I work here at Bronner’s among some really passionate baseball fans. Most of them love the Detroit Tigers. Some call another MLB (Major League Baseball) team their favorite. Others have enough love for multiple teams! All have plenty of love for their children’s or grandchildren’s school and summer-league teams. Yes, baseball is still America’s great pastime!
The game has been played in the U.S. since at least the early 1800s if not earlier. When the New York Knickerbockers baseball club formally organized in 1845, they wrote down their rules, the “Knickerbocker Rules,” and were considered by some to be the first team to play under modern rules. One of the most significant of those rules outlawed “soaking” or “plugging” a runner. Under the old rules, a fielder could put a runner out by hitting him with the thrown baseball!
One of the great baseball radio announcers of all time, the late Ernie Harwell, was the grand marshal of the 2003 Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Grand Parade. Bronner’s also hosted him for a book signing. He was a kind, friendly man, and his visit to Frankenmuth and Bronner’s was a home run in my book!
Baseball at any level teaches you five things about life:
- SELF-CONTROL – Merriam-Webster defines self-control as “restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.” Not everyone who plays, coaches or watches baseball exemplifies self-control, but that should be their goal. Little eyes are watching.
2. ENDURANCE – Most MLB baseball games last nine innings. But there’s no guarantee a game won’t go longer … much longer. The longest game on record was the Brooklyn Robins (later called the Dodgers) versus the Boston Braves May 1, 1920. They played to a 1-1 tie when the umpires called the game after 26 innings because of darkness. You have to be in it for the long haul!
3. FOCUS – The game of baseball moves slower than many other sports. But the tempo of the game can change with something as simple as the crack of a bat. Whether you’re at the plate or in the field, you have to stay focused so you don’t miss opportunities. In the second-longest game on record, the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets played 25 innings before the Cardinals won 4-3 due to an error on a pick-off attempt. Talk about focus!
4. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES – They’re called errors in baseball AND in the game of life. After all, we’re human. But we get up, dust ourselves off and refocus.
5. IT’S A TEAM SPORT – We contribute all we can to the team whether it’s in the batters box or on the field. We encourage each other to do our best and try to lift up those experiencing a slump. No room for the blame game here.
Our family experiences baseball from a little different angle than many. My husband has umpired high school and summer baseball for 34 years. Our son is a AAA Minor League call-up umpire. (He is called up to substitute in MLB games throughout the season as needed.) The life lessons from baseball are still the same. Our family hasn’t aced every test, but we’re still up to bat and occasionally hit one out of the park.
game photo credits – Robert Libka
What are some life lessons you have learned from baseball?