The Unique, Crazy, Great Game of Baseball

I know it’s early…but it was finished…sooo..why wait?           Baseball is a tremendous, interesting game yet it’s unique from other sports in many ways.

…The game itself differs from the other major sports—Soccer, Football, Basketball, Hockey in several unique ways. Consider…

…All of the other sports have a set, established size of their field or court. Baseball does not. Each MLB stadium is slightly different. Some have different dimensions, some obstacles(e.g. Green Monster), some impediments (like ivy) on the wall. Hockey rinks are close to the same size but the older buildings require modifications on the size of the rink. Basketball/Soccer have exactly the same size field in the US… don’t know about Europe.. but I expect that they’ll be the same size there also.

…In all the other sports, players may enter & exit as often as they want to do. In baseball, the first time you exit the game, you are finished for the game! You may NOT reenter like in other sports. In baseball, it’s common for 8 of the 9 players to play the complete game.  In the other sports, few players play the entire game. generally –most players play in each game. Commonly, they have some starters, are replaced & then they reenter.  In hockey, basketball & football, it’s several times in a game. Some sports DO have some players play the entire game (like soccer).

…In most sports, the vast majority of the roster of players play in each game. In baseball, about ½ the players participate in each game. The bullpen is filled with guys who don’t get into a game.

In baseball, there are no time constraints. An inning could take 2-3 minutes or 20-30 minutes. All other sports have some type of timing restrictions.

…In some sports, you reach the highest level in 1 year (namely, NFL &NBA) after being drafted. In baseball & hockey, the draft focuses on players who will reach your team in 2-3-4 years. I’m not real familiar with the soccer program. It seems that drafted players could be on the top team immediately but could also be seasoned for a year or 2-3 on a lower team.. like City2 team in St. Louis.

…MLB has the most buzz & excitement around the pro leagues in Trades. The Cards have picked up some of their All-Time Best players in trades—Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Adam Wainwright, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Willie McGee, Matt Holliday. Maybe it’s due to their extensive “farm” teams that are used to develop players. The MLB teams have many different levels of players. At some point, any MLB team either brings up the player to the MLB or a higher level team, trades him or “cuts” him.

….the 2022, the MLB  trade deadline had lots of interest. The Cards bolstered their starting staff with 2 lefties. LHP Jordan Montgomery arrived as Harrison Bader was sent to NYY. Montgomery seems to be a consistent, 5 inning hurler. It’s his 6th year in the MLB, owns a 22-20 lifetime record for the Yankees. He’s 3-3 this year in 21 starts. Since he was playing for the best AL team and held only a 3-3 record, I have some reservations about his ability to “move the needle” for a team slightly over .500 like the Cards!

…The Cards also acquired another LH Starter in Jose Quintana. This is clearly a 1-year plug-in. Quintana is 33 years old. It’s his 4th team since 2020! He’s a breaking-ball, mild fastball type pitcher. He’ll be expected to get into or close out the 5th inning. Or, I’d like to see him come into the game in the 5th/6th inning and finish up the game.  The Cards now have 3 starting pitchers of 33 years of age or older. Clearly, MO is playing for “right now”.

…Harrison Bader got “Pipped”. NYY 1b, Wally Pipp sat out 1 day for a headache. Lou Gehrig replaced him. Gehrig then played consecutively EVERY single game from 1925 through 1939 for the NYY.  While Bader was injured, Carlson demonstrated that he could handle CF very well defensively. Further, Carlson seemed to have a more consistent bat than Bader. Sooo… bye-bye Harrison! I think he’ll be missed in a different way.  He seemed to be happy to be on the field. He provided personality & a bit of showmanship to the game. And…yea… those golden locks flying though the air as he raced around the bases emphasized the speed of the game.

… The MLB needs more of those type of personalities. It is a GAME! It’s meant to entertain us. People who smile, look happy, run fast & can play, give their all, are appealing to fans. Further, it’s especially crucial to grab the interest of young folks. I don’t know about nationwide, but amateur baseball for grade school kids around my neck of the woods, seems almost dead unless you’re willing/able to pay the significant amount of money to play “select” ball. Playing baseball for fun seems out-of-date!!

…the winner of the 2002 “Trade Deadline Sweepstakes” was San Diego. Juan Soto arrived in the midst of much ballyhoo. Josh Hader was brought in to be the closer (maybe the most important element in a MLB roster these days). I did write about Hader recently getting shellacked in 2-3 straight outings. I think it scared off the Brewers. They may have wanted to get “something” for him before he slides even more. The NL West has the Dodgers & the Padres battling it out.

…the rules for baseball are much more complex than one might think. There are many, many rules filled with “if..then statements. As we grew up with them & learned them gradually through elementary school and so they seemed natural, easy to us.  But, they really aren’t easy. One year I had the opportunity to coach a youngster who HAD NEVER touched a baseball, didn’t know any rules AT ALL about baseball & he was in 6th grade. You think baseball rules are simple…. I tried explaining a simple thing to him– strikeouts.  Well.. if you get 3 strikes, you’re out…unless the catcher drops the ball-then you can run to 1b….but if there’s already a runner on 1B then, you’re out automatically with 0 or 1 out.. however, if there’s a runner on 1b with 2 outs… then you CAN run any way… UGH! I reduced his baserunning knowledge to,” when I tell you to run to the next base, do it”. That was just the rules on strikeouts!! That’s one of the easiest rules….think about being on base & the ball is hit in the air or on the ground with 0 or 1 out or 2 outs… stay, run, go halfway…we never got that far 😊 It seems to me that most of the other sports rules are less complex. I’m not saying the skills are less impressive in other sports but learning the game of baseball is complex.

…Well….my stats tell me that the readers don’t want me to ramble on….soooo… I’d love to read your thoughts.. put them directly on Bob Ryan FB page or send to me & I’ll publish for you. I would encourage you to read the comments. They are insightful & interesting. If you’ve missed a blog or 2…check out Thanks for the read!    Bob

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