For ages, people have been debating which sport is the hardest. Of course, these kinds of discussions never can escape bias and subjectivity.
Usually, everyone believes that their favorite sport is the one that demands the most from the athletes.
Creating an objective list of hardest sports is incredibly difficult as every sport is played in a different environment, has different rules, and requires a different type of athlete.
However, all things considered, baseball has a pretty good case as the most demanding sport.
There are many valid arguments for why baseball is the hardest sport and the closer you’re to the game the more obvious they are.
I’ll try to list and explain at least some of the factors that back up the claim that baseball is the most difficult sport there is.
Why Baseball Is The Hardest Sport?
In most sports, you can get very far and achieve success by leaning on only one single ability.
Whether it’s physical prowess, superior stamina, exceptional skill, or mental toughness, each of these traits can get you to a pro-level.
On the other hand, baseball is a rare sport where success is not possible without a combination of all these skills.
Every player on the team, except perhaps for pitchers or designated hitters, has to be good at everything.
Team success is not possible unless each of its members demonstrates a high level of each of these abilities.
And, they have to do it for at least 162 games in a year. That’s a longer and more grueling season than in any other major sport.
I’ll go one by one and dig deeper into why all of these abilities are necessary to become an accomplished baseball player.
Baseball is easily among the sports that take the most mental toll on their players.
Playing at the top level, when the stakes are high, is impossible without being fully mentally prepared.
Just consider that the best batters in the game have a hitting average of around .30.
This means that they fail 70 percent of the time.
Dealing with this kind of failure over and over requires a player to have an incredible mental fortitude and to be able to go on hitting unshaken by all the misses.
In addition, every player must be prepared to react the best possible way in a millisecond, even though they may not be involved in the play for long periods of time.
Still, they never know when it’s their turn to shine and have to be 100% ready to go at any moment.
Furthermore, most of these plays happen in high-pressure situations.
While it may not seem so to a casual observer, baseball is an extremely physically demanding sport.
Most baseball players have to be able to do everything on the field.
They have to be strong, fast, and still nimble enough to react to the events on the field almost instantly.
Unlike most sports which involve constant motion, baseball action usually happens in short bursts.
Pitching, hitting, or sprinting for the base requires tremendous physical effort concentrated in just a few seconds.
In these situations, anything other than the top form can easily lead to injuries. Plus, while running, outfielders also have to concentrate on other things.
Imagine how hard it is to be in a full sprint while at the same time tracking a small white ball that travels almost 300 feet.
Coordination is often forgotten when we talk about athletic ability, and in baseball, it’s absolutely necessary,
High Skill Level
Getting good in baseball is not possible without spending countless hours at practice. it’s often said that hitting is the hardest job in all sports.
The average speed of fastball pitches is over 90 mph.
They’re thrown from 60 feet away which means that the batter has only .4 seconds to react.
In that time, a batter has to identify the pitch, guess where it will end up, decide whether to swing.
And, if he swings, he has to hit the small round ball with a round bat.
Of course, besides just making a contact, hitters try to hit the sweet spot so they make a good hit.
In addition, most of the pitchers have a couple of different pitches in their arsenal.
Going against best hitters requires an extremely skillful pitcher capable of throwing balls that are so fast, precise, and deceiving that batters can’t even make a contact.
The Most Difficult Road To The Pros
The road to becoming a baseball pro is probably the most difficult compared to any other sport.
Only 1% of high-school players make it to colleges. From college, only 1% make it to the pros.
And, even those who get drafted will most likely never step foot on the MLB field.
Almost every player has to go through minor leagues and many never make it beyond that level.
Those that do, usually have to wait a couple of years.
It’s not by accident that MLB Rookies of the Year are often 23, 24, 25 years old while in some other leagues, like the NBA, players are already contributing at 19.
Watching a baseball game, most of the things players do look easy, but, that’s only because professional ballplayers make it seem so.
Actually, every move they make is far from being easy or simple.
Behind every pitch, every hit, every base run, and every throw there is an enormous effort, backed by plenty of experience, and a lot of time spent practicing.
Besides, team sports don’t usually have the pressure baseball brings.
Usually, you can hide individual mistakes. In baseball, they are very obvious to anyone who’s watching.
Players we see on TV are those rare ones that managed to achieve the highest level of mental strength, physical ability, and skill.
Each of them has passed a long and difficult road to get to where they are now.
Baseball being the hardest sport may be up for discussion, but no one can deny the difficulties involved in playing this game.