This post actually frustrates me as there's a lot not to like about it. In my mind, I imagine you and so many others with this attitude being the one's that boo at the game, be-it Mauer or any Yankee or any player/coach for that matter. Lesson to everyone. Don't boo. Oh, and another thing... "The Wave" is a DEFENSIVE rally cry. NOT for when our team is hitting.
In your mind, you imagine wrong, my brother. Really, you know nothing about me other than I played baseball until I was 15. You certainly don't know how I conduct myself at a ballgame. Lesson to my brother: throw away your broad brush - it's sloppy.
A lot of information can be learned by watching, listening, reading and diving head-first into the great game... but I often wonder if people truly understand how difficult the game is, if they wonder how good even the worst major leaguers are. yes, Drew Butera would hit .500 in your local amateur beer-league.
I guess the other thing that playing at some of the post-little league or youth leagues has taught me that I think is often missed are the intangibles. I don't think they're the be all, end all, by any means, but I do know that they are very important on a team, or in a team concept. When I sat the bench in college a lot and kept book, I learned the game on a whole new level from when I was playing all the time. Looking at the big picture is eye opening. (That's why I don't think that great players often make great managers or coaches) There is a value in leadership. There is a value in guys that just get the job done. There a value in consistency. There is a value in knowing which players practice the hardest. There is a value in which bench guys handle that the best.
Seth and my brother, Haddyz - The point of my post here was to simply find out who played what level of ball. I've seen plenty of subtle mentions of who might have played, and I was just curious what the various TD members had for hardball experience.
That said, I did not and do not mean to imply that actually playing the game for many years and/or at a higher level than typical does not add greatly to overall baseball knowledge. Of course it does, as it does for anything. For example, someone with a degree in structural engineering and 10 years on the job knows a lot more about building bridges than someone who has a passion for taking photos of old bridges - we could all agree, yes? And although no one would hire the photographer to design the structural plans for a new bridge, simple observation cannot be undervalued as a path to having insight on how something works. Indeed, the 2nd paragraph I quoted from Seth is a great argument for observational knowledge.
A typical average my brother on the street has an opinion on what the weather might be tomorrow, and he may be right because if one pays attention to the skies and wind for long enough, one can pick up a good amount of information and, with reasonable accuracy, make a fairly accurate prediction. Now, my brother doesn't understand the atmospheric dynamics that are driving his forecast in the same way that the local meteorologist does, yet they can come to a similar conclusion. Substitute baseball for weather.
Anyway, thanks to all for throwing out your baseball experience.