Nicholas Castellano celebrating Kris Bryant's game winning home run on 08-21-2019.

The Fun of Baseball

In lieu of an opening paragraph, I’m going to present you a simple image, one of pure unadulterated joy and then we will continue from there,

The clip speaks for itself, no sound needed whatsoever. To be honest I shouldn’t be required to prattle on about the clip either. It’s Nicholas Castellanos celebrating like a little kid after Kris Bryant hit a go-ahead 2-run homer against the San Fransisco Giants last week. In that short clip, we see the joy and jubilation that should typify all of baseball. Only, it often doesn’t, especially so with a team like the Chicago Cubs.

Now, this isn’t meant as a knock on any of the other Cubs players. I am a Cubs fan, and I love the emotion displayed by Javier Báez, Anthony Rizzo, Pedro Strop, and Willson Contreras to name a few. That being said, only a fool would deny that post-2016 the Cubs have turned into much more of a taking care of business sort of team. Somewhere along the way, they fell in step with the idea that because they were champions they needed to act as champions. Except there’s no standardized version of how champions act and the whole, “Act like you’ve been there before’ mantra is beyond stupid.

Baseball is a fun sport, I know that’s why I enjoy watching game after game. When I dig into sabermetric stats or read books about baseball it’s because I find that fun as well. If it’s tangentially related to baseball I find it fun, that even includes when I rag on Major League Baseball for their abhorrent business practices. The subject matter may not always be fun, but at the very core, my writing comes from a place where baseball is fun.

Think about baseball being fun for a second, it’s not that hard of a concept. Think back to when you played as a kid, when you play baseball’s closely related cousin softball, or when you watched your first professional game. It was fun, wasn’t it? You wanted that fun to keep going so you entrenched yourself deeper and deeper into the world of baseball. It is really quite simple, fun is good and since we all recognize baseball is fun we naturally want more fun in our baseball.

Sure, I may get frustrated when Willy or Big Stick Nick tries to stretch a single into a double. But, I need to do a better job of reminding myself that they are playing the game with an enthusiasm that is centered in the fun of baseball. That means they will make more mistakes, playing the game from a place of fun means more mistakes will happen. That’s one of the reasons Javy tries to get to every ball under the sun or Rizzo thinks he actually has any speed.

I’m not sure who specifically needed my very minor treatise on the fun of baseball. You’re out there though, I know you are because too often I end up being one of you. Baseball is the best sport in the land, it has provided me with untold hours of entertainment. If I need to remind myself how fun the game was, is, and can be then that means you probably need to remind yourself of that as well. Baseball is fun, Big Stick Nick knows it, and so do all of us.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – NBC Sports

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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