I did not grow up watching baseball. I was a football fan only. In the past year, I have found a growing interest in baseball. It might be an evolution in my maturity, or it might just be a realized sense of love for America’s game. Either way, I think it’s a sport that every sports fan should explore.
Baseball is 100% strategy. It’s a million small decisions made across nine innings that causes a team to win or lose, unlike football where a team can play lousily for three-fourths of a game and still end up winning.
Every moment matters in baseball because every moment can change the game. Changing the score in baseball affects how everyone plays. It affects the strategy.
I had an obsession with NFL statistics, players and history along with a healthy fan following of NCAA football. I also played the sport for fun in my backyard with friends and competitively at a young age through high school.
I saw no reason to like other sports, besides wrestling because there was also a violent excitement to it. The idea of tackling an opponent for the fun of it to help a team win provided my overwhelming amount of energy a place to go.
Football was violent and I enjoyed it, and I still do. My understanding went from a vicious, fun cage match on a 100-yard field to a chess match that requires a little bit of violence to play.
And that’s why I am now learning baseball. I am now a fan of chess. I am now a fan of strategy.
Everything in baseball is based in strategy: financial strategies, mental strategies, in-game strategies, coaching strategies and strategies on how to design stadiums and fields.
I realized this after reading “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis. The book, later turned into a movie starring Brad Pitt, is about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane, finding a new way to look at analytics called sabermetrics.
Before, baseball managers sometimes looked at players for surface level reasons. They had the body type and looked the part. Sabermetrics made sure players played the part by taking the data from everything a player does.
Bill James, the man who coined the term in 1980, referred to it as “the search for objective knowledge about baseball.”
Finals are almost over, and Colorado has a lot of opportunity for those interested to follow a team or go see a game. We have the Rocky Mountain Vibes, a minor league team that play games weekly in Colorado Springs. We have the Colorado Rockies in Denver with games being played throughout the summer as well.
I challenge sport fans who don’t like baseball to go to the games. Observe how every decision matters. Fall in love with small chess decisions that make the game fun. If you can’t fall in love with strategy, then you’re not a real sports fan.