The Sports Archives – Know the Difference: Baseball and Softball

Some sports stand entirely alone, while others exist as deviations on other popular competitive activities; a few alterations to how a game is played, if made in the right place, can make an entirely different sport! Perhaps one of the greatest examples of a sport that resembles another, but is independent and popular in its own right, is softball. Softball is officially described as a “variant” of baseball, and was invented under a different name in the late-1800s, established as an indoor-playable game. Since its beginnings, Softball managed to accumulate popularity over time, allowing it to compete for the spotlight of sporting entertainment in the modern world. Though it may not necessarily be considered as classic or traditional as baseball, softball is still a popular batting-and-baserunning sport and, to the untrained eye, nearly indistinguishable from its “bigshot cousin.” Here are 5 of the biggest differences between modern softball and modern baseball…


  1. The ball is bigger. Softballs and baseballs alike can vary in size and mass, depending on each’s unique structure. In comparing the two, however, a softball is usually bigger and heavier than a baseball. Most softballs weigh slightly less than 7 ounces (~198 grams) and have a circumference of about 12 inches (~30 cm). In slow-pitch softball, the circumference can even be as great as 14-15 inches (~35 cm)! Additionally, the name of the sport is misleading, as softballs are just as rough and rigid as baseballs (a softball could likely cause more damage than a baseball, given its larger size.)


    A side by side comparison showcasing size differences between a baseball and softball.


  1. There are 2 major game types of softball, but in both, pitching is underhanded. In most baseball, pitches are thrown from the mound in an overhanded, straight arc towards home plate. Speed, power, and precision are the priorities behind every strong pitch, and a good pitcher endeavors to throw the ball with as much accuracy as possible. In slow-pitch softball, on the other hand, the ball is required to arc mid-pitch on its way to the batter, and as the name implies, speed is not high on the priority list. Fast-pitch softball is more like baseball in that pitches are rapidly executed.


  1. A softball pitcher tosses on level ground. In baseball, the pitcher’s mound (which lies near the center of the infield) is an elevated surface of dirt from which the pitcher delivers throws to home plate. In softball, however, no such mound is used (or even exists as part of most dedicated softball fields). Pitches are delivered at the same ground level as that of the batter. Furthermore, the distance a softball pitcher must throw to reach home plate is usually shorter than that of baseball.


  1. The overall size of the field is smaller. Everything about a softball field, sans the players and bases themselves, is slightly more condensed than that of a baseball field. This makes for a smaller infield as well as a closer outfield. While the field may be a different size, however, the number of defensive players on the field at a time is usually the same as baseball – 9 (In the case of slow-pitch softball, there is a 10th member added). As a result, the dynamics and play strategies of the defensive team members also deviate from that of baseball.

In a traditional softball field, the outfield is not as expansive, the infield is pressed closer together, and home plate is slightly pushed forward.


  1. Games are ‘shorter’. The longest of softball games typically run through the 7th inning, but in less-competitive environments, a softball game can also run for 5 (or even as little as 3) innings. By contrast, baseball games are almost always 9 innings long.

    BB EJ FV

    Softball has been instrumental in promoting women’s roles in sports.

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The Sports Archives – Sports Memorabilia: History & Inspiration

One of the most authentic elements of competitive sports is how unique the experience is to each individual. A die-hard baseball fan with little-to-no interest in football (or, in America, soccer) will, for instance, generally forgo spectating and discussing the FIFA World Cup. Someone who falls under the cover term of “sports enthusiast”, yet ignores basketball, will probably recognize the name “LeBron James” but may not be able to tell you what sport the athlete plays. Yet, despite fragmented interests in the realm of competitive athletics, true sports fans will respect the memorabilia of any sport.

The Enrichment: A Different Perspective on Sports


Left: A baseball autographed by acclaimed Red Sox player, David “Big Papi” Ortiz. Right: The U.S. Declaration of Independence. Both are symbols of important people and events over the course of human history.

Sports are a noble form of art; they are just as much a part of human culture as theatre, music, social media, and the liberal arts. Unfortunately, the overwhelming competition and commercialism that accompanies such a sensational phenomenon can wash out the artistry within the game and its community, and make the commitment behind sports forgettable. When this happens, it can sometimes become difficult to articulate what is so enjoyable, original, and special about one’s passions. Memorabilia – prestigious elements and pieces of history – are a means of focusing on the legacy and evolution of competitive sports, and hold just as much power as other famous historical artifacts like the United States Declaration of Independence. Historical records in the form of memorabilia adds depth to a sport’s past and directs its future, allowing its followers to more greatly appreciate the present!

What is it about Sports Memorabilia that is so appealing?

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What a collection!

It is difficult to quantify what makes sports memorabilia such an essential component of a sport enthusiast’s life. After all, not every autographed baseball, famous (or infamous!) jersey, or piece of history means the same thing to everyone. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law among U.S. citizens, but what weight does it carry to another country? Perhaps the most appealing aspect of sports memorabilia is its honesty; at the end of the day, the baseball used in a winning play of a World Series game, autographed and mounted later, was just a baseball. Now, while it is still “just” a baseball, it is also the story that the baseball tells, and that is what makes it, and the sport that it represents, legendary!

Interested in acquiring a piece of history?

            How does someone go about acquiring sports memorabilia? Well, one certain way of doing so is by being in the right place at the right time for a historical sporting event, but that can be understandably difficult to anticipate! Another channel through which memorabilia can be acquired is from collections.


Autographed equipment is among the most common, effective forms of sports memorabilia. It symbolizes a renowned player and the game itself in a single artifact!

Visit for an opportunity to get your hands on a piece or two of autographed sports history at an unbeatable price, and just in time for the holidays, too!

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The Sports Archives – When Athletes Are Too Committed

Let’s just get this out the way: being too committed to your sport or working out is better than the alternative. You would rather be passionate about your fitness than not interested at all, which can cause plenty of health problems and, in some cases, mental issues too. But there is a fine line between working hard to be the best you can be and overdoing it. Some people just don’t know when to say.

This can manifest itself in a couple of different ways. The first is exercise addiction, a condition that causes a person to exercise excessively and which can also have troubling side effects, such as fatigue, muscle wasting, and concentration problems, among others. Another way being too committed to their craft is when athletes continue to use their body in an activity despite suffering from a serious injury. We’re going to take a look at some of the stars who have ignored their pain and carried on in their sport.

1. Ronnie Lott

Ronnie LottRonnie Lott is a football player who really knows what it’s like to play with pain. In 1985, Lott and his 49ers were playing against Dallas Cowboys when his little finger was crushed in a collision with Cowboys’ Tim Newsome. Lott was stretchered off the field and transported to the nearest hospital for treatment on this serious injury…is what should have happened. But it didn’t. What actually occurred is Lott received minimal treatment before going back on. With a lot of strapping, he even played the following week. Alas, there were long-term implications for the finger – it had to be amputated a few months later.

 2. Michael Jordan

Michael JordanMost people are struck down pretty badly by flu. They’ll stay off work, crawl into bed, and spent a few days recovering with copious amounts of soup and orange juice. They’re the rules. Only, Michael Jordan doesn’t play by the rules. In 1997, when Bulls were tied with Utah Jazz 2-2 in the NBA Finals, Jordan was suffering from flu, and he stepped up. Despite looking visibly weakened, he managed to score 38 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists – so not only did Jordan play when he probably shouldn’t have, he actually played…amazingly well. His efforts resulted in the Chicago Bulls being crowned NBA champions for that year.

3. Tiger Woods

Tiger WoodsThere’s a theme here; the players who play despite being injured generally tend to be the greatest champions. Their efforts are just another manifestation of their intense determination to be the best. Three weeks before the 2008 US Open, Tiger Woods was struggling to walk. Two days after he had won the competition in spectacular fashion, Woods announced he needed surgery on the left knee that was suffering from a double stress fracture and would have to miss the rest of the year. Winning a major golf tournament is an incredible feat by itself, but with a double stress fracture? Amazing.

4. Shun Fujimoto

Determination wins again, this time in the form of an Olympic Gold Medal. Shun Fujimoto, doctors said at the time, was competing with a broken knee and should have writhing around in pain every time he moved. But he didn’t – instead, he delivered a performance that contributed to the Japan gymnastic team winning the gold medal. When he landed his dismount, Shun actually worsened his injury by dislocating his knee – he rose his hands and then collapsed. Today, Shun actually admits he only competed for the sake of his teammates and that he actually wouldn’t do it again. I suppose not all glory is worth the pain.

Shun Fujimoto Montreal IOC BG

For some of them, it was a case of playing through the pain barrier. For others, they were at risk of doing serious longer-term damage to their bodies. The underlying principle that unites these sports stars is their willingness to put their bodies on the line in their effort to be winners. An admirable ethos, we can all agree, but not one that should be applied in all cases. If you have a chance of winning a Gold medal in the Olympics, think about it; if you’re playing basketball with your friends and break your leg, you should probably just seek medical help…

Article from Gemma Dawson.

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The Sports Archives – Top Wingsuiting Destinations

Wingsuit flying is not an everyday past time activity. Like many of other extreme sports, proximity flying is not for the faint-hearted. It’s also not something you just dabble in, like a hobby or a sport per se, it’s a way of living life. There’s something special about extreme BASE jumping, but wingsuit flying simply takes the crown as the top extreme activity out there. The incredible thrill, the terrifying speed, and awesome locations are simply unmatched by any other sport.

Just like every other type of BASE jumping, wingsuit flying is all about the location: you’ll need to find a great spot to jump from. Obviously, you can jump from a plane, but that kills almost all the excitement. Let’s face it, wingsuit flying needs a steep cliff, a gorge or a deep canyon like a fish needs water and video footage, which can easily be captured by action cameras, like the Polaroid Cube.

The best wingsuit flying locations have some things in common: they are mountainous areas which feature anything from steep slopes, ravines, and cliffs, to deep canyons, gullies and valleys. Preferably, you should go for an area that has most of them – they all make the jump truly unique and exciting. Just like surfers who are always chasing the best waves to ride, wingsuit flying enthusiasts are on a constant lookout for the next great ravine or canyon to fly through.

Let’s check out some of the most exciting wingsuit flying destinations in the world:

  1. Mont Blanc – France

Standing at 15,778 feet above sea level, Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and attracts thousands of hikers and adventurers each year. Most of them, however, just climb the peak, take a selfie, and go back to its base (obviously, on foot). Wingsuit flying enthusiasts, on the other hand, scale the top of the Aiguille de la Republique (The Needle of the Republic), more than 11,200 feet high up in the air. After an exhausting 8-hour climb, daredevils turn their helmet cameras on and make their jump. The descent, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 100 mph, takes just 3 minutes to complete and takes them just 20 feet away from the rocky cliffs.

  1. Jungfrau – Switzerland

The Swiss Alps are dotted with hundreds of high peaks, deep valleys and spectacular cliffs, many great spots for wingsuit flying, but Jungfrau is often regarded as the best place to jump from. The Maiden, as it is known in English, is more than 13,000 feet high and overlooks the massive Swiss Plateau, a relatively low flat ground. The first section of the jump takes daredevils along an almost vertical cliff of about 150 meters and then over the moderately wooded slopes. The total flying distance is more than 3,400 meters, making the Jungfrau jump the longest wingsuit flying experience in the world.

  1. Stryn – Norway

Norway’s rocky fjords and high peaks attract tens of thousands of tourists every year. There are literally tens of excellent wingsuit flying locations across the country, but a special peak in the Jostedalsbreen National Park takes the top spot. The jump starts with a vertical drop of more than 200 meters, takes you over a breathtaking waterfall and continues over a crystal clear mountain lake. The whole experience last just under 2 minutes but the views are simply extraordinary, especially if the weather is sunny (a somewhat rare occurrence in this area).

  1. Yosemite National Park – United States

Both Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks have some great wingsuit flying destinations, but a special spot in Yosemite is simply mind-blowing. Taft Point, just west of Glacier Point, offers fantastic views towards the Yosemite Valley and El Capitan. The great fissures are fabulous jump points and, every year, tens of wingsuit flying enthusiasts come to take a plunge. At its highest point, the vertical drop is more than 700 feet, making it a perfect jumping location. The winding valley, with its multiple geological formations, makes the flying experience truly unique. Although the fall is considered relatively short, only 2,700 meters, the unique landscape makes up for it.

Flaviu Mircea is a photographer and daredevil who loves sharing his thrilling experiences with his readers. If you would like to learn more about Flaviu, you can check out his Google+ profile

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The Sports Archives – Boxing: “It’s a Total Knock-Out!”

How many sports have a reputation for being starred in a Hollywood film which accumulated over $225 million in global box office on a budget less than 1% of that size? As if that were not enough on its own, this 1976 American Sports drama would go on to become one of the most renowned movies of its kind in the late-20th century, and spawn a whole saga consisting of 6 sequels over a period of 40 years following its initial release! The movie? Rocky. The sport? None other than Boxing!


Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali is one of the most renowned professional boxers of all time.

Brief History of Boxing

The earliest recorded history of boxing could be found in the Middle East, around 3000 B.C. At first, the sport was rather raw and simplistic, but over time, variations and inspirations surfaced that would contribute to the development of the modern sport of boxing (One example of a “technological development” is the implementation of hand protection/weaponry, which led to the usage of modern boxing gloves). During the time of the Romans, boxing grew to become a popular spectator sport, often held in arenas and amphitheaters for its raw entertainment value. Unlike modern boxing, the Roman games were, historically, fought “to the death.” However, the sheer brutality of unrefined boxing ultimately resulted in its eventual outlawing, and it would go unnoticed for a time, until a resurrection in England during the 1600s.

            Modern Boxing


Rocky Marciano (1923-1969). In more ways than simply his name, Marciano is a true, real-life inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa.

With the rise, fall, and subsequent resurgence of popularity in “the fist-fencing” sport, boxing slowly migrated from the Western Roman Empire across Europe to London. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, it began to take hold of the world as a sport, and involved organized, bare-handed combat (known popularly as prizefighting). During the early-mid 18th century, boxing was understandably (and appropriately) messy and uncouth – no such rounds, points, or referees commonly associated with modern boxing existed during this time. However, in 1743, a boxing champion by the name of Jack Broughton developed a systematic series of rules and regulations to “protect” fighters while they were in the ring (death was still, until then, common due to all of the chaos). Under “Broughton’s Rules”, hitting “below the belt” or “while an opponent” was down, was prohibited. Over time, more rulesets, refinements, and modifications were made, resulting in numerous more deviations and diversifying boxing as a competitive sport.

Through the 19th and 20th century, the credibility of boxing waned. As a sport with such a dark, violent background and following, it struggled to gain popularity among common people. Whether by further refinement over time (or by a contrasting increase in inner-human barbarism) boxing has ultimately become one of the most popular sports in the modern world, and has given rise to numerous competitive sport and cultural icons.

The World Series of Boxing is one form of professional competitive boxing that exists in the modern world.

What had started in ancient history as a brutal, coarse sport, would, in coming years, would come to mean more than simply striking someone else in the face!

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The Sports Archives – Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson to be key speaker at Wellbeing Symposium in Kent

Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson will be the key speaker at a conference aimed at improving health and happiness at work it has recently been revealed.

Baroness Tanni Grey

The former Olympic wheelchair racer, who is available for booking through celebrity talent agency MN2S and has won 11 Paralympic gold medals, will talk at the Wellbeing Symposium held at Kent Event Centre in Detling. The talk will outline her illustrious sporting career and her transition into broadcasting, and her position as a patron of numerous charities.

When asked about the event, she said: “Being fit and healthy every day is very hard, and especially for working mums, there’s a lot going on in life. I’ve now been retired seven years and I want to lead a long and happy healthy life, in which I need to assess my own wellbeing and it is great for people to have the opportunity to do this at the symposium.”

The Symposium brings together experts in health and wellbeing and is an opportunity to hear the latest thinking on subjects as varied as mental satisfaction and nutrition. Miranda Chapman, whose company organises the event, praised Baroness Tanni, saying: “Having such a great key speaker really raises the profile of the Wellbeing Symposium and helps us to let Kent know the event is on their doorstep.

Other than her efforts in the health and wellbeing world, she has recently moved into the politics world, sharing her views publicly on Parliament’s assisted dying bill, a bill concerning people with only months to live. Thompson commented: “prognosis is always, to some degree, a shot in the dark. I fear that the MP Rob Marris’s assisted dying bill would exacerbate the assumption that because there may be some things I cannot do, everything must be negative.

The Baroness has since spoken more passionately on this subject, saying, “The prospect of changing the criminal law on encouraging and assisting suicide, as this bill would do, fills me with dread.” Very passionate about the issues facing her community she ended her argument saying: “I urge MPs to understand the significance of the proposed change in the law. It would be a seismic shift in the way we choose to care for people at their most vulnerable. It would introduce discrimination into our approach to suicide prevention. And it would place doctors in the contradictory position of trying both to enhance life for as long as it lasts and deciding who can be supplied with lethal drugs to kill themselves.”

Baroness Tanni’s roots are in Cardiff, Wales, where she worked her way to become a prominent parliamentarian and television presenter. She is considered to be one of the most successful disabled athletes in the UK.

A woman of accomplishment, after graduating from Loughborough University in 1991 with a BA (Hons) degree in Politics and Social Administration, Grey-Thompson started her Paralympic career in the 100m at the Junior National Games for Wales in 1984. She then went on to start her international career, which began in 1988 in Seoul, where she won a bronze medal in the 400m.

Her fifth and last Paralympic Games were in Athens (2004) where she won two gold medals in wheelchair racing in the 100m and 400m. In total, her Paralympic career consists of 16 medals (11 gold, four silver and a bronze), and 13 World Championship medals (six gold, five silver and two bronze).

Baroness Tanni has achieved success in many areas of life and now works to pass this on to the next generation. Giving a host of talks and motivational speeches, Baroness Tanni is at the forefront of revered speakers. If you would like to book her for your corporate entertainment event or as an after dinner speaker, contact an MN2S talent agent.


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The Sports Archives – Who Invented Golf?

Golf Club

The Origins Of The Game

Scotland is known as the ‘home of golf’ for good reason. References to golf date back to the 15th century, and was even banned by King James II’s parliament as being a distraction from military training, although this was lifted in 1502 and the game has been allowed to flourish ever since. After 1750, golf started evolving into the sport many keen fans and golfers will recognise today. This included the very first standardized rules for a game of golf, penned by Edinburgh golfers in 1774.

The timeline of golfing history includes developed such as early golf balls made from leather bags stuffed with feathers, the gutta-percha ball invented in 1848, and in 1898, Coburn Haskell introduced the golf world to the first rubber cored, one piece ball. In 1905 the evolution of the golf ball was complete – the dimple pattern was added, which made the ball travel further.

Equipment evolved, rules were written and introduced, and some of the world’s most prominent golf clubs were introduced in Scotland, securing Scotland’s outstanding and innovative links with golf forever. Trace the history back through the years, and you’ll find the first rules of golf, and you’ll see they were written for an early competition, which set a precedent for competitive golf in the future.

But it’s not just about the rule book, and equipment, it’s about the legends of the game in Scotland, including Old Tom Morris who broke records for being the oldest British Open Champion, and also his impact on golf course architecture. He was joined in golf course design by pro golfer James Braid, one of a number who dominated British golf in the early 20th century. Braid became responsible for designing over 250 golf courses across the British Isles, including the “King’s Course” and the “Queen’s Course” at Gleneagles.

The British Golf Museum

It you want to find out more about golf, its links with Scotland, and the rich and varied history of the sport and its stars, then head over to the British Golf Museum for a visit. Collections curated by the museum include a clubs and balls exhibit, the links between royalty and golf, and of course a collection on the origins of golf.

There’s plenty to see and take in, from displays to important artifacts, and the museum is just opposite the clubhouse at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews, and 5 minutes from the city centre. Maybe you could combine a visit with a golfing tour to Scotland, and find out more about the game before you tee off.

History Of Golf Clubs

It’s said that the earliest version of golf played in Scotland involved small pebbles hit on local sand dunes with wooden sticks. Other early versions of proper golf clubs and balls were still pretty unsophisticated. Players would at first carve their own clubs, named in the early days as spoons (short range shots), niblicks (like a wedge) and cleek (putting), along with others.

As craftsmen began carving competitive clubs more variety arrived on the market, early Woods being made of European wood for the shafts such as ash or hazel, and the heads made from tougher specimens such as holly or apple.

Factory produced clubs appeared in the 1900’s as the popularity of golf grew. When metal clubs first became available they weren’t as popular as you might expect, as they were too hard on the early ‘feathered’ golf balls, they were also made by blacksmiths in a crude way, so were often heavy to wield and control.

Lighter and better made clubs were eventually produced in factories, and around 1908 saw an important experiment to change smooth faces on irons, to the grooves you will recognise today. The result was more backspin on the ball and more distance to the shots.

The Open Championship

Since 1860, The Open has welcomed golfers such as Harry Vardon, Walter Hagen, Tom Watson, and Tiger Woods. It was set up as a championship, founded by golfers, to reward the best golfer of the year. The reward since 1873 has been the iconic Claret Jug, one of the most recognisable trophies in sport.

Of the 14 venues that have held the oldest professional golf tournament, 7 are in Scotland, providing various tests for the pro golfers that have visited from across the world to compete. There’s Carnoustie in Angus, which thanks to its strong winds, and long narrow course has a reputation as being one of the toughest courses in the world. Also on the roster is Musselburgh in East Lothian, Turnberry in Ayrshire, Troon, and Muirfield which held the first of 16 opens in 1892. Other courses include Prestwick, and the world-renowned St Andrews, which will host the 144th open in 2015, and is known for producing outstanding winners, sometimes labelled as the best of their generation.

Scotland really is the only home of golf. When will you take your first pilgrimage?

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Adrian Stanley is the founder of AGS Golf Vacations, which specialises in arranging golf tours to the home of golf.

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