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A friend sent me a link to an interview on Baseball Prospectus with Lars Anderson, a prospect in the Boston Red Sox system.

It is a very good interview, but one simple question jumped out at me and made me think. (anything that makes me think about baseball is a good thing)

Why do people play baseball? Tell me why you play.

I wanted to share it with the CheckSwing crew. Anderson's response is below and a link to the entire interview is at the bottom of this posting.
DL: Why do people play baseball?

LA: It usually starts out with parental oversight. The parents want to see their kids play sports, and maybe dad used to be a good ballplayer, so that's what he wants his son to grow up to be. I think that a lot of it is forced, initially. Obviously, there are other cases where the kid is the one who is passionate about it and says, "Dad, let's go play," or "Dad, can we go take some ground balls or take some batting practice?" But a lot of other times, sometimes when the kid is way too young, the parents are, "OK, you're going to play in this organized baseball league," even though you're just five years old. I saw a lot of my friends who weren't really that into it get forced to do it, and even if they were into it, there was so much pressure on them to be specialized into it that they just lost that passion and it became more of a chore. I didn't play organized baseball until I was nine, and it wasn't my parents saying, "Hey, you should do this," it was me saying, "Hey, can I do it?" Every day when my dad came home from work, I'd be in the kitchen, often with two of my best friends who lived right next door, and I'd say, "Dad, let's go play some ball," and he'd always say yes. It was never him pushing it; it was my friends and me initiating it. I've always had that passion for baseball.

Views: 1311

Comment by Tiffany Brooks on August 20, 2008 at 5:44pm
I play baseball because I'm pretty sure I'd stop breathing if I DIDN'T! : )
Comment by Tiffany Brooks on August 21, 2008 at 5:10pm
Wow... why do I play baseball? What I wrote above is pretty much the whole story. I have been playing baseball or softball since I was 4 years old, and have only missed one season of baseball and one of softball.

There is something in baseball that speaks of the cycles of life. There is something magical about throwing to warm-up that just reminds you of that time playing catch with dad or mom... that intimacy of it being just YOU and the parent. Although other people in the warm-up line might comment on what you and your warm-up partner are saying, it always seems a little they've been eavesdropping. There's the way the dirt looks in the infield before the game... like freshly fallen snow, it is a fresh start... it creates a kind of hush, a quiet reverence. There is the smell of freshly mowed grass, the clean bases, the white lines of chalk, that are just like life...there are boundaries, but they're not always perfect. Playing a baseball game is a little mirror of life. Not every moment of life is filled with adrenaline. There are long periods of routine. There is the pitcher taking his or her time, the conferences, the planning, the moments given to excel (that web gem!), the routine plays and the moments of sheer terror. There are the times when you're down and must struggle back. There are the times when you're sitting on top of the world. And here again, as in life...there is hope. Even down 10 runs in the bottom of the 9th, the home team still has a chance...there is hope! The best part is that you don't have to wrestle with questions of the afterlife in baseball. You come out tomorrow or next week, or next spring, after the snows have melted, the air is still brisk, and there it is: that field, that chance for a new life, a do-over, and you are reborn with that beautiful dirt, that imperfect chalk, that perfect mound. Your whole life lies ahead of you, and as part of a team you are part of humanity moving forward together until in defeat or victory, you are born anew for the next game, the next life. Come worship with me in the chapel of grass and clay and chalk, watch for the little miracles, that something "different" that happens in every game, and sit with me, last one out of the dugout, listening to the silence and watching the serenity of the field now ploughed with spikes and sown with sweat, laughter, and perhaps a little blood, fertile, waiting for new life to spring forth, and you'll know why I play baseball.
Comment by Kyle Grucci on August 21, 2008 at 6:45pm
Very nice post, Tiff. I couldn't agree more! Each game in and of itself is unique. Most times, the game(s) within the game are what I look forward too most - as a hitter during a long at-bat, or on the other end as a pitcher trying to get out of a jam. And, as you alluded to above, there is no clock in baseball. This aspect alone allows you to always have an optimistic approach right down to the last out. As Yogi once said, "it's not over until its over".
One of my fondest childhood memories waking up on a sunny Saturday morning and heading to the field for practice - yes, I said practice! I loved taking BP and even shagging balls. There's just something special about being out on the field with your teammates. It really is a special, special game.
Comment by Tom Rizzi on September 3, 2008 at 6:10pm
BASEBALL is the only game !

My first gift from my Grandmom was a glove and ball--My Grandpa who was in real eastate in NYC took me fishing all the time with a business cohort who had pitched for the NY Giants in the BIgs and had a career record of 2 wins and ZERO losses---my dad was a semipro catcher---I guess it was just part of my upbringing---at 66 still involved
Comment by Anthony Medrano AKA BIG E on January 9, 2010 at 4:51pm
I play baseball because that was our past time when I was growing up. I am Puerto Rican/Nicaraguan and grew up in Miami. I have played baseball since I was 4 years old.
I don’t remember playing baseball because my parents wanted me to play the sport. I play baseball because I wanted to play, because it was fun, and I enjoyed the game. It was our only fun growing up as a kid.

We played baseball with heart, with passion, and with a smile in our faces. We didn’t have baseball bats or gloves. We had broom sticks; we had balls made out of old socks and small rock to make it hard. We swung at bottle caps from Pepsi bottles with a small broom stick. We caught bare handed with not gloves. It was so much fun.

When I train kids or coach at the park, I tell kids to play baseball with heart, to play with passion, desire and to play because they want to play and because they are having fun playing it. It is about running, hitting, catching and making great plays and playing as a team on the field.

Baseball is about dedication, discipline, passion, love, fun and it takes hard work to be a good player. I tell kids not to play if they are playing for the wrong reasons. Don’t play baseball because mom or dad wants them to become a super athlete. Play it because you have it on your heart and you truly enjoy it.

I play baseball because it is my passion, because it is on my blood, because I love the game, because I have fun with the game, because I live by it and most of all because I love the game and have respect for it.

I do hope and pray that one day if God willing to be 90 years old and still playing the sport that I have love for most of my live.
Comment by Tom Hagerty on January 11, 2010 at 11:26am
I play because my parents were Detroit Tigers fans when I was a little kid. That made me want to play when I got older. In those days (early 1960s) all the kids I knew played baseball, some of it in organized leagues but much of it just pickup games. I loved playing then and I still love it.


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