Monday, March 19, 2012

Why I Hate Baseball

The unseasonably warm weather here has coaxed everyone outdoors to spruce up their yards, go walking or, like the kids I saw yesterday at the schoolyard ball field - out to play ball.

Seeing the kids there, having what appears to be fun, brought back some unpleasant springtime memories for me.

In this "baseball" kind of weather, usually in May and June, at school or at family get-togethers or picnics, some sadistic individuals would always bring along baseballs, bats and gloves and suggest that we all play a game of baseball.

I look back now and wonder why it is I hated baseball and still do.  Call me unAmerican, call me silly, call me a sissy.  But I hate baseball.  I know now it is because baseball has more ways to humiliate you than any other sport or game.  

If you are up to bat, you get to swing at the ball.  If you miss, it is a strike.  Except sometimes it is not a strike, but a ball, and you can't figure out why.  Either way it is humiliating.

If you hit the ball, sometimes you must run to first base, except if it is a foul ball, but you can't tell the difference, because you are so anxious, you don't know which way the ball went.  That is humiliating.

If you do hit the ball and run, everyone starts screaming at you, so you think you are doing something wrong, like running after a foul ball, so you hesitate and get tagged OUT.  That is humiliating.

Or if the ball was good, you hit it right to the pitcher and are called out.  That is humiliating.

Or if you run to first base and the ball gets there before you do, you are OUT and humiliated.

Or you get three strikes and you are OUT and that is humiliating.

Or you get hit with the pitch and that is humiliating.  Or you hit the ball and forget to drop the bat.  Or you drop the bat but actually thew it at the catcher's head.  Humiliated again.

So then you get to pitch.  Forget that.  That is super humiliating.  You first have to figure out how to put on the silly looking glove.  Then you have to throw the ball.  That is humiliating.

You have to throw it at the batter, but not hit the batter.  You can't throw it too far away from the batter or too high or too low.  First of all you can't figure out exactly where the ball should go, and even if you could, you could never throw it there.  As luck would have it you throw it and the batter hits it - and gets a home run.  You're humiliated.

So they take you off the pitcher's mound and you are more humiliated.

No runs, no hits, lots of errors.

They make you play first base.  You are on edge.  Poised, waiting.  The ball is hit.  It is coming your way.  You reach for it.  It goes through the glove and hits the ground behind you.  It's humiliating.

You pick up the ball and throw it toward second base.  The runner is now on third.  Humiliating.

So you get put in the outfield.  Thank God!  There you can look at the bees going from one dandelion to the next or the butterfly floating on air.  There is a dog barking across the street and the ice cream truck is jingling along full of Creamsicles.  You see a jet plane in the sky overhead.  You hope this will soon be over.

All of a sudden you hear everyone screaming because whoever was up to bat has hit the ball out beyond the bases somewhere between left field and right field (is there a right field?).  You think they are yelling at you to catch the ball.  You go for it and the other outfielder yells at you to "get out of the way".  It is humiliating.

Or, you do fetch the ball from off the ground and now have to not only figure out who to throw it to, but you have to actually throw it in that general direction.  The ball lands on the ground about fifteen feet short.  That's humiliating.

Your team loses by a zillion runs.  It is mostly your fault.  How humiliating.  Everyone tosses the ball back and forth while walking off the ball park.  Someone throws it your way and it hits your chin.  Baseball is humiliating even when the game is over.

That's why I hate baseball.  There, I've said it.  And I look stupid in a baseball cap.


  1. A-FUCKING-MEN!! You described it perfectly, Frank, that was exactly my experience too. This is so good, it deserves to be published somewhere, you should send it to some magazines and see if they will print it.

    Next worst is basketball: twice as mysterious, only all the players from your team and the other are all jammed up next to you and running circles around you at the speed of light, all moving in six directions at once and cussing you vehemently with every breath because you MISSED THE DAMN BALL or DROPPED IT or THREW IT TO THE WRONG PERSON and even if you try to hover in one corner and stay out of everybody's way they still damn you unreservedly because YOU AREN'T PLAYING THE GAME which is of course the point, so either way you lose.

    Football is not only humiliating but also excruciating until you learn not to actually block anybody but simply let them go right on by. But we could go on down the list, right? . . .

  2. In gym at High School I wasn't even allowed to have a mitt to catch with that's how much I sucked at sports in general. I don't think I was considered a sissy though.
    But the worst is when the gym teacher would line us up and designate two super jocks to pick out their teams. Talk about humiliation when I and some other guy was usually left standing there at the very end. I could have rung that gym teachers neck every time this happened.

  3. OK. To be honest, you've covered a lot of my feelings about the game when I was a kid. Fortunately, I didn't get as totally humiliated in all those situations because no one would EVER have put ME on the pitcher's mound. And I was always sent someplace in the outfield where, hopefully, no ball would ever be hit. OK. Humiliating. I DO like to go to professional games... at first, although i find myself growing incensed thinking about the millions of dollars these people make. Ah well... (Oh. I also look like crap in a baseball cap.)



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