While many people are only familiar with baseball, the debate on baseball vs. lacrosse has been going on for many years now.
And since lacrosse is becoming increasingly popular, their fan base has increased, and the sports rivalry is even more serious than before.
If you are not familiar with the fundamental differences between the two sports, I can help you!
Whether you want to research for yourself or a kid who isn’t sure which sports they want to join, you will find everything you need to know here.
I have elaborated the discussion and divided it into two sections.
First, I’ll discuss the similarities between the two sports and then move on to the differences.
Doing this will help you create an unbiased picture in your mind and help me stay neutral.
So, let’s begin!
Baseball vs Lacrosse – The Similarities
Starting with what’s common between the two sports, the list is pretty short:
Both lacrosse and baseball demand physically fit players with good hand-eye coordination and speed skills.
These athletic capabilities are essential in both games and are, thus, a common factor between the two.
It also means that you can join either of the two teams if you have these two skills.
Secondly, both baseball and lacrosse are high-intensity, physically demanding games.
The physical involvement of the players and other professionals on the team is high in both sports.
Both games involve running and being physically active throughout the duration.
Apart from demanding physical energy and power, baseball and lacrosse require mental strength as well.
Players and other team members need to be vigilant, attentive, and psychologically alert throughout the period.
Their ability to read the room, understand body language and make quick and correct decisions is highly important.
Hence, both games are physically and mentally demanding.
Baseball vs Lacrosse – The Differences
And that pretty much compiles the similarities when we discuss baseball vs. lacrosse!
Now, let’s talk about the most significant differences between these two and why they are separated from each other:
Indeed, I mentioned that hand-eye coordination and speed skills are common between baseball and lacrosse games.
However, some other skills are required in one but not the other. For example, baseball includes specific skills, like catching, hitting, and throwing.
These skills required practice, repetition, and a lot of work.
However, even the best baseball players, who excel at the game, are not extraordinary in strength or speed.
Similarly, lacrosse focuses on a player’s ability to run.
The focus is on the footwork since the game involves many moves, dodges, and fakes.
You can also say that baseball requires upper body skills while lacrosse focuses more on the lower body.
Gear And Equipment Needed
Baseball essentially requires a bat that can be made from metal, wood, or aluminum materials.
The ball is usually 3 inches big (diameter) and is overall white with red stitches.
Baseball players must also wear protective gear on their heads, knees, arms, and mouth.
In contrast, lacrosse involves two sticks: a long stick and a short one. Both these sticks have a net at their ends that catches the ball coming towards them.
A lacrosse ball is usually made from solid rubber and is around 8 inches big.
Since it comes fast-moving towards the player, lacrosse athletes must wear helmets with gloves, arm pads, shoulder pads, and mouthpieces to protect themselves.
Overall, the gear required in lacrosse is typically more compared to baseball.
The Concept Of The Game
The overall concept and mechanisms of both baseball and lacrosse are quite different as well.
Lacrosse is more fast-paced, to the point where it is sometimes dangerous.
Hence, these games are not professional or career-oriented. Instead, they are more popularly played as a fun hobby.
In contrast, baseball is more strategy-oriented and cultural.
The game is historical and has a more extensive American fan base since it is a part of their sports traditions.
Baseball players can opt for the sports as their career and earn thousands and even millions of dollars playing nationally and internationally.
The team distribution and the number of players in both sports are also different.
For example, baseball involves nine players in every team.
These players include the pitcher, the catcher, shortstop, the baseman (first, second, and third), and right, center, and left outfielders.
In lacrosse, however, the active players, as well as their numbers, are different.
For example, it involves one goalkeeper, three attackers, three midfielders, and three defenders.
So, in total, one game involves ten players on a lacrosse field.
But despite the apparent differences between the players and their jobs, there are some similarities between a pitcher and an attacker and a catcher and a goalie.
The way you are supposed to play and win the game is also very different for the two sports.
Baseball, as I specified before, involves a lot of throwing and catching.
In order to score a goal in baseball, the batter needs to make sure he hits the ball so that it lands in a specific area.
Then, he is supposed to run across four different bases.
Before the hitter can reach the base he’s targeting, the fielder of the opposite team has to catch and throw the ball to that base.
If he successfully does so, he can score a point. And if the hitter reaches the base before the ball can, it is a point for him.
A player can score 4 points maximum in a single hit. If the ball leaves the field area and lands in the audience crowd, it is called a home run hit.
In lacrosse, the scoring system is entirely different.
First, the ball is to be propelled from the stick into a particular area. Then, every time the ball hits that goal, the team scores a point.
Duration Of The Game
Moving further down the discussion of baseball vs. lacrosse, another essential point is how long the game actually goes on and how long it takes to finish one game.
Baseball games usually go on for nine innings. In this duration, both teams bat once, and it takes around 3 hours to finish the game.
On the other hand, one lacrosse game is divided into four different quarters, each of which lasts around 20 minutes.
So, you can say that one complete lacrosse game would go on for around 80 or so minutes which is about an hour and a half.
Risks Of Injury
When I discussed the amount of protection gear needed for a lacrosse game compared to a baseball game,
I think I made it pretty obvious that the former is a relatively more dangerous game.
Lacrosse has a higher risk of injury since it involves fast running, dodging, and risky movements.
After practice sessions only, players often come back with bruises, cuts, and wounds.
I haven’t even talked about the actual full-length game yet!
In contrast, baseball has much fewer chances of injuries since the game is more strategy-oriented and does not involve much hard play or forceful impact.
Don’t get me wrong; even baseball has its specific field injuries like any other sport.
I’m comparing the ratio of such occurrences in both baseball and lacrosse games and their severity.
Every time the batter swings his bat to hit the ball and misses, it counts as a strike.
Thus, in the entire baseball game, the player gets a total of three strikes before he is “out” of the game.
In lacrosse, the criteria for a penalty are different.
If one player is being offside or grabs the jersey of another player or hits him in any way, this can result in a “time out.”
A time-out means that the player is removed from the field for some time and has to rest in the penalty box outside the game.
The Action Element
Even though both baseball and lacrosse games involve a lot of physical movement and keep the audience engaged, the action element is very different in the two sports.
Simply put, lacrosse is more entertaining compared to baseball.
Because it is packed with movement and action.
Whereas, in baseball, you have to wait to see what happens and keep your eye on the game to see if anything interesting comes up.
You will often notice that the crowd of a baseball game is much quieter compared to that of a lacrosse game.
Which game you like better depends on your personal preferences and what kind of crowd you want to be a part of.
The Impact Of Weather Conditions
Technically, weather conditions and external environments should have an equal impact on both games since they are outdoor activities and require a big field.
However, you will typically notice that a baseball crowd is more affected by bad weather conditions than a lacrosse crowd.
One explanation for this observation is that lacrosse is more action-packed, which is why both audiences and players of the game are far more energetic.
So, harsh weather and temperatures don’t bother them as much.
Last but not least, it is also worth mentioning that baseball is a more popular game than lacrosse.
However, the fan following and audience for the latter are increasing over time.
This awareness is leading to more possible opportunities and crowded lacrosse grounds.
In addition, more and more people are joining the name and playing it, leading to an ever-growing awareness.
The Rivalry Between Baseball And Lacrosse
Before ending this comparison, I also want to talk about why we are comparing baseball and lacrosse in the first place and why there is a rivalry between the two.
There are several reasons why both athletes are not fond of each other, and while this rivalry is not everywhere, it is widespread:
Both Games Are Attracting The Same Athletes
Every year, around the spring season, baseball and lacrosse teams are looking for athletes to recruit.
And since both games require similar skills and physical capabilities, they are typically looking for the same group of athletes.
Since both sports want to attract the best athletes, which are very rare to be found in a particular crowd, they have to compete, creating a rivalry.
Baseball Players Cannot Play Lacrosse
Since baseball and lacrosse seasons overlap, players of the former sports never get a chance to play the latter.
Because of this reason, baseball players never get a chance to be exposed to the other game, and it only further creates rivalry between the two.
They Fight For The Same High School Resources
All high schools offer a certain amount of financial resources for athletic programs and sports activities.
Since lacrosse and baseball are accommodated in the same season, the two programs clash, and teams fight for the resources offered by high schools.
This creates conscious and subconscious rivalry between both games.
Both Struggle For A Fanbase
As I said, the fan following and audience for lacrosse is increasing over time.
However, a considerable part of this crowd comes from the baseball section, reducing the number of people in that fandom.
Baseball players and organizations need this fanbase and, thus, disapprove of lacrosse attracting their fans.
It’s A Generational Rivalry!
Even though lacrosse has just started to get attention, that does not mean that it has not been around for many years.
Several American generations have played both baseball and lacrosse, and this rivalry has existed for many years.
Apart from all the reasons I’ve discussed above, in many places in America, this rivalry is entirely generational and is based on simply the fact that it has been passed down from the older players!
Besides, all games need a rival for healthy competition, right?
And with that, I conclude my baseball vs. lacrosse comparison.
I kept my biases and personal opinions away from this comparison so you can look at the similarities and differences and decide on your own.
Whether you wanted to choose a sport for your kid, yourself, or just looking for general information, I hope the elaborate discussion above helped you get your answers.
Remember: regardless of how popular a game is, if you’re not interested in it, it will always bore you!
Stop listening to what others say about either baseball or lacrosse, and join the fandom that fits your personality!