What is baseball, really? (part 2 of 4: thoughts on homeruns)

The celebrated homerun

As the previous post mentioned, the main point of baseball is one of avoidance. You hit the ball where it escapes your oppoents to you have enough time to run around in a circle. Whereas other sports of like baskeball and football center around getting the ball into a specific place.

But a-ha! You say, what about the homerun? That’s putting the ball linto a certain place. True. And perhaps that’s part of the reason why our sports coverage on tv loves the home run so much. Every night we see tv replays of homeruns. Do we see tv replays of triples? No. A triple is hitting the ball to such a remote corner of the ballpark, so you can run extra bases. There’s a certain psychology behind a triple that tv doesn’t like. Hitting the ball into some corner that people don’t normally stand in? TV apparently doesn’t like to show that.

Instead the glorious homerun. It’s the final landing spot for the ball. It’s long. It’s grand. The ball soars through the air to give the team the runs they need to win.

But really the homerun is the ultimate in avoidance. The ball is hit to a spot where no fielder can possible field it. There’s nothing like it in sports. In tennis if you hit the ball into the stands, it’s the worst shot ever. In soccer if you hit the ball into the stands, you just incredibly missed the goal.

In baseball the complete point of the homerun is avoidance. The homerun says, “you can’t touch this.” If it’s like if in football, the quarterback decided to score the most points for his time by making the ball as untouchable as possible by chucking the ball beyond the endzone and into the stands.


View other posts from this series:

What is baseball, really? (part 1 of 4)

What is baseball, really? (part 3 of 4: Baseball is most like NASCAR)

What is baseball, really? (part 4 of 4: Baseball is also like croquet)

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Tom Saaristo
13 years ago

And what’s better than a homerun than a grand slam homerun! Yes, the homerun is putting the ball in a certain place by taking it out of play altogether! Pool is a little like that, except you are trying to take all of your balls out of play before the other person. And in croquet you get to take the other player’s ball (and their game) out of play, even if only momentarily. Taking the ball out of play lets you celebrate, but it also messes with your opponents game/plan/psychology.

13 years ago

technically, it’s not “homerun” but rather “home run”. It’s two words.

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