On May 8, 2019, in Sporting News, by Bobby Goodspeed

Is it still true in 2019 that Major League Baseball is Americas’ pastime?  It could be, hard to tell anymore.  There is so much glitter and glamour in the media these days that it’s difficult to cull the relevant from the flotsam. But MLB is still going strong after almost 150 years.

Baseball has been around for a long, long time, traditions run deep, the ball parks continue to fill up and the networks continue to broadcast the games.  Players’ salaries are going into the stratosphere, so the money must keep coming in.

It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, ‘baseball, it’s too slow, or, it’s boring’. To some folks it’s just that. To others it’s a calling like no other sport offers.  OK, so it’s slow.  That’s part of the charm.  Anticipation is part of the game.

The irony is that only the quickest of the best athletes can play baseball at a professional level.  Being fast and strong isn’t enough.  A good baseball player must be quicker than quick to play in the big leagues.

Baseball is not about brute strength or speed, although both of those factors come into play during a game.  Baseball is more about finesse and head to head competition. It’s more like a chess game between two players who know each other very well.

Consider the principal action; a guy throws a small, hard baseball from a mound located 66.6 feet away from the batter at speeds approaching 100 miles an hour.  The batter has a rounded bat with which he is expected to propel the ball into play in a field measuring around 400 feet deep.  Round ball, round bat, round playing field. Consider the possibilities.

Once the batter hits the ball, he must then make it 90 feet to first base before the defensive fielders can get the ball back to first.  Of course the batter won’t have to hurry if he manages to bang the ball the entire 400 feet, out of the field of play and into the waiting glove of some young fan who brought that glove just to make that catch.

The intricacies of the game of baseball are what make the game so fascinating.  It is said that one will see something new each and every time they go out to the ball park. Few moments in sports are more exhilarating than a base hit with runners in scoring position and the third base coach waving the runner home like a windmill gone mad. Then the slide, the tag and the umpires call.  There ain’t nothing else like it.

But what makes baseball so special are the fans.  The folks in the stands just seem to be having a lot more fun than most other sports fans.  You see more families, more kids and more smiles at baseball games, and that alone is good reason to watch ‘the Great American Pastime’.

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