Monday, October 12, 2015


Why do I love baseball so much? it goes....

I love baseball because it mirrors life.  Most of the time, you do the right thing and you get the desired outcomes - or you do the wrong thing and get undesirable outcomes.  That's kinda the way life goes most of the time.

But sometimes, you do the right thing and get undesirable outcomes - or you completely do the wrong thing and get the desired outcome anyway - despite doing the wrong thing.

The batter can have a string of three at-bats.  In the first two, he swings awkwardly and rolls the ball slowly to the infield and manages somehow to reach base safely - in both cases, managing to just barely hit the top of the ball hard enough to roll it past the pitcher.  On the third at-bat, the same batter swings a textbook-perfect swing and hits the ball perfectly.  The line drive screams toward the right fielder - directly to the right fielder - who catches it without taking a single step and the batter is out.  Two successes on texbook failures, and a failure on a textbook success.  That's the way life goes every then and again.

The same thing can happen with a pitcher, who pitches a masterful game, giving up just one run on just a smattering of hits.  Maybe the only hit was a home run that scored the opposing team's only run of the game - all the other batters fared miserably against the pitcher on this day. His team hits the ball all over the place, but manages to not score any runs in the game.  Despite his masterful performance, the pitcher is recorded as the losing pitcher, despite having technically outpitched the opposing pitcher and his team having outhit the opposing team.

And then, there's the doubly-odd.  One former player (Vladimir Guerrero) was known far and wide as a great "bad pitch" hitter.  He once actually reached base safely by hitting a pitch that had bounced on its way to the plate!  And yet, he managed to go 0/3 in David Cone's 1999 perfect game (which I was in the stands to witness).

Baseball reflects the uncertainty of life. That's why its so wonderful.  All sports do to some extent - if they didn't involve uncertainty, they would be pointless.  If the outcome of a game can be determined without actually playing the game, it makes the whole thing rather stupid.

As I write this, the Chicago Cubs are back in the playoffs.  Last week, the team won its first playoff game since 2003.   That's not even the worst of it.  They had lost nine playoff games in between.  In one of the Back to the Future movies, Marty McFly learns that the 2015 Cubs will win the World Series in a five game sweep of the Miami/Florida Marlins.  Well, the Marlins ended up not making the 2015 playoffs and the movie predicted that they'd win the World Series a week before the actual 2015 World Series would even begin - but that's all just being a factist for me.

The spirit of the game lies is the same spirit that fills life with hope and disappointment.  

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