What is it about baseball that has so endeared it in our hearts as a national pastime? With just mention of the game, nostalgic waves of memories flood the senses—the smell of grass during spring training, the bustle of a crowd hitting the bleachers, or heading out to play in a dusty local lot. It’s almost a part of our American DNA.
Trying to get a sense of just why baseball is so deeply rooted in our fibers, we asked some people about their memories of baseball, and we found a whole range of reasons to love the sport even more!
It’s good for your brain.
My first official job as a teenager was keeping score for the Parks & Recreation softball games during the summer. I had to keep track of the hits, runs, walks, etc. I had to go to all the games and actually pay attention. The baseball games were going on at the same time. This job really helped me with my math skills as well as pay attention to what was going on the field. Most of the time it was pretty easy until there was a lot of excitement on the field and in the stand – then I had to discern what was happening on the field while everyone was screaming and cheering all around me. It was great lesson in focus. K.B.
The symmetry of threes in the game is pretty impressive. 3 strikes and you’re out, 3 outs in an inning, 3 squared players on a team and 3 squared innings in a game. 60 feet to the pitchers mound and 90 feet between the bases. Plus, baseball stats tell the story of the game FAR better than any other sport with the possible exception of track & field. Learning baseball stats (and player cards) are no doubt a large part of the reason I’ve always been comfortable with math. C.K.
It’s good cross training.
A brief synopsis of my very short-lived 5th grade softball career. My mom was dating my soon to be stepdad. She decided to bring him to a game to meet me for the first time. She arrived slightly late and my team was on the field. I was always put in the outfield, thanks to my stellar skills. It turns out I was more interested in honing a different skill set. When he asked my mom to point me out to him, she paused, lowered her head, pointed in my direction and said “that’s Katie out there… practicing the moonwalk.” Needless to say I didn’t return to play softball in 6th grade. By the time Jr. high rolled around though, I was an impressive dancer. K.A.
It’s good for your family.
One of my fondest memories is of playing softball; being at bat and listening to my dad’s soothing voice from behind the backstop, telling me to calm down, focus on the ball, and pick my pitch. His soothing voice and presence helped me get into that zone where the world disappears and athletes achieve that Zen moment where all is well, sounds fade, the spin on the ball slows, the seams become visible, and homeruns happen. Thanks, Dad, for everything. C.D.
It’s good for mixing up your crowd.
I was the first basewoman on my junior high team. We wore green uniforms and were known as the “Shamrocks”. We won the division championships in So Cal. I won an award for the “most gum chewing player”. I was also known for chewing the rawhide strings of my mitt down to the nubs! Ha! I also played on a team for Stanford Children’s Hospital when I was a grad student in Physical Therapy. I was the only white girl on the team. What a wild time we had! I think we danced as much as we played. Great memories:) J.G.
I was the first girl on my Farm League Team in Ohio… I remember pretty clearly getting a home run and my father asked me if it was on errors and I didn’t know what that meant. R.S.
It’s just good fun.
I played both Little League and Babe Ruth League baseball. I learned about sportsmanship, team play and the joy of male camaraderie…no specific stories but playing baseball was a great way to spend summers. J.H.
I simply find baseball relaxing. A.F.
This spring, help make some memories. Play a pick up game, take a friend to the park, coach a team, or invite some friends over to watch the series. One way or another, baseball’s charm is going to work its magic into your heart.