Why tennis players are tougher than baseball pitchers

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by JennyS, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. JennyS

    JennyS Hall of Fame

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    Here's why:

    With the sports media making a huge deal out of the Yankees starters only having 3 days of rest during the World Series, it got me wondering how many strokes the tennis players hit in a match. I figured that between serving and groundstrokes/volleys, they probably hit a couple of hundred shots even in a blowout match. Yet top players often have to play 4-5 days in a row in one week tournaments.

    And since I uploaded the Nadal/Djoker Madrid match, I decided to count how many shots Nadal hit and here's what I counted:

    serves: 169
    groundstrokes/returns/Volleys: 753

    This has to take more out of an athlete than throwing 90-100 pitches in a baseball game, right? I think the fact that tennis players often play a few days in a row gets overlooked. It really is a grueling game!
     
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  2. Baseball-pitchers??
    Uhrm ok...ill probably get bashed by Americans for saying this but wtf, pitching a ball and earning millions of dollars...uhrm yeah ok...:shock:
    Guess its an American thing.
     
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  3. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    This is obvious; when a 230 lb. beer gut can throw a perfect game "half drunk" (his words) and another guy who looks like a professional bowler is considered the one of the greatest pitchers of the last 20 years and of all time, you know it is not the most taxing of sports.
     
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  4. Mr.Brightside

    Mr.Brightside Rookie

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    nah, i'm american and i don't understand it either
     
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  5. The_Steak

    The_Steak Rookie

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    You have to throw your arm out every pitch...

    Not on a groundstroke, volley, and return, or even the serve.
     
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  6. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    pitching a ball VERY WELL gets you money. i can pitch decent, but not compared to those guys. when's the last time you threw a 90 mph slider? i thought so.

    but yes, baseball pitchers do seem to have to do less, but on the serve in tennis i'm sure most of you dont hit as hard as you possibly can EVERY, single, serve. pitchers need alot of arm speed to throw as hard as they do, and don't have a racket to help them out.
     
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  7. hifi heretic

    hifi heretic Rookie

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    What timing! My son and I were just discussing this as well.

    ..I think pitching a baseball at MLB speeds is indeed harder on the body than serving a tennis ball at ATP speeds. ..As evidence, consider that many many pro pitchers have mangled rotator cuffs by the time they quit the game. Still, I don't think it is SO much tougher as to explain how much a MLB pitcher is coddled. ..And as for the big guts on many of these players (all positions, not just pitcher) it's embarrassing. I couldn't call myself an athlete looking like that. All things considered, tennis players - in my opinion - are better athletes.

    Part of it may be that there are simply more pitchers to draw from so you might as well rest them as much as you can. There are 30 MLB teams, each with 10 - 15 pitchers on staff?? That's about 400 players in the majors making a living JUST for pitching. They don't need to do anything else well but pitch. In tennis, you have maybe the top 200 IN THE WORLD who make decent livings as touring pros. ..Clearly, an ATP players set of skills is rarer and harder to come by
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
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  8. JennyS

    JennyS Hall of Fame

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    I think the combination of serving, hitting groundstrokes and running is a lot tougher on the body than pitching and spending at least half the game sitting on the bench.
     
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  9. Haasquet

    Haasquet Rookie

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    I'm not taking sides in this debate, but I'd like to point out that tennis racquets are pretty huge levers for getting the ball up to speed.

    Pitchers throw heavier objects without the benefit of a racquet to provide leverage. If you haven't pitched a ball game before, you can't really get an accurate feeling for how rough it is on the arm...
     
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  10. Vyse

    Vyse Semi-Pro

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    I agree. Some fielders are pretty athletic but yes, tennis is much more grueling. It was the 7th ranked sport on that ESPN toughest sport list. Baseball was not near that high
     
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  11. Never, ive never even held a baseball in my hands. I dont even know what a 90 mph slider is and that was not my point.
     
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  12. Tennis players get paid pennies compared to football, baseball, and basketball players.

    Pennies.

    :cry::cry::cry::cry:
     
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  13. davey

    davey Rookie

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    Pitching isn't too hard on the body overall but is very hard on the shoulder and elbow. After every game the starting pitchers are icing down their shoulders and elbow. They then rest for 4 days before starting again. Every year dozens of pitchers have either elbow or shoulder surgery. There's an elbow surgical procedure named after the first pitcher is was ever performed on, Tommy John, around which there is an whole niche medical industry just because of the strain pitching puts on the elbow.

    If a tennis player has bad form in a stroke, they could develop some soreness and on the rare occasion, require surgery(sharapova) but that is easily remedied. Even pitchers that are perceived to have perfect form become injured(Mark Prior). The history of baseball is filled with pitchers with great arms and tons of potential whose careers ended early due to arm injuries or came no where near what was expected of them by the time they retired. For every major leaguer that you have heard of whose career was shortened due to arm injuries there are a dozen minor leaguers that never made it because they got hurt.

    Yes, running around a hard court is hard on the body, but most players can handle it. Nadal's problems is the exception and not typical.
     
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  14. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    You actually counted the strokes? Wow.

    This is interesting stuff, but man, you've got way too much time on your hands. :)
     
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  15. Shes not a "man", shes a woman.
    And i think her threads are awesome, to much time on her hand? Or MAYBE she is actually really a fan of the game of tennis?
     
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  16. SuperFly

    SuperFly Semi-Pro

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  17. Vermillion

    Vermillion Banned

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    I wanted to try pitching once so I went out a bought a baseball. My shoulder/arm became very tired/sored after about 12 pitches. I don't think my form was atrocious, but still. Very taxing on the arm.
     
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  18. tacou

    tacou Legend

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    not bashing you because to each his own, and I don't find baseball very interesting, but pitching is a very hard technique to master. you don't need to be in nearly as good shape as a tennis player but pitching destroys your shoulder. throwing a ball 90+mph WITH movement is insane.

    I guess football, just kicking a ball, is a european thing, right?
     
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  19. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    Vyse, for what its worth, see:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills

    I think its very subjective though. Its based on "the word of our panel of experts, a group made up of sports scientists from the United States Olympic Committee, of academicians who study the science of muscles and movement, of a star two-sport athlete, and of journalists who spend their professional lives watching athletes succeed and fail."



    This ESPN survey was based on the following criterion:
    ENDURANCE: The ability to continue to perform a skill or action for long periods of time. Example: Lance Armstrong
    STRENGTH: The ability to produce force. Example: NFL linebackers.
    POWER: The ability to produce strength in the shortest possible time. Example: Barry Bonds.
    SPEED: The ability to move quickly. Example: Marion Jones, Maurice Green.
    AGILITY: The ability to change direction quickly. Example: Derek Jeter, Mia Hamm.
    FLEXIBILITY: The ability to stretch the joints across a large range of motion. Example: Gymnasts, divers.
    NERVE: The ability to overcome fear. Example: High-board divers, race-car drivers, ski jumpers.
    DURABILITY: The ability to withstand physical punishment over a long period of time. Example: NBA/NHL players.
    HAND-EYE COORDINATION: The ability to react quickly to sensory perception. Example: A hitter reacting to a breaking pitch; a drag racer timing acceleration to the green light.
    ANALYTIC APTITUDE: The ability to evaluate and react appropriately to strategic situations. Example: Joe Montana reading a defense; basketball point guard on a fast break.
     
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  20. JennyS

    JennyS Hall of Fame

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    Thank you! I was off from work today, plus it really didn't take that much time to count the strokes because I watched my "just the tennis" version of the match from You Tube.
     
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  21. Jchurch

    Jchurch Guest


    You're essentially just like the people who think tennis requires no skill. I can't tell you how many people I know that assume if you're a good athlete, that you'll be great at tennis.

    You think Federer and Nadal can make the ball drop quickly with all their top spin, look up some pitchers with great sliders or curve balls.

    And for the record, I like tennis a hell of a lot more than baseball. However pitching isn't easy.
     
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  22. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    Pitching in the major leagues is incredibly tough on your throwing arm. Many great pitchers get to the majors and simply can't be starters because their arm will not tolerate it. Throwing a heavy baseball as hard as you can puts huge strain on your arm. There are little-leaguers in this country that ruin their arms before their 16th birthday, even sooner.

    I dislike baseball as much as the next guy. But pro baseball players are pretty tough dudes, and gifted athletes.
     
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  23. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Hate to show how ignorant you are but baseball is an international sport and I'm pretty sure the Japanese have won the World Baseball Classic back to back (international tournament).
     
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  24. andrew_fernando2

    andrew_fernando2 New User

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    tennis players are certainly better athletes and most baseball players would agree because of the level of difficulty required to play baseball. but to assert that they are tougher is quite a stretch.

    consider throwing a baseball at 5.5 ounces with your forearm to serving a tennis ball at 2.1 ounces with a racquet as a lever and the well documented evidence of injury should be well within conceptual grasp.

    for those not familiar, if you are ever able to go to a batting cage (surely not possible for many here) step into a cage that throws even seventy miles per hour and you will find it dangerously fast.
     
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  25. andrew_fernando2

    andrew_fernando2 New User

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    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
     
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  26. svijk

    svijk Semi-Pro

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    Good insightful thread.

    Let me say I am a much bigger tennis fan than baseball but the comparison is not fair.

    Throwing 100 pitches at 90 mph average does take a toll especially since you have to be accurate too. I guess you can throw with even 2 days rest but given what is at stake (one hit can change the game), it is important to give the arm optimum rest.

    Pitching puts a strain on one muscle group mostly where as hitting the ball with a racquet , sometimes with 2 hands is more of a balanced effort.

    To prove it to yourself, try hurling a ball at a 2ft by 2ft target about 50 ft away, as hard as you can and see how many times you hit and how many pitches you can throw without reducing speed.
     
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  27. lawrence

    lawrence Hall of Fame

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    that ESPN list is bogus, rugby is so many places behind, the endurance on rugby should be at least a few points higher too
     
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  28. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

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    it really depends. we have like a 2ft lever to deliver the serves and groundstrokes which makes a pretty big difference. i've seen a decent amount of young pitchers ruin their shoulders in early age due to overtaxing their shoulders.
     
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  29. kOaMaster

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    it's not even close worth a comparison, look at baseball fatties like bonds.
    about as stupid as the golf-discussion.

    having a big shoulder does not make you though.
     
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  30. LOL, Yeah you got me there. BUT NO. Football is the biggest global sport there is in except for USA/Canada, and the footbaal stars are THE biggest stars in the world (except again for North-America)
    Ever heard of Ronaldo? Beckham? Kaka? Messi?
    The audience who are watching the World Cup is 15-20 timmes bigger than the World Series or Super Bowl or whatever.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2009
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  31. OK i am ignorant. I still will never be able to respect just throwing a ball that spins or whatever making millions of it, imo just like Bowling or Dart where the elite drink 5 beers a day and are 50 Ibs overweight.
     
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  32. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Roger Federer gets paid millions of dollars to hit a ball with a 90 square inch racquet. I don't really see the difference here.
     
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  33. Wait wait wait...are you comparing Roger Federer to a baseball-pitcher ???
     
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  34. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Yes I am. I certainly do not like baseball, but I guarantee you Roger Federer wouldn't be able to throw as well as any MLB pitcher.
     
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  35. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Don't these guys make some change????? Not only an american thing.

    [​IMG]

    IMHO- Pitching is probably harder on the arm but Tennis is much harder on the body overall.
     
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  36. From what I understand a baseball-pitcher only throws a ball.
    What does Federer do? He hits with forehands with precise accuracy and perfect technique,backhands, serves, volleys,slices,dropshots,slices,blocks, he runs, he jumps and he does this hundreds of times during a match and he always has to adapt as to where his opponents shots are landing except on the serve. How many pitches does a pitcher throw during a game? 10-15?
    Ridiculous!
     
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  37. Thats cricket-where they use a totally different technique than baseball.
     
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  38. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    A. The pitcher puts an enormous amount of pressure on his shoulder and elbow when pitching. Federer does not go all out on 50+ groundstrokes in a row. A pitcher does.


    B. A pitcher has to throw with precise accuracy and perfect technique. He can throw all sorts of different spins at you.


    C. Not just that, the pitcher's box is also not totally accurate due to the fact that it is a judgment call by the Umpire. That is another difficulty he must face.


    D. A pitcher must also be aware of someone trying to steal a base. If he throws too soon, someone could steal a base.


    E. Pitcher's do not throw 10-15 pitches per game. Try 40-50.


    F. Pitcher's also have to play defense and be aware of where their teammates are.




    I'm not saying baseball is more physically tougher than tennis (because it's not IMO), however on a skill level, both are on a very similar level. Pitching is incredibly difficult to do, and that's why there are only a few men in the world who are capable of doing it day in and day out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
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  39. inthemisosoup

    inthemisosoup Semi-Pro

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    the skills required for tennis and baseball pitching are different, and the skill and/or finesse required for such different sports should not be compared. suffice it to say that both sports require a lot of athletic skill, and baseball pitchers are undoubtedly talented. yes, they may need to have as much overall athleticism as a professional tennis player, but that does NOT mean they aren't as "strong" and don't exert themselves as a professional tennis player. how can you compare pitching a ball and hitting a ball with a tennis racquet? it is completely arbitrary . . . like i said before.

    magician . . . just because you don't understand or particularly like a sport doesn't mean you should doubt the skill required of its athletes or the legitimacy of the sport. there are plenty of sports i don't watch, or don't particularly like--eg american football, rugby, hockey, but that doesn't mean their athletes are not talented (sure, the best of the best of their sports are as talented and skilled as federer has been, just in different ways being that each sport requires different abilities), or that the sport is not difficult (pitching is extremely difficult, stressful mentally on a pitcher, and extremely grueling on the body). don't be culturally ignorant. you sound like all of those people who don't understand tennis and the skills it requires, so they denounce it as a "sissy" sport that anyone and their grandmother can play. it is so ignorant and off-putting.
     
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  40. Ok, i guess you are making some good points and to be fair i know to little about pitching to have a case really and to continue debating it, but from what ive seen it doesnt look like rocket-science-so you are saying that pitchers are better athletes than Federer and should make more money?
     
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  41. inthemisosoup

    inthemisosoup Semi-Pro

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    ^meant to say, don't exert themselves AS MUCH as a professional tennis player. oops. :)
     
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  42. tacou

    tacou Legend

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    bonds is not a pitcher?
     
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  43. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    I know it's cricket.
    I know the technique is different.

    But it's still a dude throwing a ball and making money - same/same.
    A cricket bowler and a pitcher prob have more in common than a pitcher and a tennis player.
     
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  44. tacou

    tacou Legend

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    ugh I was being sarcastic I love football. you're reducing pitching to simply throwing a ball, which it is not, the same as I simplified football to kicking a ball.
     
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  45. TheFifthSet

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    Why are you arguing with such vigor if you admit you know nothing about it?
     
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  46. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Pitchers put a lot of physical stress on their shoulder, it is physically wearing. I used to play tennis and do little league at the same time, and while its not comparable to the pros I remember I did feel exertion and both were tiring. Pitchers do put a lot of stress on their body. Now if we talk about tennis players vs like, a DH in baseball, or just a batter in baseball in general, no contest the tennis player wins everytime (I mean Andy Roddick could probably be a great baseball player if he wanted to...Manny Ramirez would be a terribly tennis player), but a pitcher does put a lot of stress on their shoulder, especially a starter who throws the ball over 100 times in a game.
     
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  47. kOaMaster

    kOaMaster Hall of Fame

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    I know that. was just point out what others are involved in this "sport". I've lived my time in the US, I did watch baseball a lot (or was in a stadium where beside talking and eating guys threw balls around) and still follow it. It's definetly not unattractive (crickett I call unattractive!) but come on and be honest with yourself, overall baseball is nowhere as "tough".
    I do believe there are some pitchers like johnson who're doing a lot but still, how old is he now? 50? that alone shows to me that it can't be that hard.
     
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  48. Because my spontaneous reaction ws-ridiculous to even compare !
     
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  49. tacou

    tacou Legend

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    Johnson is 46 (pretty close) but as you said, tennis is not as "tough" as tennis, something I'm not trying to argue. I think any sport at a professional level is extremely difficult and you must be a gifted athlete to perform, let alone Johnson who last year (aged 45) led the league in strike outs per 9 innings pitched. Him being old in no way discredits what talent it takes to be a pitcher, in my opinion. You need strength and endurance in different measures/areas of the body in pitching than in tennis.

    I'd never argue an average baseball player (especially a pitcher) is in better physical shape than an average tennis player, but to say it's "easier" to serve a tennis ball or less draining than pitching a professional fast-ball is ignorant.
     
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  50. edmondsm

    edmondsm Legend

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    A pitcher throws fastballs, curveballs, sliders, change-ups. Depending on the rules, they have to bat and run bases as well. And they throw more then a 100 pitches in a game depending on the situation. Rarely would a pitcher throw fewer then 30 pitches in a game. 10-15!? You are obviously very ignorant and biased on the subject and therefore shouldn't be arguing with people who know both sports. Sorry, you are wrong on this one.
     
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