Baseball, Politics and America

As the granddaughter of a man who is in the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame for being a storied football and baseball coach, I come by my love of sports naturally. I grew up listening to the Detroit Tigers on transistor radios, coached girls softball while in college, and have spent many hours warming bleacher seats while watching my children play baseball and softball. Heck, I even live in the town next to where 2 Hall of Famers lived: Larry Doby & Yogi Berra. I really love the sport. And while watching the Playoffs, rooting for a team who was neither in “my” Division nor League, it occurred to me that there are good reasons why baseball has been called “America’s Favorite Pastime”: it reflects America. It has had its good times and its scandals. It has been racist and discriminatory and it has been a gateway for so many immigrants. And it has brought joy, thrills, pride and excitement. And to me, there are valuable lessons therein that could stand to be learned by those involved in today’s political climate.

What I Learn From Baseball:

  1. Rules
    1. There are rules in the game that are simple and nuanced. Those that take the time to understand them and play by them are the ones who are the most successful.
    2. There are umpires in place to make sure that the rules are abided by and who call out when they are not. Consequences are handed out, and while there may be disagreements, in the end the rules are followed.
  2. Talent
    1. In order to make it to the majors, you have to practice. You need to develop your skills. You must be good at your craft. Relying on others gets you only so far – you have to have the skills to operate in those clutch situations.
  3. Teams
    1. Each side has its own pride and culture. While there are star players, the teams without a winning attitude and team culture rarely win. Attitude, an eye on the prize, and an unshakeable belief in the team’s ability to overcome the odds make all the difference.
  4. Players
    1. See #1 & #2 above…those that get those, generally do well
    2. There are stand-outs on every team. Fans can be aligned with one team, but can fully appreciate when a player on the opposing team plays well, goes above & beyond, or is generally an asset to the sport. These players are respected by all types of fans, even if they play for the competition.
  5. The Sport
    1. Everything that is done is with the best interest of the sport in mind. Players who are in it only for themselves are recognized as such and can be ostracized by the fans. Those that are the team players, that are in it for the sport, are the ones that draw in the fans and keep the sport alive and thriving.

Now try re-reading that, this time substituting “Candidate” for “Player”, “Party” for “Team”, “Moderator” for “umpire” and “America” for “The Sport”

1.   Rules

There are rules in the campaign that are simple and nuanced. Those that take the time to understand them and play by them are the ones who are the most successful.

There are moderators in place to make sure that the rules are abided by and who call out when they are not. Consequences are handed out, and while there may be disagreements, in the end the rules are followed.

2.   Talent

In order to make it to the White House, you have to practice. You need to develop your skills. You must be good at your craft. Relying on others gets you only so far – you have to have the skills to operate in those clutch situations.

3.   Parties

Each side has its own pride and culture. While there are star players, the parties without a winning attitude and party culture rarely win. Attitude, an eye on the prize, and an unshakeable belief in the party’s ability to overcome the odds make all the difference.

4.   Candidates

See #1 & #2 above…those that get those, generally do well

There are stand-outs on every party. Voters can be aligned with one party, but can fully appreciate when a candidate on the opposing party plays well, goes above & beyond, or is generally an asset to America. These players are respected by all types of voters, even if they play for the competition.

5.   America

Everything that is done is with the best interest of America in mind. Candidates who are in it only for themselves are recognized as such and can be ostracized by the voters. Those that are the party players, that are in it for America, are the ones that draw in the voters and keep America alive and thriving.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

You know, in the words of the great Yogi Berra, you can observe a lot just by watching.

Amen to that.



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