Every spring the “Summer Boys” celebrate the “Great American Pastime.” As I watched the Padres and Dodgers meet today, I was struck by the similarity between baseball and the way our society works.
Perhaps that is why, as other sports gain in popularity, baseball still retains its popularity and historical significance after more than 100 years. It reflects each of us and how we live our lives.
“It’s as American as ‘Mom and Apple Pie.’ One of the most famous baseball comedies of all time is, “Who’s First” by the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.
baseball and life
Baseball, like life, has no clock. No time limit or “sudden death” overtime. You know there is an end to the game, but never exactly when…it’s like life. You might be way behind in the score, given a death sentence, but you can bounce back and come back to survive another inning or even win in the end. In baseball, as in life, we often fight the hardest in the last inning of the game.
Balls and Strikes
In baseball, as in life, you have multiple opportunities to succeed. Over nine innings, he must get four at-bats, and he gets four balls and three strikes and a bunch of foul balls. I think it’s interesting that if you fail to get it right 70% of the time you can end up in the hall of fame. As in life, we often have many more failures than successes. But in baseball, as in life, it is those failures that make us better and stronger to be a better competitor the next day.
Individuals and Teams
In baseball, as in life, you can excel individually and you can also excel as part of a team. Tinker to Evers to Chance was a famous trio of double plays by Chicago Cubs infielders. Shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance made their first double play in 1902 and were immortalized in a poem.
Signing a great client in life is like hitting one out of the park and winning the big game: an individual effort. Marketing, advertising and sales teams working together can have a winning season or a very profitable year – a team effort.
In baseball, as in life, we are sometimes asked to make sacrifices for the good of the group. In baseball, the sacrifice bunt is used to advance runners. A sacrifice fly with fewer than two outs can score a runner from third base. Parents can do without many material things to save for their children’s education. Sometimes you do the work and someone else gets the glory.
In baseball, as in life, there are policemen. The baseball cops are the umpires. Unlike in life, referees are exposed to theft quite often. Stealing bases is not only okay, it is encouraged in baseball. And, like the police in real life, sometimes they miss a call and call someone who was actually safe. But that’s life and that’s why we love baseball.
Last but not least, in baseball, as in life, you score when the opposing team controls the ball. In life, we find ourselves trying to achieve greatness while others control the ball in our workplace, school, or military service. Sometimes it feels like the other team really wants you to fail. And sometimes, at work or in society, it can seem like everyone wants to get you.
But, in baseball, as in life, those who are successful at either find a way to overcome the obstacles that come their way. Hitting the baseball or hitting the books can bring success.
So when I wake up each morning and look my workday in the eye, a little voice inside me screams: “PLAY BALL!”