A baseball philosophy

By Bill Barrows

I have spent an enormous amount of time researching and analyzing the game of baseball -- the game that I love. I have picked up different pieces of philosophy down through the years from a number of coaches and players, some that I have met, but most I have not met. Baseball is a game of discrete episodes rather than of flow, unlike basketball or soccer or hockey, baseball allows contemplation and conversation and a general awareness of where you are.

Why do we care so much about high level sports? We are more tribal, than we, in our modern vanity, like to acknowledge. We are creatures built----hard wired for primal allegiances. Baseball, as is sport, is junk food for the spirit, a narcotic, opium for the masses who understand it and indulge in it.

On the whole, most people see the game of baseball from the wrong prospective. Final scores are reported in the form of scores like 4-3, 7-2 and 6-5 when they could just as easily be reported  as 3-4, 2-7 and 5-6. After all, baseball is the only game where the defense controls the ball. The idea is to prevent runs as much as it is to score them. We should have the philosophy that run prevention is the far greater goal of the competition. Therefore, the importance of pitching and defense should be of utmost importance. We need to use this as our mindset.

Pitching is the key to the game. Pitchers worry about how many wins they have. Wins are a team goal. Outs are simply what the pitcher should concentrate on every outing. The defense needs to have a hand in that theory by having the mindset that we give the opposing offense no more than 3 outs per inning. If that can be accomplished, wins take care of themselves. The game at that point truly becomes outscoring the opposing offense by one run.

In summarizing this theory, it should be obvious that spending an enormous amount of our attention on defensive execution is very important. Time spent working on our offense should be execution of tee work, hitting stations and quality time in the batting cage working on pitch identification and moving the ball where it is pitched. We also should spend time learning to execute situational hitting drills and adopt a mindset of learning to give what the pitcher and defense will give us in each situation.

Work faster, throw strikes and keep your defense on its toes and into the game = quicker innings, better defensive execution and faster, more successful games.

So in summary, when you take stats and theory out of the equation, it boils down to this: In baseball terms, here is the reality of life: A guy's dream ends with him hitting a home run off of a light pole and walking off with the beautiful girl. When in reality, his dream often ends with a ground ball to shortstop.

Posted on 2018 Apr 17