The Grace of North America’s Pas-time: Why we Love Baseball

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I wanted to make this post personal, since this is the best blog anybody has ever seen I would prefer to have a free flowing structure for our incredibly loyal followers and fan-base. My name is Joseph Scozzari and my favorite sport is baseball. Part of the reason summer time is something I endlessly look forward to is that I know I will be getting ready to attend Toronto Blue Jay games, I will be able to play catch with those I love the most and I will be able to observe beauty in sport.

I have battled with the justification of egregiously paying baseball players. The second highest average salaried sport in the world has a minimum wage of 550,000 dollars per year before any performance incentive bonuses. Over the coming days I’ve learned to understand why these men make the big bucks. I cannot begin to describe the difficulty of throwing a ball, that weighs 5 ounces, and has a circumference of 9 inches, 90 plus mph (miles per hour) while hitting what we call the strike zone. According to rule 2.00 of the Major League Baseball rule book, a strike zone is defined as “that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap” and is determined by “the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.” The sheer concept of a strike zone is incredibly difficult to regulate given a multitude of factors. The height of the person in the batters box, how far or close he is standing by home plate and how the home plate umpire is feeling that day. The last one was a joke of course but that alone is a level of difficulty most people cannot comprehend. Out of 50 Major League Baseball Draft picks by any given team it is fair to make a hypothetical assumption that depending on the needs of a certain team pitchers are drafted 55 percent of the time that averages out to about 1050 young pitching prospects per draft.

More than 90 percent of players who are going to “make it” to the major leagues will do so within five seasons of being drafted. By that time, they will have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft, and they’ll either be on a club’s 40-man roster, or have been passed over by all other major league clubs. There are always a few stragglers, but not many after that point.

To set the barometer, there are 750 roster positions in the major leagues among the 30 teams before rosters expand in September. 108 position players and another 87 pitchers, a total of 195 players, produced above 1.0 WAR for the 2012 season. If they don’t produce 1.0 WAR over multiple seasons, there’s not much there to talk about.

This comes back to the grace of being a baseball player. My biased is towards pitching because as a young Canadian lad I enjoyed few a seasons as a starting pitcher. However the reality is that it is a game that is not measured by time, rather it is measured by twenty seven opportunities. Whether or not you make the best of them determines whether or not you win the game. The road to the ever so coveted World Series is the metaphorical equivalent of climbing a mountain, completing a marathon or facing a fear. it doesn’t come easy… it is actually so difficult that only the ones with the most mental fortitude and most extensive preparation finish at the top of the heap.

Why do we love baseball you ask? It isn’t about the lights, the stats, the beautiful ladies in the stands, or the money. Baseball unites us, in a way that succeeding in life only can. Supporting your team in a trophy that is almost impossible to win, well isn’t that how we live our lives? The constant struggle of what life throws at you is daunting enough, it is those of us who emerge out of it with clarity, with happiness and with an understanding of how lucky we are to be alive that are the “World Series Winners” of our lives. Pitching to 27 outs without a runner reaching base is arguably the most difficult thing to do in all sports. The team with the most World Series Championships (*cough *cough the New York Yankees) since the World Series era in 1903 has 27 championships in 113 years(24%). 23 perfect games in 563,760 approximate starts, including the postseason. A Hall of Famer in baseball is successful .300 or 30% of the time, and in life we only need “.300” things to go our way at any given moment to be ultimately happy. It takes one evening to meet somebody and fall in love with them, it takes one instance of hard work to last a life time, and it takes a lifetime of preparation and hard work to achieve ultimate bliss. That is the beauty of it isn’t it? My love for baseball could be completely different from the next person’s and so on. It is a sport subject to objectivity, criticism and analysis more than any other. On top of your traditional statistics like slash lines and earned run average, there are 50 different ways to interpret a player’s game. Their contribution to the overall success of their team, the percentage of how they run bases and the percentages of how many times they hit the strike zone are a few examples.

Why do we love baseball? Because it goes far beyond the menial parts of the game, it attacks the miscues in our life and it tells us it is OK to fail, as long as we get up and try again, that going 3/10 or 5/20 is a good thing, as long as we win the marathon and not the sprint.

So go home tell your wife, your husband, your mother, your brother that you love them because ill be damned if anybody in this world is perfect, or anywhere near it. What matters is that at the end of the day you gave it all you got, and in baseball, that usually is enough to be a World Series Champion.

Godspeed ladies and gentlemen, My name is Joseph Scozzari and I hope to be your favorite journalist and blogger for many years to come .

happywheels

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