What is Baseball Sportsmanship?
Baseball Sportsmanship is the idea of respecting one's opponent throughout the entirety of a baseball game. It can be represented in many different ways, from respecting opposing pitchers to pitching the ball at the batter with the no intention of hitting him. Baseball Sportsmanship is an idea that has been encouraged since the start of the sport and will most likely continue to be encouraged in the future.
What Does Baseball Sportsmanship Look Like?
Sportsmanship can be shown in a variety of different ways from a variety of different baseball figures.
The manager is the most important figure in demonstrating sportsmanship, often because the players respond and copy his behavior. For example, a manager who often argues with umpires and gets ejected from games will likely coach players who believe that behavior is encouraged.
For the players, sportsmanship is typically shown both during the game and after the game. In Little League baseball, it is traditional of the teams to shake hands after a game is completed to show respect towards your opponent.
Another figure that has to show good sportsmanship in baseball is the fans. In Little League baseball, the fans are typically the parents of many of the players, so they may be more emotionally involved in the game as opposed to the regular fan. But to show good sportsmanship during a game, the parents must restrain themselves from arguing with the umpires, yelling or chanting at opposing teams, or getting angry at the coach for his game strategy. For Major League baseball, the fans must be respectful towards opposing teams by not using vulgar, explicit language towards them, chanting or yelling at players during their at-bats, or throwing food or drink items onto the field when angry. Many times, this isn't an issue at Major League Baseball games with good security, but once in a while, some fans may cross the line between good and bad sportsmanship.
There are a few different sportsmanship issues in our current age of baseball, but the two of the most common problems are intentionally beaming a batter and flipping the bat after you know you hit a home run.
Hitting a Batter
Sometimes when a specific batter is doing well at the plate or has demonstrated poor sportsmanship, the opposing pitcher will throw intentionally at the batter with the hope of hitting him and hurting him. Many times when a pitcher throws a pitch in the direction of the batter, the umpire will issue a warning to both benches, because the pitch may or may not have been intentional. And if there is another occurrence of a pitch hitting or close to hitting a batter, the pitcher is often ejected from the game, even if it wasn't intentional, to make sure both teams are going to behave the rest of the game.
Flipping the Bat
Flipping the bat after you know you've hit a home run is a form of disrespect towards the opposing team. Unfortunately, there aren't any rules that give consequences to players for performing a bat flip. This problem has been a more recent display of bad sportsmanship.
Why is Sportsmanship Important?
Sportsmanship is a great value in not just baseball, but sports in general. Respecting one's opponent is important to maintaining the integrity of the game and keeping both sides from being classless and causing drama that's distracting from the game. All in all, demonstrating sportsmanship during a baseball game is crucial in creating a positive environment.