You like baseball?
I didn’t think so.
This is the age of short attention span. People don’t think they have enough time for something that lasts more than a few minutes,* and they certainly won’t devote a couple of hours to anything that is not fast-paced.
I’ve heard the arguments. Boring. Not enough action. Too slow. Who has that kind of time?
That’s a shame, really. Because baseball is anything but boring if you know what you are watching. It is an intellectual game. Baseball is chess. All other sports are checkers.
More importantly, baseball is a metaphor for life, and if you stop by here often (and read between the lines), you may have noticed that I love metaphors.
The game is hard on the ego. No place to hide. All eyes are on you. You can’t “take a play off” or you may be publicly exposed.
Those who love the game have a measure for success. We call it the Mendoza Line.
Mario Mendoza was a professional baseball player from Mexico with a career batting average that consistently hovered around .200. That’s two hits for every ten at-bats. It is recognized as the minimum batting average for a starting player, no matter how good his glove. Any player with a batting average below .225 is said to be “approaching the Mendoza Line.”
Consider that for a second. Twenty percent success. Eighty percent failure.
But also recognize that three hits per ten at-bats over a career places you in serious contention for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Four per ten and you will be immortalized by a statue outside the stadium.
Baseball is a game of failure. Which brings me to the “what if?”
What if Mendoza could have just managed to hit something to take that two-out-of-ten to three-out-of-ten? A slow-roller down the third base line. A dying quail. Ground ball right up the middle. Just one more hit here or there and his name would not be the benchmark for failure in a game of failures.
Sometimes I think about old Mario when I believe I’m knocking everything in life out of the park. Other times, perhaps more often, I get out of bed hoping for that bloop single that will allow me to play another day.
Either way I just keep swinging.
I think Mario would like that.
*Metrics show that you will not likely read this if it is over 500 words. This one came in at 409.