Monday, June 27, 2011


I have always loved sports and music. I was either playing sports, watching sports, listening to music or playing music. If you ever watch those NFL films, it is the music that makes the highlights so fun. When a batter comes to the  plate, there is a thing called walk-up music and when a reliever comes in to close out the game, there is a signature piece of music for that reliever. Music and sports goes hand in hand.

What's really cool is to look at the styles and theory of music and how they compare to the game of baseball.

No matter what instrument you play and no matter what you do in baseball, you have to have rhythm.  When you play the guitar, you might be able to play all the notes but if you have no rhythm, it sounds like hell. A pitcher gets into a groove during the course of a baseball game and he gets into a rhythm. This is the same rhythm that a jazz ensemble has during an improvisational portion of a piece of music. Once both of these artists get into a rhythm, it's a thing of beauty to watch and listen to.

Playing the outfield has a lot in common with music. When you are in the outfield, you are playing off the rhythm of the pitcher and the rhythm of the batter's swing. You move in a certain direction according to these rhythms. The sound of the bat hitting the ball is also a note in this symphony because it is a musical cue for which way you are going to go. Just like any music, there is a time signature, (1 and 2 and 3 and 4), catching and throwing from the outfield has its own time signature, with the body taking a certain amount of steps in unison with the arm coming forward and the ball zipping back to the infield. Without a sense of rhythm, these throws wouldn't  make it anywhere near the infield.

Base stealing is the ultimate musical score. A great base stealer will always get on the same page of music with the pitcher. The base stealer needs to understand the pitcher's rhythm and then make it his own. With a runner on base and the pitcher holding the runner on, is comparable to the silence between the notes. The tension for the next note to sound is just like the tension on whether the runner is going or staying.

Baseball and music both have no set clock. The baseball game goes on until someone wins. A piece of music has it's parameters but once the band starts to jam, it isn't over until the band is done.  Baseball might appear to be a slow moving game but there is a lot going on in that musical score.

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