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As the MLB postseason is just around the corner we thought it would be great to talk about a significant aspect of this sport; being fast. Being quick and agile on-field might be one of the necessary aspects for a ballplayer. Since baseball is a skill-heavy sport, being fast on the field is more of a necessity for some players than just a requirement that they should embody within themselves as athletes playing professional sports. But as said, being fast is just one of the other key aspects of being a ballplayer. Let us know ‘Is Baseball Really An Athlete’s Game?’.
Is Baseball Really An Athlete’s Game?
Being fast in baseball is a significant characteristic for certain players and their teams based on the position they play. For a first baseman, having pure long-hitting power is more important than being fast. Similarly, for outfielders, shortstop, and second base it is their quick reflexes and fast running that are more valuable than their batting skills as these positions are significant in conserving runs.
Importance of speed in baseball
- How important is speed in the baseball game? for the simple fact that the game revolves around 5 important skills to play a game; throwing, catching, hitting, fielding, and baserunning all of which require some element of speed to do these activities.
- Players that have three or more of these skills possess a significant advantage over their peers and have better chances to break through into the majors and prove themselves.
- Baseball can be summarized as a game where one team tries to score as many runs while the other team wants to concede the least amount of runs. If the scores do not tie by end of the ninth inning, the team with the higher score takes home the W.
- Throughout the gameplay of eighteen innings, a lot of activities play out on the field that decides which team walks off the ground as the victors.
- Baseball is an unpredictable game that defines winners by the sheer efforts they display and being athletic is as important as having raw hitting power. What is also equally important is winning when it matters because wins at crucial stages of a long season solidify chances of a successful postseason but that’s only if the team doesn’t lose key performers to reckless injuries.
- This might be the only consequence that comes to mind if team management as well as coaches put fitness near the bottom of the priority list.
How being fast influences game performance?
- Being fast plays an important role in the athlete’s game of baseball?. Testing player performance based on their speed and quickness when running a 60-yard dash is still a very much important recruitment aspect in Major league baseball.
- With that being said, the following are the crucial positions in baseball that require players to be exceptionally fast and agile.
- Outfielders: when fielding way back at the outfield, the outfielders, comprising of the left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder aim to use their quickness to their advantage and not give away unnecessary runs.
- Centerfielders, in particular, are required to cover large distances in short periods and have a strong throwing arm. This position can exhaust players almost certainly by the time the 9th inning arrives.
- Shortstop: fielding at the shortstop position can be enduring from a defensive standpoint. Shortstop fielders need to possess quick reflexes, faster movements on the field, and a strong throwing arm to first base compared to third and second bases which makes it a significant fielding position from a strategic standpoint as well.
- Second base: a fielding position between first and second base, a good second baseman has performance and fielding qualities similar to their peers at centerfield and shortstop. Aside from being very good infielders, second-baseman fielders are also good communicators who allow the team’s defense to be more dynamic and strong.
Simply put, speed is the key for players fielding at these positions.
Professional athletes or just ballplayers?
- It can be understood why this question comes to mind for some people when they are watching an exciting evening match play of their favorite team and see one of the players from the batting team simply unathletic than the agile outfielder of the opposing team.
- On the surface, most individuals or players who play in a professional league are certified athletes without a doubt. In the NFL, most running backs have solid builds and fast pace despite easily weighing over 240 pounds so the assumption of being lean to be fast goes out of the window.
- But then we have also seen players who play the same position look overweight which immediately makes us think are they fit to play on such a professional level looking like that? It’s not body shaming but more of a curious question. But despite the way they look they still move unbelievably quickly and fast on the field.
- In baseball, players that are overweight will more than likely play the 1st base, 3rd base, or catcher position not because these positions don’t have important responsibilities, they most certainly do, but because these are the least physically demanding positions in the game where the players don’t have to run the quickest or cover large distances.
All baseball players no matter the position they play possess exceptional reflexes and the ability to quickly react which affirms the fact that there is no written rule in the game that says one has to be lean and of the right weight to perform well. But overall, the game of baseball is still a very physically demanding game where the individuals have to be as fast as they can be, depending on the position they play. Centerfield, shortstop, second base, etc. are the key positions in the game where the players have to be of the right physical condition and showcase perfect physical and hand-eye coordination skills along with the right instincts to make the right kind of plays.