If you’ve ever walked into a high school locker room during the spring season, you may have picked up on some underlying tension between the baseball players and lacrosse players. As a lacrosse newcomer, you may be wondering exactly why this is. Coming into lacrosse, I know I sure I did.
Baseball players are not fond of lacrosse because baseball and lacrosse contend for the same athletes in the spring season. Since athletes can only commit to one of these two sports, there’s an inherent divide. Baseball and lacrosse players alike argue that their sport is the dominant spring sport.
If this sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. However, there’s always been a longstanding rivalry between these two sports that has yet to wither away. We’ll delve into the explicit reasons why baseball players dislike lacrosse and whether or not this rivalry exists everywhere.
The Biggest Reasons Why Baseball Players Hate Lacrosse
It’s very possible that you’ve witnessed some back and forth banter between lacrosse players and baseball players at some point in your sports experiences. Whether you’re a baseball player, a lacrosse player, or on the outside looking in, the convoluted origins of this rivalry are often overlooked.
Reason #1: Baseball and Lacrosse Compete to Attract the Same Athletes
The major reason that baseball players don’t get along with lacrosse players is that they are contending for the same subset of athletes for their respective seasons.
Both lacrosse and baseball take place at the same time a year—the spring season. It is in the best interest of baseball players and lacrosse players to appeal to the best natural athletes and draw them into their respective sport. This way, they can have the best chance at forming a winning team.
Since there’s only a finite amount of these naturally talented athletes, it becomes a competition to see who can attract who. As baseball players and lacrosse players make their pitches to these athletes about why they should join their sport, they occasionally badmouth the other sport in hopes of persuading these athletes that their sport is far superior.
At times, this badmouthing can go over the line, causing baseball players and lacrosse players to get offended by one another. These tensions spill over, ultimately causing baseball players to dislike lacrosse players and vice versa.
Reason #2: Baseball Players Don’t Have the Option of Playing Lacrosse
In addition, baseball players will never have the opportunity to play lacrosse because these seasons overlap. For this reason, baseball players do not ever have the chance to be fully exposed to lacrosse. It’s a lot easier to despise something that you have no connection with.
This results in the baseball team forming their own clique and the lacrosse team forming their own clique. When you mash these two cliques together into the same locker room before every practice or game, it’s akin to lighting the fuse to a powder keg. Something bad is bound to happen.
Plus, it’s important to note that many young athletes like to belittle experiences that they’re not able to take an active part in. FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is especially prevalent among middle schoolers and high schoolers in particular. Everyone wants to do everything at that age, so rather than admit to missing out, young baseball and lacrosse athletes tend to downplay the experiences of the competing sport.
Reason #3: Every Sport Has to Have a Rival
In addition, it seems that every sport has a deep-seated rivalry with at least one other sport. If you pay close attention, the rivalry between baseball and lacrosse is not something that is revolutionary.
For example, basketball and wrestling share a rivalry with one another as well. They’re rivals for the same reason that baseball and lacrosse are rivals. Both basketball and wrestling are predominantly winter sports.
There’s also competition between tennis and golf, hockey and soccer, and an assortment of other sports for various sports. Every athlete takes pride in their sport. With this pride comes athletes that are a little bit too prideful about their sport. It’s not enough for them to enjoy the sport as it is. They have to prove the greatness of their sport to others, even if that means putting down other sports.
These are the athletes that continue to fuel these rivalries, even though it accomplishes little.
Reason #4: Both Sports Battle for a Limited Amount of High School Resources
Furthermore, it’s important to bear in mind that all high schools have a limited amount of resources that they can divvy out to their athletic programs. Since baseball and lacrosse fall within the same season, there’s bound to be times where these programs clash.
For example, one of the most prevalent examples of this is field space. Some high schools do not have the luxury of awarding every single athletic program their own practice space. As a result, athletic programs that operate during the same season, such as baseball and lacrosse, must work out specific times when they can have access to this limited practice space.
This can be frustrating for athletes that want to have a fixed schedule and a set place they can reliably go to for practices and games. These complications foster resentment between baseball players and lacrosse players, even if it’s completely out of their control.
The issue of field space is merely one example of the potential clashes that may transpire throughout the season. Other problems could arise from unequal funding as well, taking away from the prospect of new uniforms, equipment, and a larger coaching staff.
Reason #5: There are Times where the Fanfare Must Be Split Between Baseball and Lacrosse
In addition to competing for the same prospective athletes, baseball and lacrosse also compete for the same general fanbase.
Baseball players and lacrosse players want as many fans to cheer them on at their games as possible. It raises the stakes when there’s a big crowd there to share in the ups and downs of the game.
Unfortunately, there are times where baseball games and lacrosse games are scheduled at the exact same time. Consequently, fans are forced to attend one game or another. The showing for these overlapping games is typically not as strong as a normal contest.
No player wants to have to admit that their fans would rather go to another game than their own. Thus, there’s a great deal of friction that results between baseball players and lacrosse players.
Reason #6: This Rivalry Has Been Passed Down from Older Players to Younger Players
The rivalry between baseball players and lacrosse players is also reinforced year after year by older players passing their negative attitudes to younger players.
Take the high school level for example. When freshmen enter into the baseball or lacrosse program, they automatically look to the seniors for leadership. They reflect their attitudes and behaviors to fall in line with the team, whether they’re aware of it or not.
If these young freshmen witness baseball players and lacrosse players mocking one another, they’ll pick up on this.
As they progress further and climb up the hierarchy, soon they will become the transgressors carrying on the rivalry.
Once this vicious cycle begins, it’s hard to stop since the majority of young players take after the experienced leaders of the athletic program. Some baseball players may not even know why they dislike lacrosse. They may just do so simply because the attitude had been instilled within them.
Reason #7: The Internet Blows this Rivalry Out of Proportion
Lastly, with the increasing usage of the internet and social media, young baseball players are exposed to content that demeans lacrosse. This also holds true with the roles reversed.
As a result, players feed into this mob mentality and jump onto the bandwagon without any real reason to do so. They begin to develop a dislike for their perceived rival sport because it’s what all the other players are doing.
Most of the content surrounding this rivalry are initially meant as jokes, but unfortunately, players on both sides can get carried away. They cross the line and actually begin to sow seeds of actual resentment. Had younger players not been exposed to this rivalry propaganda, I think the narrative would’ve gone a bit differently.
Is the Rivalry Between Baseball and Lacrosse Widespread?
Although the rivalry between baseball and lacrosse may pop up here and there, it’s not as universal as you might think.
In most schools, baseball players and lacrosse players actually get along quite well. The petty arguments surrounding baseball versus lacrosse aren’t enough to spark any major controversy between schoolmates. Typically, this rivalry just amounts to playful banter between friends.
I say this from experience. During my high school lacrosse years, I had a couple of friends on the baseball team. We would occasionally poke fun at each other if we ever crossed paths on the practice grounds, but the rivalry was never something we actually took seriously.
Of course, there’s probably some outliers out there where the rivalry between baseball and lacrosse is nothing to joke about. But I have to admit, this is awfully rare.
Will the Rivalry Between Baseball and Lacrosse Simmer Down in the Future?
In the future, I don’t see this friendly rivalry going anywhere. In my opinion, baseball players and lacrosse players will always be throwing gibes at one another.
The thing about making jokes about other sports is that it’s entertaining. As much as baseball and lacrosse players hate to admit it, having a debate about which sport is better almost always makes for an amusing time. Each sport has its fallacies and I think that most players recognize that. No sport is perfect.
Put simply, I believe the rivalry between baseball and lacrosse is here to stay, just like the rivalry between basketball and wrestling, tennis and golf, and all the other sports rivalries that you could think of!
The Bottom Line
Baseball players have a general dislike for lacrosse simply because both of theses sports fall within the same season. If these two sports took place in separate seasons, I strongly believe that this rivalry would cease to exist and another sport would simply replace this rival spot. As long as this rivalry remains good-natured, I don’t really see a major problem with it.