Baseballism Tries to Bring Baseball to Everyone

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Picture a park, any park with a backstop and the makings of an infield diamond. Now imagine a kid. Maybe that kid is you. Bat – made of wood, metal, plastic, or anything else readily available – in hand. This kid, this baseball loving child with a makeshift bat in hand, soft tosses rocks and smashes them as far as they will go. A baseball is too expensive, too scarce a commodity. Rocks and anything remotely round will do. Picture a home run trot, run by a little league wannabe with no team. Picture line drives smacked against chain link fence because there’s no one there to field them.

A world without baseball teams and baseball camps for youths is not a figment of imaginary nightmares. It’s real. It’s possible anywhere. Kids from homes without means, lacking necessary resources, are the victims of this baseball-less world. But Baseballism is looking to change that. Their goal, if they can get off the ground, is to unite the world through baseball. Through youth leagues and baseball camps, Baseballism hopes to make the world a place where one language, one currency, and one belief unifies all; Baseball.

I had the chance to talk with Travis Chock about his venture into Baseballism. It’s a great project, and he helped shed some light on his past, baseball, and the concept as a whole.

1. When did baseball first become part of your life?

When I was 5 years old my mom signed me up for baseball and had to drag me to practice kicking, crying, and screaming. I never cried again on the way to practice. My mom also has it logged down in her baby book my favorite toys were a plastic bat and a wiffle ball.

2. Who was your idol growing up?

My Baseball idol growing up believe it or not was Jose Oquendo the 2b for the Cardinals. Growing up in Hawaii the only team we had televised on a regular basis was the Atlanta Braves and I recorded a game in which Jose Oquendo hit a homerun while playing the Braves. It was the first time I saw a homerun happen live on TV. I must have watched that homerun 5000 times on VHS.

3. What is it about baseball that draws you to it, and what do you think draws other people to the sport?

What draws me to baseball is how the game humbles you and teaches you how to deal with adversity. After graduating from High School I crossed the Pacific to attend the University of Oregon where I had no friends or family. After hanging out with different social groups I found that it wasn’t where I was from or how I looked that made me feel at home, it was hanging out with my teammates on the University of Oregon Club Baseball Team. It made me realize how important baseball was to me, and how much it was a part of who I was.

4. When did the idea of Baseballism first come to you?

After playing four years of college baseball at the U of Oregon I realized that the area surrounding the campus was lacking professional baseball instruction. So in 2006 I began a youth summer camp/private lesson company and was deciding what I should call it, after trying to find a domain that wasn’t taken I was shocked when I saw that Baseballism was available. I bought it with out hesitation and called the company Baseballism. Baseballism ran as a camp from 2006-2008. After the camp ended in 2008 (I decided to go to grad school in Portland), I wore around our camp shirts often in Portland and was asked multiple times where people could buy the shirt. Parents who had kids attend our camps back in 2006-08 would buy extra shirts too, so I put two and two together and started making Baseballism shirts and selling them in 2011.

5. What is Baseballism?

To me Baseballism a word that encapsulates everything baseball. It is a belief, a culture, and a love for the game. It is a word that defines the respect all baseball players and fans have for each other and the game.

6. What’s your goal with Baseballism once you get the funding, where do you see it going?

Initially we will use the Kickstarter pledges to fund a merchant website for Baseballism and make our apparel and merchandise readily available to the public. Once the backbone of our company is established with apparel and merchandise we will promote Baseballism with free/affordable camps and clinics that teach baseball the right way. After working at multiple Baseball Academies I learned how expensive camps and private lessons were, and came to the conclusion that the reason they are so expensive is kids are only available after school and during the weekends which means academies make no money when kids are not available. In order to lower the cost of baseball instruction, my idea is to make Baseballism primarily a high end apparel and merchandise company and baseball events we throw will just be a bonus we do for the love of the game. I’d rather give baseball instruction for free anyway.

7. Any new shirt/hat/hoody designs coming up that we haven’t already seen?

Absolutely, we have a polo coming out which we plan to make in every color imaginable. We also have some great new designs we’re working on. All our designs our aimed towards being simple, classic, and timeless just like the game of baseball. We hope to be in Omaha this year selling Baseballism Apparel in the colors of every team in the CWS. We also intend on doing high end merchandise like watches, sunglasses, briefcases, wallets, belts etc.

8. How many people do you think you can reach with your project?

Eventually we want to reach everyone to have anything to do with the game of baseball no matter what country, what race, what team they play for, what team they cheer for. The point of Baseballism is to Unite those who are a part of the Baseball Culture. Everyone wearing a Baseballism shirt in their teams colors but every shirt will say Baseballism on it. Having this happen will show the respect baseball fans and players have for each other while still competing against each other. Everyone will be on team Baseballism. Hopefully we get to the point where we’re the Polo or Lacoste of Baseball and people who just like nice classic clothing who do don’t necessarily follow baseball will start purchasing our apparel. I feel like of the big three sports in America, Baseball is the only one Classic and Historical enough to carry a high end designer brand. I love our iconic logo of Babe Ruth swinging the American Flag, it doesn’t get more American than that.

9. What’s next for you?

What’s next for me is just grinding for the next couple of years and trying to make Baseballism a house hold name. Currently I am a Head High School Baseball Coach and an Instructor at a Community College. I would always like to coach but hopefully I can do it for free if Baseballism takes off. Once we get our merchant site up we plan on doing a Baseballism Shirts inspired by colors of every professional baseball team uniting everyone.

I want to thank Travis for taking the time to answer my questions. Baseballism is a fantastic project. Anything that helps spread baseball and makes the game more easily accessible to all deserves to have its word spread.

Be sure to get your pledge in now. They’ve reached their initial goal, but the more pledges Baseballism gets, the easier it becomes for Travis to provide clinics and baseball camps to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. Check out Baseballism here.