It’s the bottom of the 9th inning, your team is down to their last out and you look over your bench and make the call to bring in a pinch hitter you think has enough pop in his bat to win the game. After a roll of the dice, boom, he connects and it’s a game winning home run!
Beyond all that drama and glory when that batter connects for a game winning home run when playing your favorite baseball board games, there is something far more important.
Baseball may break your heart now and then, but is there anything more important than having a healthy, sharp brain?! Baseball has plenty of opportunity to exercise our brains when watching, naturally more so when playing. Let’s explore these opportunities in detail and why at any age, playing baseball board games will always be great brain food. After all, it’s the New Year, time to exercise…and the brain should be included!
5 Ways Baseball Board Games Are Great for the Brain
#1 – Math
Truly one of the greatest, if not the very best benefit of playing baseball board games is the constant math your brain is processing. Baseball practically made statistics a household and very cool thing to wrap your brain around. And along the way since the earliest days of baseball in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, there are new statistics being added to the mix. Bill James and many others have made a great living on statistics, the ways to think about them when it comes to making strategic or simple baseball decisions.
Yet baseball board games with dice such as our own Baseball Classics, Strat-o-matic, ABPA, and many others add to the mix. Think about how many dice rolls you make when playing 1 game, let alone when playing your favorite baseball board games throughout the year! These constant calculations are excellent exercise to keep your brain sharp. It’s a key reason why I chose dice for Baseball Classics. One would think it’s “easy” to add up 3 six-sided dice again and again, but it’s not always as simple as one would think. A couple of years ago I introduced the Baseball Classics MVP Edition. It was based on 4 six-sided dice, in a small study I watched others playing it. Fascinating how college educated folks struggled with adding those 4 dice up. Surely revealed the difference in memorizing a addition or multiplication table vs. adding up on the fly!
#2 – Reading
Baseball board games inspire reading more than just the playing instructions, charts, or the player cards. There’s a deep bond that forms when playing baseball board games that makes a connection with players and points back in time. I’ve read countless books on baseball players and baseball history throughout the years and I suspect you have too as a baseball board gamer. I wouldn’t have read these books had it not been for the baseball board games I’ve played throughout the decades. The games inspired me to want to learn more about who some of these fascinating players are and the historic times they played.
And there are countless hours of time I’ve spent with my nose stuck in baseball statistics books citing all kinds of intriguing, meaningful, and valuable information. These books helped me to get a “picture” of their performance, areas of strength and weakness and have provided tremendous insight when choosing teams and/or players to offer for our customers. There is no other sport game play I can think of that come close to fostering more reading than baseball board games, no matter which are your favorites to play.
#3 – Memory
Who led the American League in home runs in 2012? How many home runs did Hank Aaron hit? Which team won the World Series in 1975? Which team did Honus Wagner play for? He played over 100 years ago, yet many know about him and have memorized who this Hall of Fame great is let alone having the most famous baseball card.
And when playing your favorite baseball tabletop game, no doubt you have memorized many of the vital statistics, positions played, and teams of a wide number of players. Since baseball is chalk full of numbers, we memorize them just we did early on in school when learning to remember multiplication tables. Thus our brains are trained to learn to memorize numbers early on. We used to memorize a slew of phone numbers until cell phones became prominent right? And though “there is an app for that”, we still are memorizing vital player stats, teams, etc. when it comes to baseball and our baseball board games grant us plenty of opportunities to do so, thus sharpening our memory each and every time.
#4 – Continually Learning
Playing baseball board games presents a constant learning opportunity for every game played.
Baseball is a sport that requires continuous thinking from start to finish. Even in between innings decisions can be made such as making a pitching change, will these threatening skies rain out the game by the 6th inning, etc. We are constantly learning from the decisions made as well as about the ability of how the various skills translate from the baseball board game to the actual result. Naturally the lessons learned impact our decisions in future play. This also includes applying game strategies deployed during game situations and learning from the end results be it turning out to be genius moves or failures.
With 9 players on the field at all times, 9 batters in the lineup, 9 innings, 3 outs per innings, and the dynamic possibilities of end results there are more than enough variables to constantly keep one’s brain learning more and more about what, where, how, and when to make moves during baseball board game play.
Check out this article referring to a study done by Brain Scientists in 2000 by Brown University. It states the study provides evidence that learning engages a brain process called long-term potentiation (LTP), which in turn strengthens synapses in the cerebral cortex. Next time you play your favorite tabletop baseball board game, you can tell your spouse or parents it’s not just for fun, it’s in the name of science for the good of your brain.
#5 – Happy Brain = Happy Life
If you or your child or spouse or friend enjoys play baseball board games they are making their brain happy. And that is providing many positive benefits for their brain according to Susan Reynolds is a Boston-based science writer. She is a coauthor of Train Your Brain to Get Happy and the editor of Woodstock Revisited. Susan wrote an article in 2008 entitled “Happy Brain, Happy Life” and with that a myriad of benefits for a happy brain such as:
- stimulates the growth of nerve connections
- improves cognition by increasing mental productivity
- improves your ability to analyze and think
- affects your view of surroundings
- increases attentiveness
- leads to more happy thoughts
The next time you or your loved one picks up dice to play their next baseball game, they are about to sharpen their saw to strengthen their brain and lead a happier life. If I only knew this back when I was in my youth, I could have told my mom and she wouldn’t have haphazardly tossed out my Sports Illustrated All-Time All-Star Baseball Game. Then again, if she didn’t I wouldn’t have created Baseball Classics, so thanks after all Mom!
What are your favorite baseball board game memories? With all the power they generated for your brain, you must have quite a few you can recall to share, I look forward to reading them.