23 September 2014
Baseball vs. Football
Most football fans see baseball as this lazy, laid back sport. Sometimes, it’s even referred to as a girl’s sport. On the other hand, they view football as the most physical sport. Often called a man’s game. The thing that these football fans don’t take into account is the big picture. Baseball and football are both similar in that they have the best players in the world in their professional leagues. But, there are so many more factors that play into these two sports than what seems obvious to the eye. When it comes to the level of difficulty, baseball, rather than football, is the harder sport of the two to play professionally. This is because of the physical and mental aspects of the game, the ride to get to the highest level of play, and the skill level.
Furthermore, football and baseball fans need to recognize just how physical of a sport baseball really is; along with the mental toll that the sport takes on an athlete at it’s highest level of play. Looking at football, it is easy to see that there is more physical contact. They are allowed to hit each other, they have to wear heavy equipment, and the pace of the game is very fast. Football fans see the hard, brutal, physical contact and the frequent injuries. They also see how big and built these amazing athletes are, to a point where they would say something like: “Those guys are animals, they’re like superhuman.” Yes, in football, it is all about who is the strongest, who is the fastest, who can bench the most, etc. What they don’t take into perspective is the short sixteen game season of football, and a few more games if a team makes the playoffs. In baseball, you don’t have to be the biggest, strongest, and fastest guy out there. Baseball players have a different body type. They are different athletes and they are built a different way. Where, unlike other sports, to hit a baseball farther and harder, it would benefit a guy with a smaller chest, who has stronger hands and forearms; opposed to a guy who has a big chest and bigger biceps because that gets in the way of bat speed, rotation, and flexibility. If a football player tried to throw a baseball as hard as he could, people would laugh at how slow it goes, with the exception of the quarterbacks. This is because football players get too big, where it is too hard to throw a baseball and do the things that baseball players have to do, like swinging a bat. Moreover, in baseball, teams play 162 games a season, not including playoffs. Six to Eight months out of the year, they play every single day. That’s a lot more than football. The constant routine of playing every day and leaving everything out on the field, takes a serious toll on the body. Not to mention the time and hard work that is put into their craft day in and day out.
In football, the mental side of the game is all about getting amped up, becoming an animal, and being focused. The quarterback deals with the most mental stress. He is responsible for everything that goes right and wrong on the offensive side of the ball. He takes the blame for other player’s mistakes. In baseball, failure happens more than success. A player is considered an above average player, when he fails seven times out of ten. No one has ever even been half way to being a perfect hitter in baseball. Being perfect would be having a batting average of 1.000. Dealing with all of the failure in baseball separates players. It takes mental toughness to a whole other level. It’s one thing to get a mindset for one big game a week, only sixteen on the year; compared to having to get prepared and be 100% focused every single day of the week, for the 162 game season. You can go 0-5 with five strikeouts and make two errors, and still be expected to come out and play an hour after for the second game of a double header in one day. That takes a certain kind of person to have that mental toughness.
Next, football fans need to take the road to the show into perspective. To become a NFL player, you go through two stages, or two levels. Those two levels are high school football, and college football. Now, in the NFL, there are 32 teams that carry a 46-man roster. The road to the NFL is short. Baseball has many different levels that a player must go through in order to get to the MLB. Those levels include the following: high school, college (unless drafted out of high school), instructional ball, rookie ball, low A-ball, A-ball, high A-ball, AA-ball, and AAA-ball. Count that, with the 30 teams and only 25-man roster. Do the math…there’s a huge difference between the two sports, just to get to the highest level of play. That says a lot. Baseball can weed out athletes much faster than football can. It happens at every level of play.
The development process shows if a player is ready for the big show or not. The long process in baseball shows that the skills to play in the big leagues are very difficult, not only get to and to have, but also to maintain consistently on a day-to-day basis. Everyone knows that the hardest thing to do in all of sports is to hit a 90mph (or faster) major league fastball. Add spin to that ball and take off a couple of mph and you have a major league slider. There’s curveballs, change-ups, cutters, splitters, two-seam fastballs, sinkers, screwballs, and knuckleballs. Hitters have less than a half of a second to react and swing at a 90mph fastball. This requires an amazing amount of focus, talent, and skill. In order to be an every-day player in the big leagues you have to be near perfect defensively. There are so many minor skills that make the biggest differences in every aspect of the game of baseball. They are always the smallest and tidiest details. There are just so many things that go into fielding a ground ball, hitting a baseball, catching a fly ball, stealing a base, turning a double play, etc. Football players all have to be strong, fast, and physical. Footwork, technique, and good hands are all required. Football fans may say: “Well, aren’t all the same skills required in baseball, required in football?” That’s simply not the case. The process just to make it says it all…add in all of the little things, even all of the things that have to be done perfectly just to make a double play, and it will be clear to see that there is more skill required to play baseball.
For all of the football fans out there, it is now easier to see that baseball is a more difficult sport to play at the professional level, over that of football. The long season, the minor leagues representing the steps to get to the bigs, and all of the small details help prove that. Yes, football is a more physical sport for the short-term, but in the long run, baseball shows to be more physically demanding, which brings the mental side with it. The long and hard process it takes in order to make it to the big leagues really brings attention to the those who get there and those who don’t. The argument over skill level is close, until football fans start to learn the entire game of baseball. Also, when they begin to look into detail at what goes into the overall make up of a baseball player. It isn’t hard to see that the more difficult sport to play professionally is indeed baseball.