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The Beautiful Game of Baseball

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Even though my Cubs were eliminated from playoff contention in basically May, I still watched every baseball playoff game this October because, for the first time in a long time, it was all good baseball.  If you did not watch the MLB post season this year, you missed one of the best World Series in recent memory. 

Too many people gave up on baseball this year once the big market teams like the Yankees and Phillies were eliminated.  Too many more people gave up on the game a few years ago when the sport no longer glorified the cheaters who were so bulked up on steroids they were hitting the ball out of the park seemingly every other pitch.  If you are one of those people, then I suggest come April you tune in to America’s pastime once again because you are missing out on what the great game of baseball is all about.

My friend asked me once last year, “Why do you like baseball so much?”  She, like so many other people, did not understand the games appeal and found it to be boring. She also did not take the fact that the guys look super good in baseball pants to be an acceptable answer.

After thinking about the question myself for months, this past World Series has given me the real answer to her question.

I love baseball because I love that a 5’11, 150 pound kid named Tim Lincecum, who looks like he should be playing junior varsity ball somewhere, is able to throw the ball 94 miles per hour and can make some of the best hitters in the game look foolish.

I love that guys like Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross were sitting at home earlier this year wondering if they would ever play baseball again, and then became World Series heroes a few months later.

I love that each night found a new hero for the Giants with someone stepping up in the clutch when the team really needed it.  I love that a team that didn’t even make the playoffs until the final day of the regular season rolled through October with a rookie catcher, a pitching staff all under 30 years old, and a line-up of guys who probably wouldn’t even make the roster of a large-market team.  Outside of San Francisco, no one expected the Giants to be World Champions.  Their total payroll is less than half of the previous World Champion Yankees. They’re not your usual team, and despite all of that, their competitive nature, heart, and drive led these “misfits” to baseball’s most coveted prize.

The great thing about baseball is how unlike every other sport it is.  Football requires brute strength and thrives off of the big hits and pain inflicted on the players.  Basketball takes skill and thrives off of flash and glam.  Baseball takes all of that and adds a mental aspect that makes each game an educational experience rather than your regular old sporting event. 

Anyone can throw strikes. Anyone can catch a fly ball and just about anyone can hit a homerun.  And on any given day, anyone can beat anyone.  The distance between the best team and worst team can change on any given day.  It is the teams that are able to pull all of the elements together at the same time, and those who believe they can do something extraordinary are the ones who in the end do.  The Giants were that team this year.  Hopefully after 102 years the Cubs can become that team sooner rather than later.

Baseball may be in a bit of a slump these days.  People would rather see brute strength and flash instead of heart, which is fine.  I’d much rather watch the new baseball than see huge steroid ridden men ruin the sanctity of the greatest game on earth.  Watch a replay of game five from Monday night. You’ll realize how beautiful this game really is.