Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I Don't Understand About Baseball

Ah, the great American pastime--baseball.  I enjoy both watching and playing this sport.  I grew up with the Cincinnati Reds and am now also a Phillies fan.  (Woohoo for the fifth straight National League East title!)

Here are a couple of things that I just don't "get":

Why aren't pitchers better batters?  They should know better than any other player, other than maybe the catcher, how to read what pitch is coming.  They should be able to anticipate what pitch is coming their way by knowing their own strengths and weaknesses and knowing what they would pitch to themselves.  Once they see the pitch they should be able to react accordingly.  

Do umpires have schedules like the players?  Do they stay in one city or do they move around?  What type of rotation do they have?  What types of checks and balances do they have?  I know the players spend a lot of time away from home, but they also get paid the big bucks to sleep in a hotel bed about a third of the year (give or take some)--do the umps also make the big bucks?

What is the deal with rally caps?  Why does turning them inside out mean good luck?  Where did this bizarre tradition start?  And why?  And how?  When I first saw this phenominon I thought it was a thing the local little league did--I was rather surprised to find it is national oddity.

Why does the number of players allowed on the roster change during the year?

How does a team with no fan base get the money to build a brand new stadium? 

Where does all of the money come from that pays the player's salaries?

I am sure that there are more, but that's enough for now!


  1. Some answers:

    Why aren't pitchers better batters? - Actually up until the majors, pitchers are usually the best hitters (little league, high school, college) as they tend to be the best overall athletes. Once they reach the majors, the margin or error is so slim that they have to concentrate solely on pitching and do not get better at hitting. There are a rare few pitchers than can hit too, but they are few and far between.
    Do umpitres have schedules like the players? - They all do. They travel city to city for each series, but do not travel with any teams (e.g. they do the Phillies-Braves series in ATL Mon-Wed, then go to STL for the Cards-Reds Thurs-Sat). They tend to stay within a region and stay within a league (NL/AL). They can easily make a 6-figure salary (not paid like the players, but still a sweet income) and get treated very well on the road (they don't even have to worry about their equipment - I work for a shipping company and we take care of all of that for them).
    Rally caps? - I leave this link to explain:
    # of players? - It increases towards the end of the year (Aug or Sept), as playing 162 games tends to wear out many players.
    $ for new stadium with no fan base? - Could be political, could be MLB wants to continue to expand in that area, owner wants to stay in the city, etc.
    Where does the $ come from? - Attendance (tickets/concessions), TV packages, merchandise, advertising, etc.

  2. To the last two: Sponsors who want their name displayed in bold letters, and sometimes, city tax dollars, and other times, investors who think the team will make lots of money from sponsors and fans so they buy the team a new stadium, or uniforms, or hire a all-star player. It's all about investment to make monies. Hence the cost of vending.

  3. First commenter pretty much nailed the answers, but I'd like to add a bit to why pitchers struggle to hit in the majors. Batting (along with most athletic endeavors) is all about technique and consistency. A position player will normally get upwards of 650 at bats every season, playing every day, on top of standard batting practice. Pitchers, on the other hand would be extremely lucky to reach 100 at bats in a season, getting opportunities once every 5 days, with limited batting practice. Needless to say consistency is hard to come by under such circumstances. Not to mention the guys that have spent any time in the AL where they NEVER have to bat except in interleague / playoff games.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I love reading each and every one!