For more than a century, baseball has been a sport for young and old to play, but it also is a form of exercise. While the professional level of the sport has experienced some ebb and flow in prominence, baseball remains a staple youth activity around the world. The most important reason to play baseball is because you love the sport, but absent that reason, the sport offers other benefits that are reason enough to step between the baselines.
Baseball puts your body through a lot of movements during the game. Running, throwing, catching, moving from side to side and swinging a bat are all part of the game. The benefits don't start with "play ball." Even the stretching and warmup before the game improve flexibility, circulation and develop muscle.
Fielding the ball on the ground or on the fly involves a lot of moving parts working in harmony. You will develop a high level of hand-eye coordination as you practice and learn to apply the reflexes necessary to field a ground ball, shift weight and transfer the ball from your glove to your throwing hand, then throw the ball to another player. Hitting a baseball also requires a high level of hand-eye coordination.
Play Right Away
Cal Ripken Sr., put baseball into perspective. He said “baseball is a simple game played with bats, balls and people.” (Reference 2, p. ix) Baseball has a place for you, no matter your age, and depending on the league, your fitness level. There are starting roles for speedy and slight players, for slower and larger players, for those that can run for miles and for those who can only manage 90 feet at a time. (Reference 1. Page ix) Also, the only equipment that is absolutely necessary for basic play is a glove, a bat and a hat, and not every player even needs to bring a bat. The entire team can usually get by with two or three bats for all players. For more competitive play, you’ll need cleats and a uniform, but the essential gear is minimal.
Work Within a Team
Baseball provides a good platform for instilling teamwork. On defense, there is nowhere to hide. The ball can be hit to you at any time, on any play. This gives each player a high level of responsibility to the team. According to Kevin Kush, this sense of responsibility develops the idea that current actions lead directly to future results, and helps young players distinguish the chain of events from effort to completion from the impression of a random series of events. (Reference 4, p. 61)
Baseball is Timeless
With a few minor exceptions, baseball today is the same sport with the same fundamental rules that your parents, grandparents and perhaps great-grandparents knew. For a sport so rich in its simplicity, baseball is a sport that is often handed down from one generation to the next with ease. Major League Baseball has plenty of father-and-son tandems in its history, along with numerous examples of brothers all playing together. Baseball can form a type of community that stretches across the generations in a way that few things are ever able to manage while remaining recognizable.