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Fear of the ball

April 8, 2012 - Burt Angeli
It’s that time of year when youngsters decide on baseball or playing something else.

Kids can turn to soccer, tennis and other activities.

Why not baseball?

“Fear is why the seven-year old retreats to the safety of soccer the first time he's hit by a pitch or takes a ground ball off his lips,” writes ESPN baseball commentator Tim Kurkjian in his book “Is This a Great Game or What?”

Kurkjian, a veteran baseball beat writer until moving to television, bounced the topic off several people.

"Fear of the ball is real, dude," Red manager Dusty Baker said.

Tiger great Al Kaline told White Sox announcer and former star Hawk Harrelson, "we all have fear at the plate."

Added Harrelson, “We're losing a thousand kids a year to fear because they're afraid. All big leaguers have fear."

Fear of the ball, Kurkjian writes, is why baseball is the hardest game in the world to play.   Joe Torre, who will one day enter the Baseball Hall of Fame for his managerial skills, says "You can't have courage unless you're afraid. If you don't have fear, there's nothing to be brave about."

Kids, give baseball a try. Even baseball’s best have to play through fear.

 
 
 

 

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