Baseball is all about form and skill — and courage

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia

Keeping his eye on the ball, Blake Shaver, 7, practices in the batting cage Saturday at Berne’s Summerfest. He is perfecting the skills that Trevor Donovan, a first baseman, says are essential to the sport. “I just want people to respect what we athletes do,” he writes.

To the Editor:

Do you think that baseball is just a couple of kids standing around and hitting balls with bats? If you’ve never played it, you don’t really know that.

What would you do if a ball were hurtling at you at maybe 30 miles per hour? Most kids would more than likely just try to dodge it, while baseball kids have to stand there and try to catch it.

I just want people to understand that baseball takes skill. I also want people to realize that baseball players get hurt every game and that baseball is somewhat dangerous.

Being a first baseman I get hit by the ball maybe three times a game, because my job is to make sure the balls don’t get past me no matter what, even if I have to dive in front of them, like say if some kid throws a bad throw to first base and it just dives down in front of me, I’m supposed to get on one knee and either catch it or block it, with my body. 

I get how some people could think that baseball is just kids hitting balls with sticks. And, for a portion of the game, I will admit that it is just that, but, when you hear the crack of the bat, adrenaline runs through you as you see that ball hurtling at you. But then you feel even better knowing that you made the play and got the out.

Baseball is all about form and skill. I read that to hit a round ball with a round bat accurately is one of the hardest things to do, and baseball players do it daily. I want to emphasize that form is everything in baseball. If something is wrong with your form, things can go wrong fast, and I once saw a kid break his arm from sliding wrong.

Skill, like in all sports, is a huge part of baseball too. Have you ever known what it’s like to have a fast pitch coming at you, knowing that there is a good chance it could hit you?

But you have to stay strong and swing. You also have to work to perfect your form. Without form, baseball would be almost impossible. 

One thing that makes the ball travel so fast is some bats have this thing called a trampoline effect that makes the ball bounce off the bat like a person would a trampoline. There are new rules that forbid players from using “trampoline” bats and make it more like a wooden bat, which is all human power.

Baseball can be very stressful on young athletes. I’ve seen some parents act like it’s the major leagues and, if their kids make one little mistake, they just start flipping out on them. My parents are nice, when it comes to sports, like when I make a mistake they just tell me to shake it off and get the next one.

Baseball is also highly dangerous; baseball has the highest fatality rate of any sport for players ages 5 to 14. Some people might just look at that funny and say, “How?”

In 2010, a kid named Gunnar Sandberg threw a pitch; it came back at him, hitting his head and fracturing his skull, sending him in a coma for three weeks. Pitchers are the most at danger since they’re closer to the batter and it’s more than likely that the ball is going to come back and hit them. All it takes is one hit to the chest to make your heart stop beating.

I just want people to respect what we as athletes do. People don’t realize how hard it is to throw a baseball. Just respect us and don’t make snap decisions about sports you’ve never even played. So don’t think that it’s just kids standing around and hitting balls with sticks. Realize that it goes much deeper and there is more than meets the eye.

Trevor Donovan

Farnsworth Middle School

Guilderland