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"A Democratic Game"

“No one can ever master the game of baseball, or conquer it. You can only challenge it.” So said baseball Hall of Famer Louis “Lou” Brock, and, if this is true, we as Americans love the challenge. In the United States, Major League Baseball is second only to NFL football in popularity. Following this logic, the game of baseball should have many fans at the Steward School.

When Steward baseball players were asked, answers varied as to whether baseball is a technical sport, power sport, or both. Varsity catcher Harrison Johnson decided that it is both. “Anyone can be really good at baseball and still not know how to play it.” He says. “Anyone can go up there and swing a bat.” To be really good, Harrison comments that one needs the ability not just to hit the ball, but to know how and where to hit it. This sophomore has learned from experience that baseball requires more than just brute force, it requires what Harrison calls “baseball smarts.”

Varsity player Logan Ransom, who pitches and plays outfield, disagrees just slightly, calling baseball more of a technical sport “because it doesn’t matter how hard you throw or how hard you hit, you have to get people out.”

But, when asked what makes a good player, Logan’s answer had little to do with throwing or hitting at all. “What separates a good player from a great player is mental strength.” he tells us. This pitcher similarly considers “mental fortitude” the most challenging aspect of his sport. “You can’t let anybody get in your head. If you do, you’re done.” Additional Varsity pitcher Matt Gaither agrees, saying: “You can’t get anywhere without the mental part.”

One article has called baseball “a democratic game”1, meaning that extreme physical prowess is not the most important element of the sport; a player does not have to be big and tall to succeed. If you have watched any sport game before, you may have caught onto this same concept of mental strength.

“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” Once quipped Yogi Berra, famous coach, manager, and MLB player. While perhaps the mathematical total of this quote leaves behind a trail of furrowed brows or counting fingers, the logic holds true for any sport. The most important element of any sport is that in one’s own mind. A drive to work and win, an ability to function under pressure, or when the whole crowd seems to have already foreseen your failure, to focus and defy expectations by giving one’s all is what makes an athlete truly great.

Considering this, as an athlete myself, one answer to the final question on my list by Logan Ransom brought a smile to my face. When asked what his favorite thing about baseball was, considering all aspects, he didn’t hesitate before giving his one-word answer: “Winning.”


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