Racing and Baseball- Finding the Balance


One sport is fast and furious. The other is leisurely with quick short bursts of action.  I really enjoy weekends when I can combine a baseball game with a race. While the sports are different in presentation, they have some similarities. The strategists have to think ahead to the end and decide what changes to make and when.  Bringing in a certain relief pitcher is akin to deciding whether the next stint will be on black or red tires; or scuffed or sticker tires for an oval. A pinch hitter or runner  is like adjusting downforce.

The best recent example of the similarity of racing and baseball is the 2016 Indianapolis 500. The strategy calls by Bryan Herta were the same thought process a baseball manager would use. A friend told me the day after the race he didn’t like the 500. I replied if you didn’t like that race, you must not like baseball.  He confirmed that he did not.

I seek balance in life, and a baseball/racing weekend is a way to find that equilibrium. I get the same thrill from a well played ball game as I do from a race won with a great strategy call. It’s really the same thing. In baseball the fan has a lot of time to think ahead. At a race, it’s more difficult to do, unless there is a late yellow.  I like the challenge of trying to figure out race strategy as a race goes on. I really like when a road or street race has some rain and the teams have to decide how soon to switch tires. I think watching baseball most of my life has helped me learn strategy which I have applied to racing.

When a race is near a city with a major league team, I always check their schedule to see if there is a home game that weekend. I usually go to a race weekend the day before the track opens, usually a Thursday. I can usually catch the final game of a home stand.

I highly recommend doing this on your next race weekend. It may give you a new perspective on the race you see that weekend. At the very least you should go into the weekend a bit more relaxed and enjoy your track time more.


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Parnelli Jones (L) passes Ebb Rose during the 1963 500. (Photo from 1964 500 Mile Race program)




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