My Love-Hate Relationship with Baseball

I love the game of baseball.  I always have.  It’s the perfect match of mathematics, mental stress and persistence.  To me, it’s a beautiful thing.  I die a little inside when people say,

I find baseball boring unless you’re at the game.

Reasons I love baseball:

  1. I love baseball because it’s Math:
    • Baseball is a big statistics game.  In fact, it’s a mixture of many general math topics to include trajectory study, ballistics, trigonometry, operations research and applied maths through physics.  It’s so interesting to think that this sport, where you can be ‘good’ if you only hit 3/10 baseballs can be read from a ‘box score’.
      • Take a look at the box score. I look at this line and my brain fills in the crowd cheering as I read down the rows.
        Wikipedia contributors. “Box score (baseball).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Jul. 2017. Web. 5 Sep. 2017
  2. I love baseball because of the Mental Stress

    When you’re in the box, everybody else disappears.  It’s you versus the pitcher and noone else matters. – Mike Wetzel, former colleague and pitcher

    • In fact, pitchers performing under high pressure is part of the reason I created one of my first side projects, The Pitch List.
      • I love to see which pitchers can throw which pitches.  It’s fun to guess what pitch is coming next or yell to “Use the slurve!”
  3. I love baseball because it embodies Persistence

    The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft – Will Smith   

  • While it’s true that many players have some height, strength or other genetic dispositions, the best players are found in the morning light, taking swings and fielding groundballs.  I love watching a player become better and even better because they work at it.
  • In business, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours to become a master at something in his book Outliers.  I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’d listen to someone who has put their time in, stuck with it and been persistent.

 

Reason I hate baseball:

It pains me to write this part, with a twitch in my left eye.

The sport that has treated me so well is a ‘past-time’.  By common definition, it wastes time.

One of my mentors suggested you perform a quick mental math exercise:

If you watch a third of 160+ baseball games in the US, with 2.5 hours * ~50 games, you waste 125 hours or a little less than a week of your life. – George Lenhart, mentor, entrepreneur and outside the box thinker

He goes on to say,

If you translate that time into, well…anything, it would be likely more valuable than in front of a television.

 

George’s point is clear.  You are choosing to burn valuable time you could be using to beat on your craft.

My compromise:

I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but I’ll keep the TV on in the background, work on other things while watching a game, and try not to watch more than a handful of games per year.

I try to remember how short life is when asking how to use the time we’re given.

When in doubt, the box score doesn’t change the next morning, whether you watched the game or not.

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