Tag Archives: MLB

How baseball compares to life

27 Feb

With Spring Training well under way, I’m comforted once again knowing that my Red Sox are on the field working hard for another World Series trophy. But it’s not just a hope for another ring, I regard baseball as more than “just a game”. It has a magic all it’s own. It can be compared to life in many ways, and many metaphors about life have come from baseball. The game captures the essence of our existence, and there is no other sport like it.

Take it one step at a time. One pitch, one at bat, one inning, one game. It’s a daily existence, with ups and downs just like life. Sometimes you strike out, but you have to go on and put the past behind you. There will be another game, and every day is a new chance to win the game. But you have to maintain your performance and effort, and be ready for opportunities. Always swing hard, in case you hit it, and keep your head in the game.

As with life, you get multiple chances to succeed in every game. You can be behind and still come back and win. You can strike out three times in a row but hit one out of the park on the fourth and you’ve conquered the day and the strikeouts are forgotten. But don’t forget to appreciate the moment! Failure is part of the game though, and that must also be recognized. Even the greatest achievers fail, quite frequently. The best players in the world only hit the ball successfully a third of the time.

You must learn to take what is given to you. If you keep striking out or hitting ground balls then go with the pitch, change your approach. Be ready for opportunities and focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. You score when the other team controls the ball. What’s the one thing you can control in baseball? Your actions. There’s no excuses in baseball either. Don’t blame others, take responsibility and hold yourself accountable.

What happens in the beginning may have no relevance by the end. With 162 games, you can struggle early on yet come back and win. The Red Sox finished last in their division in 2012 with 93 losses, came back in the 2013 season and won the World Series. From worst to first. And who doesn’t remember the greatest comeback of all time, in ALL of sports rivalries, in the 2004 ALCS? The Red Sox were down 0-3 games against the Yankees and came back to win the next 4 games advancing them to the World Series, in which they finally won and broke the 86 year curse of the Bambino. In life, you adapt and pick yourself back up and continue to the last inning. To quote Yogi Berra: “It ain’t over until it’s over”.

You must obey and trust authority. Managers, coaches, umpires..all working for the good of the game. The best players are the best learners. If you’re coachable, then you’ll succeed. Life isn’t fair though, and sometimes neither is baseball. You have to accept the umpires call. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the benefit of the team. Just as with life, sacrifices are made for the ones we love. Play with honor and carry yourself with pride and dignity. And frankly, as with life, sometimes it just boils down to luck.

Baseball is boring. Sure, it can be. To some people. It may look like pitchers are just throwing balls to catchers over and over again. But with every play, decisions are being made by every member of both teams. Every pitch requires a decision from every player. You can make an effort to find joy in the nothingness. Just like life. You stick it out whether you think you’re bored or not. It might not be until the 9th inning until you hit that home run, but that 1 run may be all you need.

There’s no time limit in baseball and there’s no clock. Innings are played until a team wins, no matter how long it takes. No other team sport can claim this. As with life, you know the end is inevitable, you just don’t know when. So you make the best of every inning.

Baseball and the Boston Red Sox matter a lot to me. I became a fan over 31 years ago, and they’ve always been there for me. Every day. Every year. Whether they win or not, they show up. There are people that come and go from your life, and people that let you down, but baseball is always there. To quote Ben in Fever Pitch“Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that?”

Play Ball.

~ LT

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