You were my first love. The beauty and flow of your game are a mirror for life. There is drama, excitement, planning, injustice, quiet (even boring) times, strategy, shattered dreams, and much, much more.
It is a game built on failure, like life itself. The best players fail 7 out of 10 times; the difference between greatness and mediocrity is tiny. A batter hitting .320 gets 35 more hits than a .250 hitter in a full season—that is one extra hit every 4 days. The difference that separates the average player that never gets remembered from the Hall of Fame is only one hit every 4 games!
That means we all fail. We are all victims of injustice. We all get bored for parts of our lives because of the monotony and repetition. It also means that we all succeed enough to win games.
This game doesn’t end until the winning team gets 27 outs. That means no matter the score we all still have a chance to win.
What other game can do this? None. Zip. Zero.
In 1969 the New York Mets, a last-place team for 7 straight years, won the World series. That was a miracle so profound they are still called the Miracle Mets. You never know what will happen next. God sends us miracles. They just don’t happen every day or week.
I see you, Baseball, headed for the scrap heap of our culture. You are too slow and too boring, they say. The same thing happened with long walks on a summer day, time spent with a friend doing nothing, and finding out you forgot the mustard for the hot dogs. Our life is full of mistakes and moments that have no exciting “Marvel Comics” chase scenes.
You are like a great mentor. You can be easy to forget or go unnoticed. But, there is so much to learn about my life by never leaving you. But my advice to you?
Speed up the game.
Find ways to minimize long breaks in the game. Exaggerate the stars as other sports do. Allow celebration from the players; there is nothing wrong with having fun. But never forget that you are a beautiful mentor. Don’t change who you are.
To parents who want to help their children, I say, “Teach them the game of baseball in any form. It could be softball, kickball, or even whiffle ball; show them that it is okay to make an error or strikeout. There will be other chances. Teach them that they will hit the ball hard and somebody will catch it. Later they will hit a slow weak ground ball that will roll into the outfield for a hit.
It only takes one miracle in your life to change everything. Like in baseball, the miracle will come, you just don’t know when it will happen. So grab your bat, grab your glove and get in the game.”
I learned that from you, baseball. Say true to who you are. We all need you.