Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why Baseball Is Awesome

First of all, the game is for us kids. (Yes, I know that I'm 37.) Plain and simple, it's a kids game where you get to throw something, hit something, and run. Sometimes it feels like it's an individual game, such as when a good pitcher faces a good hitter. However, you really do need everyone, even those guys on the bench who already played and got subbed out already.

Home runs are fun, but you can just as easily make a difference by covering the entire outfield as a fleet-footed centerfielder, erasing all the fly balls that would otherwise be singles, doubles, or triples. If you don't mind a little work, you can put on "the tools of ignorance" and be "a wall" so that your pitcher feels comfortable throwing a nasty slider or a filthy splitter or that hammer of a curve in the dirt.

The game can be played so many ways. You can bunt, steal, and hit-and-run. Or you can get on base, play station-to-station and wait for the 3-run homer. You can pitch-by-committee to get the win or have one guy go-the-distance for a complete game victory.

Baseball, in some form, can be played from the time you can walk until the time you when you can't. Kids can grab some friends and play with a whiffle-ball in the backyard. And adults can get drafted and work their way up through single-A, double-A, and triple-A to the big leagues. Baseball can help you find friends or even help you find a college.

It's baseball. It's a lot like life. Sometimes seemingly an individual effort, but always better with a team. Hard to figure out ... and just when you think you have it down, something changes, adapts, and you have to work harder to adapt with it. Life's lessons can be found on the square that is the diamond. And they are not all easy to see.

At times it may be most beneficial to take a small break, refresh, and renew the passion. Remember why we do this. To learn. To get better. To help others do the same. But always also to enjoy what we do.

I tell my kids this so often that I hope they know it by heart, but it's a mantra I will live by for the rest of my life, not just in baseball, but in life:

Work hard. Get better. Have fun.

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