Opinion | Baseball is the Most Mentally Challenging Sport of All

The mental stress of baseball

Opinion | Baseball is the Most Mentally Challenging Sport of All

Jonathan Fonseca David, Staffer

Imagine you’re playing in the major leagues of baseball. You’re playing third base and you miss a game-winning ground ball. All your teammates are frustrated and upset with you. Will you make this stick with you for the future? You got to forget about the past but that game was a huge game your team needed to win! You can’t let it get to you and start again in the next game.

People may think that baseball is an overall easy sport to play. In reality, it’s a hard and very mentally challenging sport. The thing about baseball is that you have so much dead time waiting for a pitch, this can bring overthinking and anxiety. 

First of all, there is more failure than success in baseball. Every player that plays baseball has to hit. A good average in MLB (Major League Baseball) is .300 and higher. This means that a good hitter constantly gets on 3/10 times they go up to bat. This also means that they get out 6 or 7 times they go up to the plate. Also, tons of players hit in the .200s which means that they have to deal with failure tons of times. This concludes that you have to be prepared for failure and have the mental toughness to play this game. You can even see MLB players having anger tantrums after striking out in a big moment.

Another reason is, that playing baseball can take a huge toll on mental health. Baseball can be psychologically draining at times. The slowed-paced game doesn’t help either. Also, the thoughts and tiny margins or making an error are huge. This can be a reason why baseball players’ mental health can be so vulnerable. According to the National Institute of Mental health, 26.2% of Americans 18 or older suffer from a mental disorder at any time of their life. But from 1972 through 1991, no MLB players were placed on DL for mental health issues. In the past 5 years, there has been a vast variety of them over the years.

Last but not least, baseball players have been quitting due to mental issues and exhaustion. One huge example of this is Ian Snell. In his first seasons he was okay and under the radar but the pressure got to him. During his seasons he put mediocre numbers of an era around 5 and a losing win or loss record. After all this he devoted himself to triple-A. After all of this, he dropped the Pirates organization due to suicidal thoughts. Ian Snell tried to make a comeback to Seattle but later in the season, he announced his retirement.

Everybody shouldn’t judge a sport by how popular it is or how talented you need to at least have a chance of playing it. They should judge it by what’s really inside the sport, what players do to prepare and get ready to play. Baseball is the most mentally challenging sport and it shows by what players had said and what we have seen.