College baseball, man.
One the most exciting forms of baseball you can watch. Fully grown men using metal bats is always a sight to behold. However, as a former collegiate baseball player myself, I have grown to strongly dislike the game from a players perspective.
I have a weird relationship with baseball. I sacrificed basically my entire life up to about two years ago to the game. It was all I did, I was consumed with it. If you asked me at the time, I would have said I love baseball and would hope to always be around the game.
Flash forward to today, I enjoy it, sort of.
I don’t really watch much of it, although I never did. I never think about it, what could have been, and when people ask me to play anything like softball, I avoid it. I don’t want to be involved with any form of playing. When it comes to watching it, I am not opposed, but its not my first choice. Or my second or third. Maybe my fourth but it depends!
Since hanging them up, I have grown to despise the game from a players perspective, especially in college.
With that, I present the Top 9 reasons why playing college baseball sucks.
Why 9? Thats baseball. (Shoutout MLB Network countdowns)
9. No Tobacco Rule
This only applies to a few people, but as someone who was addicted, and was allowed to practice while packing a lip, playing without one made it a little difficult. And I wasn’t going to practice without it. So thats on you NCAA
8. Playing the infield
This is the only one where it only applies to one position. As mentioned earlier, these are full grown men playing this game, with metal bats. As a former SS/3B these balls get on you quick. And with the ‘Take one for the team/Get in front of it or your benched’ attitude, those one hoppers off the chest, potentially face, are not easy to swallow.
I actually enjoyed traveling on the weekends. Hotel rooms in a new city, with 20 of your boys during the school year? Sounds great. The travel I am talking about that sucks is the midweek games. Where you travel anywhere from 1-5 hours away play a game, then travel back. Other sports, which happen to be much better funded sports, travel the night before so they can rest properly, wake up, play and go home.
6. Playing well past the end of the school year
Hey, its mid May, finals are done, everyone go home! Except you baseball players. Baseball players you need to stay an extra 2-3 weeks, with literally no one els eon campus. Have fun! Oh, also if you live in a dorm you need to move out.
5. Playing in the Cold
Coming from New Jersey, I thought I would be somewhat more prepared than the rest of my teammates to play in cold weather. I was wrong. Unless you live below South Carolina, you can almost guarantee that you will be either be practicing or playing in sub 40 degree cold. Which makes it extremely difficult to do anything with your hands. Hard-ass coaches and umpires don’t care. If the field is playable, go play. Also you cant do anything to warm up because the coaches will never look at you the same. You just need to play as if it is 60 degrees.
Whether you agree with Title 9 or not, every team is allocated a certain amount of scholarships. What I believe Title 9 say is each school must have the same amount of scholarships ‘per sex.’ So if there are 300 male scholarships, there must be 300 female. Sounds good in theory. But when it comes down to it, because football get almost half of those, the rest of the male sports need to split them. So the max a baseball team can have is 11.7 scholarships divided among 35 players. You can see my frustration, as despite have a large scholarship, I still have massive amount of student debt. At the same time, everyone on the Women’s Volleyball team is graduating debt free attracting an average of 0 non family member fans per match.
College baseball schedules work like this (unless you play below D1 or play in the IVY League). You play 56 games from the second Friday in February to mid May, sometimes June if you make the tournament. You play mid week games during the week either Tuesday and/ or Wednesday and then a 3 game series every Friday, Saturday, Sunday. The only sport to play literally every weekend day, every weekend. While most teams still ‘go out’ in season, this makes it very difficult and still have to be somewhat conscious. Football, can go out every Saturday in season, holding nothing back. Almost every sport can do the same. Not baseball. You have to be at the park at 8am the next day, so play it cool champ.
2. Summer Baseball
You know how when you are in college, summer is the best because there is literally no work at all? You get to see HS friends and catch up, telling each other sick party stories. Sometimes, you may even get a little taste of the real world with an internship and really build up your resume increasing you chances to land a good job. Well if you play college baseball, instead of going home to enjoy a nice break after playing 56+ games, you get to go to a random location (typically in the middle of nowhere) to live with a family you never met (typically crazy family) and play 50+ more! Sounds great!
1. Time Spent
This is by far the biggest downfall to baseball compared to other sports. I am not saying that other sports don’t put in a lot of work and time, they do. But baseball puts in a lot of unnecessary time. For example, if a basketball game is at 5, I would imagine they get there at 3ish, get ready play for 2-2.5 hours and are out of the arena another 30 minutes later. Baseball, because of batting practice for both team, infield practice, regular warm up, and setting up the field, requires that you get to field about 4 hours before a game. Not only that but you then play a 3+ hour game because its the longest game on the universe. Then after the game you need to clean up the field and everything adding about another hour. So for a game at 5, I would typically get there at like 12:30 and now leave until 9ish. Thats just one game. Don’t forget about double headers. There were many days where I would get to the field at 8am and leave at 8pm. Just brutal.
So there you have it. All of the reasons why playing baseball sucks. On top of all this, we are expected to do the same as everyone else. Get the same grades, keep up with school, extra curricular, and social events, get a good job without internship experience etc. Life as a collegiate baseball player was tough.
While I am certainly complaining and think things need to change, I am by no means trying to persuade people to not play baseball. These experiences, whether frustrating or not, where some of the best times I have ever had with my friends and memories I will never forget. I made some of my best friends from baseball, and I recommend that anyone that can play baseball in college, do so.