Emile Haddad—Seattle born and baseball-bred—discusses why and how he developed a passion for baseball.
I guess I get my love of baseball from my father. His favorite player of all time was Pete Rose, good old “Charlie Hustle.” I can’t fault his choice. During Rose’s disgrace, my dad said that he didn’t really care that much. Sure he was a gambler and pretty skeevy in a lot of ways, but he could flat-out play. To this day, my dad grumbles that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.
Even if I didn’t have that familial tie to the sport, I think I’d still be a fan. I love baseball for its periodic bursts of mania, followed by mind-numbing inactivity. I love the fact that every player gets a moment when all of the focus is on him. I love that each player gets his own theme song blasting over the sound system when he comes up to the plate.
I love that baseball is unlike any other popular American sport. The defense is in possession of the ball. You can’t feint; any time you make an attempt to pitch, to steal, or to hit, you have to commit fully, or else be penalized or merely thrown out. Player position responsibilities aren’t easily shared. In basketball, football, hockey, or soccer—players have their specialty; their role/title within the team structure and strategy, but they mostly (save the goalie, where applicable) all basically do the same thing. In baseball, the responsibilities are far more specialized. The shortstop won’t take over as catcher; the outfielder can’t really spontaneously pitch (unless that outfielder was Babe Ruth, one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time).
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I’m so drawn to baseball above all other hobbies. I just know that if you left me with baseball and took away every other professional sport, I’d be fine with that trade.
According to Emile Haddad, Seattle—while not home to the winningest team in baseball—still boasts a team that once had Ken Griffey Jr., and Ichiro Suzuki on its roster.