)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Laughing Mom— I have been a Cubs fan for 45 years.  I have learned forbearance and longsuffering.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      tony0724— Well . . . you can certainly love Adrian Gonzalez and Jake Peavey! :D

      Dave Barry is a funny guy.  And that Carlin routine has hardly left my mind since the first time I heard.  I thought, "He gets it!"  And it's funny!  Thanks for visiting, Tony. 

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 

      10 years ago

      Kinda hard to love baseball cuz of the Padres. That's funny, Tony.

      I used to be a HUGE Mets fan, but now I just love to watch period.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 

      10 years ago from san diego calif

      James I always loved that George Carlin routine . I have the Padres here ,so It Is kinda hard to love baseball . But at least the ballpark Is fun . And that Dave Barry line Is a classic !

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Kushal Poddar— It is a metamorphosed version of cricket, yes?

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Kushal Poddar— It is a metamorphisized version of cricket, yes?

    • Kushal Poddar profile image

      Kushal Poddar 

      10 years ago from Kolkata,India

      Now I am begining to understand.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Lisa HW— Thank you very much for the compliment.  I love Little League.  Played in it as well in Babe Ruth.  I haven't been to Fenway but I intend to one of these days.  I've never been to Boston!  I don't know why not.  Fenway looks so beautiful on television.  I always wanted to see a Cubs-Red Sox World Series so Fenway and Wrigley could share the spotlight together.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Gypsy Willow— I love to watch, too. And I love baseball! :D

      Thanks for your comments. It is always nice when you visit me.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Laughing Mom— It's the happiest time of the year!  Hey, there could be a song there!  I appreciate you checking it out and adding to the Hub with your remarks.  Dogs and beer; absolutely.

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      SEM Pro— Thank you kindly, friend. I will make a link in that same thread we were on before that you had going. I am working on a music Hub of my songs right now—have been all day. I have never worked with video before. How about if I email you two songs I am working on for your critique?

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      James, well written Hub. Living in the Fenway Park corner of the US, I have to say I've always been a little partial to baseball. Of course, the baseball that it is closest to my heart is that played by the youngest of players - Little League, a world where any child who wants to play gets the chance.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      10 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      We live next to a park and several teams play at the weekends. Love to watch.

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 

      10 years ago

      Oh wow. There is absolutely nothing like sitting at a Major League Baseball game heckling the batters or screaming at the ump because the guy was VERY CLEARLY safe. Hot dogs, cold beer and yes, singing during the 7th inning stretch.

      I LOVE baseball season!!!!!!

    • SEM Pro profile image

      SEM Pro 

      10 years ago from North America

      No rush - if/when you do, simply add your link on a comment so people can continue the thought with your wiisdom - fair enough? In the meantime, this was great! As your hubs always are :)

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      SEM pro— Thank you! I was going to do "country philosophy" but I got sidetracked into "baseball philosophy" somehow. I'll get back to former later. :D

    • SEM Pro profile image

      SEM Pro 

      10 years ago from North America

      Hehe - "Who's on first?" Intense action in a church you clearly understand James. Great hub and wonderful tribute to George to share why it's America's #1 pastime!

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      Steve Rensch— Well, I did three Hubs on the Cubs already so I purposefully stayed away this time. I even featured a Cardinal!!! Thanks for visiting.

    • Steve Rensch profile image

      Steve Rensch 

      10 years ago

      Love the photos. Where's Wrigley, Cub fan?

    • James A Watkins profile imageAUTHOR

      James A Watkins 

      10 years ago from Chicago

      jacobt2— Thanks! You are my first visitor and I appreciate it!

    • profile image

      jacobt2 

      10 years ago

      Great hub!!!

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