You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.
~Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970
If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base.
People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.
I'm convinced that every boy, in his heart, would rather steal second base than an automobile.
A good cigar is like a beautiful chick with a great body who also knows the American League box scores.
~M*A*S*H, Klinger, "Bug-Out," 1976
A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz.
You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too.
No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined.
There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
~Al Gallagher, 1971
A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.
Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up.
What is both surprising and delightful is that spectators are allowed, and even expected, to join in the vocal part of the game.... There is no reason why the field should not try to put the batsman off his stroke at the critical moment by neatly timed disparagements of his wife's fidelity and his mother's respectability.
~George Bernard Shaw
I see great things in baseball. It's our game - the American game. It will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.
Baseball is a fun game. It beats working for a living.
When they start the game, they don't yell, "Work ball." They say, "Play ball."
~Willie Stargell, 1981
Baseball is the only major sport that appears backwards in a mirror.
~George Carlin, Brain Droppings, 1997
Back then, my idol was Bugs Bunny, because I saw a cartoon of him playing ball - you know, the one where he plays every position himself with nobody else on the field but him? Now that I think of it, Bugs is still my idol. You have to love a ballplayer like that.
I don't want to play golf. When I hit a ball, I want someone else to go chase it.
When you're in a slump, it's almost as if you look out at the field and it's one big glove.
With those who don't give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can't think of anything to say to them.
That's baseball, and it's my game. Y' know, you take your worries to the game, and you leave 'em there. You yell like crazy for your guys. It's good for your lungs, gives you a lift, and nobody calls the cops. Pretty girls, lots of 'em.
When we played softball, I'd steal second base, feel guilty and go back.
Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire's eye or on the ball.
Baseball is the only sport I know that when you're on offense, the other team controls the ball.
~Ken Harrelson, Sports Illustrated, 6 September 1976
Good pitching will beat good hitting any time, and vice versa.
~Bob Veale, 1966
Every hitter likes fastballs, just like everybody likes ice cream. But you don't like it when someone's stuffing it into you by the gallon. That's what it feels like when Nolan Ryan's thrown balls by you.
Strikeouts are boring - besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls. More democratic.
~From the movie Bull Durham
Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?
~Jim Bouton, 1988
Nolan Ryan is pitching much better now that he has his curve ball straightened out.
I don't care how long you've been around, you'll never see it all.
~Bob Lemon, 1977
It's hard to win a pennant, but it's harder losing one.
Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.
Say this much for big league baseball - it is beyond question the greatest conversation piece ever invented in America.
The charm of baseball is that, dull as it may be on the field, it is endlessly fascinating as a rehash.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
~A. Bartlett Giamatti, "The Green Fields of the Mind," Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977
Watching a spring training game is as exciting as watching a tree form its annual ring.
The designated hitter rule is like letting someone else take Wilt Chamberlain's free throws.
~Rick Wise, 1974
If a horse can't eat it, I don't want to play on it.
~Dick Allen, on artificial turf, 1970
A ball player's got to be kept hungry to become a big-leaguer. That's why no boy from a rich family ever made the big leagues.
~Joe DiMaggio, quoted in New York Times, 30 April 1961
Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off.
Wives of ballplayers, when they teach their children their prayers, should instruct them how to say: "God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, God bless Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth has upped Daddy's paycheck by fifteen to forty percent."
Trying to sneak a pitch past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster.
~Attributed to both Joe Adcock and Curt Simmons
Baseball is the only place in life where a sacrifice is really appreciated.
Ideally, the umpire should combine the integrity of a Supreme Court judge, the physical agility of an acrobat, the endurance of Job and the imperturbability of Buddha.
~"The Villains in Blue," Time magazine, 25 August 1961
I've come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen.
~Bob Lemon, 1981
No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference.
You don't save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.
~Leo Durocher, in New York Times, 16 May 1965
You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all.
It's no coincidence that female interest in the sport of baseball has increased greatly since the ballplayers swapped those wonderful old-time baggy flannel uniforms for leotards.
Pro-rated at 500 at-bats a year that means that for two years out of the fourteen I played, I never even touched the ball.
~Norm Cash, on his 1,081 strikeouts
During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.
~Mickey Mantle, 1970
Sandy's fastball was so fast, some batters would start to swing as he was on his way to the mound.
~Jim Murray, on Sandy Koufax
I was such a dangerous hitter I even got intentional walks in batting practice.
~Casey Stengel, 1967
Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex, and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem.
The strongest thing that baseball has going for it today are its yesterdays.
The pitcher has to find out if the hitter is timid. And if the hitter is timid, he has to remind the hitter he's timid.
~Don Drysdale, quoted in New York Times, 9 July 1979
It ain't like football. You can't make up no trick plays.
Baseball, to me, is still the national pastime because it is a summer game. I feel that almost all Americans are summer people, that summer is what they think of when they think of their childhood. I think it stirs up an incredible emotion within people.
~Steve Busby, in Washington Post, 8 July 1974
A baseball fan has the digestive apparatus of a billy goat. He can, and does, devour any set of diamond statistics with insatiable appetite and then nuzzles hungrily for more.
That's the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on a ball.
~Bill Veeck, 1976
A baseball park is the one place where a man's wife doesn't mind his getting excited over somebody else's curves.
Every player should be accorded the privilege of at least one season with the Chicago Cubs. That's baseball as it should be played - in God's own sunshine. And that's really living.
Baseball is not necessarily an obsessive-compulsive disorder, like washing your hands 100 times a day, but it's beginning to seem that way. We're reaching the point where you can be a truly dedicated, state-of-the-art fan or you can have a life. Take your pick.
~Thomas Boswell, Washington Post, 13 April 1990
This is a game to be savored, not gulped. There's time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings.
A critic once characterized baseball as six minutes of action crammed into two-and-one-half hours.
~Ray Fitzgerald, in Boston Glove, 1970
I don't know why people like the home run so much. A home run is over as soon as it starts.... The triple is the most exciting play of the game. A triple is like meeting a woman who excites you, spending the evening talking and getting more excited, then taking her home. It drags on and on. You're never sure how it's going to turn out.
~George Foster, 1978
Baseball is a game dominated by vital ghosts; it's a fraternity, like no other we have of the active and the no longer so, the living and the dead.
The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love.
~Bryant Gumbel, 1981
There have been only two geniuses in the world. Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.
Baseball fans love numbers. They love to swirl them around their mouths like Bordeaux wine.
Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball.
More than any other American sport, baseball creates the magnetic, addictive illusion that it can almost be understood.
~Thomas Boswell, in Inside Sports
Baseball? It's just a game - as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. It's a sport, business - and sometimes even religion.
~Ernie Harwell, "The Game for All America," 1955
My dad taught me to switch-hit. He and my grandfather, who was left-handed, pitched to me everyday after school in the back yard. I batted lefty against my dad and righty against my granddad.
I don't love baseball. I don't love most of today's players. I don't love the owners. I do love, however, the baseball that is in the heads of baseball fans. I love the dreams of glory of 10-year-olds, the reminiscences of 70-year-olds. The greatest baseball arena is in our heads, what we bring to the games, to the telecasts, to reading newspaper reports.
~Stan Isaacs, "Diamond-Studded Memories," Newsday, 9 April 1990
Baseball is a harbor, a seclusion from failure that really matters, a playful utopia in which virtuosity can be savored to the third decimal place of a batting average.
Basketball, hockey and track meets are action heaped upon action, climax upon climax, until the onlooker's responses become deadened. Baseball is for the leisurely afternoons of summer and for the unchanging dreams.
[L]ike those special afternoons in summer when you go to Yankee Stadium at two o'clock in the afternoon for an eight o'clock game. It's so big, so empty and so silent that you can almost hear the sounds that aren't there.
Why does everybody stand up and sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when they're already there?
Things could be worse. Suppose your errors were counted and published every day, like those of a baseball player.
All requests for leave of absence on account of grandmother's funeral, sore throat, housecleaning, lame back, turning of the ringer, headaches, brain storm, cousin's wedding, general ailments or other legitimate excuses must be made out and handed to the boss not later than 10 a.m. on the morning of the game.
~Traditional gag notice hung in offices and factories at a time period when all games were played during daylight hours
Baseball is very big with my people. It figures. It's the only way we can get to shake a bat at a white man without starting a riot.
Baseball is reassuring. It makes me feel as if the world is not going to blow up.
~Sharon Olds, This Sporting Life, 1987
One of the chief duties of the fan is to engage in arguments with the man behind him. This department of the game has been allowed to run down fearfully.
Though I like the various forms of football in the world, I don't think they begin to compare with these two great Anglo-Saxon ball games for sophisticated elegance and symbolism. Baseball and cricket are beautiful and highly stylized medieval war substitutes, chess made flesh, a mixture of proud chivalry and base - in both senses - greed. With football we are back to the monotonous clashing armor of the brontosaurus.
It is well to remember that a Martian observing his first baseball game would be quite correct in concluding that the last two words of the National Anthem are: PLAY BALL!
~Herbert H. Paper, in Cincinnati Enquirer, 2 April 1989
I believe in the Church of Baseball. I tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance.
~Ron Shelton, Bull Durham, 1988
The great thing about baseball is that there's a crisis every day.
I have discovered in twenty years of moving around a ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats.
A game of great charm in the adoption of mathematical measurements to the timing of human movements, the exactitudes and adjustments of physical ability to hazardous chance. The speed of the legs, the dexterity of the body, the grace of the swing, the elusiveness of the slide - these are the features that make Americans everywhere forget the last syllable of a man's last name or the pigmentation of his skin.
~Branch Rickey, May 1960
I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.
Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.
Don't forget to swing hard, in case you hit the ball.
Putting lights in Wrigley Field is like putting aluminum siding on the Sistine Chapel.
~Roger Simon, 1988
You know it's summertime at Candlestick when the fog rolls in, the wind kicks up, and you see the center fielder slicing open a caribou to survive the ninth inning.
The place was always cold, and I got the feeling that the fans would have enjoyed baseball more if it had been played with a hockey puck.
~Andre Dawson, on Montreal
A baseball game is twice as much fun if you're seeing it on the company's time.
~William C. Feather
Ninety feet between home plate and first base may be the closest man has ever come to perfection.
It ain't nothin' till I call it.
~Bill Klem, umpire
Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.
~George F. Will, Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, 1990
Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead.
Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in.
Baseball is an island of activity amidst a sea of statistics.
The greatest feeling in the world is to win a major league game. The second-greatest feeling is to lose a major league game.
~Chuck Tanner, quoted in The Sporting News, 15 July 1985
What we have are good gray ballplayers, playing a good gray game and reading the good gray Wall Street Journal. They have been brainwashed, dry-cleaned and dehydrated!... Wake up the echoes at the Hall of Fame and you will find that baseball's immortals were a rowdy and raucous group of men who would climb down off their plaques and go rampaging through Cooperstown, taking spoils.... Deplore it if you will, but Grover Cleveland Alexander drunk was a better pitcher than Grover Cleveland Alexander sober.
~Bill Veeck, The Hustler's Handbook
Baseball happens to be a game of cumulative tension but football, basketball and hockey are played with hand grenades and machine guns.
~John Leonard, New York Times, 2 November 1975
They are supposed to be dispassionate dispensers of Pure Justice, icy islands of emotionless calculation. In short, umpires should be acute Republicans.
~George F. Will, 1990
Baseball is a ballet without music. Drama without words.
~Ernie Harwell, "The Game for All America," 1955
Well, boys, it's a round ball and a round bat and you got to hit the ball square.
~Joe Schultz, 1969
Pitchers, like poets, are born not made.
What does a mama bear on the pill have in common with the World Series? No cubs.
You know you're pitching well when the batters look as bad as you do at the plate.
~Duke Snider, 1975
There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them work.
~Charlie Lau, 1982
It actually giggles at you as it goes by.
~Rick Monday, on Phil Niekro's knuckleball, quoted in Sports Illustrated, 1 August 1983
The best way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until the ball stops rolling and then pick it up.
[A knuckleball is] a curve ball that doesn't give a damn.
Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything.
~Toby Harrah, 1983
Reading about baseball is a lot more interesting than reading about chess, but you have to wonder: Don't any of these guys ever go fishing?
~Dave Shiflett, quoted in Houston Chronicle, 29 April 1990
I know a man who is a diamond cutter. He mows the lawn at Yankee Stadium.
Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.
~Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968
To a pitcher, a base hit is the perfect example of negative feedback.
~Steve Hovley, 1969
It never ceases to amaze me how many of baseball's wounds are self-inflicted.
~Bill Veeck, The Hustler's Handbook
A mystique of history and heritage surrounds the New York Yankees. It's like the old days revived. We're loved and hated, but always in larger doses than any other team. We're the only team in any sport whose name and uniform and insignia are synonymous with their entire sport all over the world.... the Yankees mean baseball to more people than all the other teams combined.
~Paul Blair, quoted in Washington Post, 22 June 1978
Hating the New York Yankees is as American as apple pie, unwed mothers and cheating on your income tax.
~Mike Royko, 1981
Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the house in blackjack.
~Adam Morrow, quoted in Bill Simmons, "Letters from the Nation," 20 October 2003
I have observed that baseball is not unlike war, and when you get right down to it, we batters are the heavy artillery.
Baseball is too much of a sport to be called a business, and too much of a business to be called a sport.
Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off... the right pitch will come, but when it does, be prepared to run the bases.
Baseball isn't a business, it's more like a disease.
~Walter F. O'Malley
England and America should scrap cricket and baseball and come up with a new game that they both can play. Like baseball, for example.
Baseball is the only game left for people. To play basketball, you have to be 7 feet 6 inches. To play football, you have to be the same width.
~Bill Veeck, 1975
Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast.
~Joe Garagiola, Baseball is a Funny Game
Don't park in the spaces marked, "Reserved for Umpires."
Baseball fans are junkies, and their heroin is the statistic.
~Robert S. Wieder
The season starts too early and finishes too late and there are too many games in between.
Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too.
~Greg, age 8
When Steve and I die, we are going to be buried in the same cemetery, 60-feet 6-inches apart.
~Tim McCarver, who caught all of Steve Carlton's games, 1977
What are we at the park for except to win? I'd trip my mother. I'd help her up, brusher her off, tell her I'm sorry. But mother don't make it to third.
There ought to be some other means of reckoning quality in this the best and loveliest of games; the scoreboard is an ass.
~Neville Cardus, A Fourth Innings with Cardus, 1981
In cricket, as in no other game, a great master may well go back to the pavilion scoreless.... In no other game does the law of averages get to work so potently, so mysteriously.
~Neville Cardus, Cardus on the Ashes, 1989
It's a funny kind of month, October.For the really keen cricket fan it's when you discover that your wife left you in May.
To have some idea what it's like, stand in the outside lane of a motorway, get your mate to drive his car at you at 95 mph and wait until he's 12 yards away, before you decide which way to jump.
~Geoffrey Boycott, 1989, how a cricket batsman feels when facing a fast bowler
Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
~Frederick B. Wilcox
Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.
Confucious say: "Baseball wrong - man with four balls cannot walk."