Wise Words of Wisdom
Wise Words of Wisdom are sought from many sources. Each day, millions of people seek wise words of wisdom from the Holy Bible, the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, or the Torah. Others seek wise words of wisdom from Buddha, Confucius, Ann Landers, or Jon Stewart. Some look to philosophers, or aphorists, while others only want to hear what scientists have to say about human life. But we are going to look at baseball wisdom, as these wise words of wisdom are easily applied to everyday life.
No one knows how long the game will last. There is no time clock in baseball. One game might last six times longer than another. How long the game lasts is hardly as important as what you do when you are in there. And one thing else is for sure about a baseball game: No one knows what is going to happen.
The game is not always fair. Sometimes you hit a scalding line drive, but it is right at a defender, or a defender makes a great play to "rob" you of a hit. Sometimes you hit a ball 400 feet, but it is caught at the center field wall. Great swing that was, but to the wrong part of the park. All you can do is prepare to do the best you can in the next at bat. Remember that there are also times when you hit a little granny blooper off the end of the bat that luckily falls between three fielders, and you are safe. And times when you will get on base only because of someone else's error.
Umpires make mistakes. Umpires enforce the rules of the game, make judgment calls, and may take disciplinary action against you. There will be times when you are called out when you were really safe. It helps to remember that there are just as many times when you really are out, but called safe. There are times when umpires realize that they've made a mistake—but it is too late to change their call—and they give you the benefit of the next close call to make amends. It is alright to argue a bad call, but if you cross the line to public disrespect, umpires have long memories.
You have to start at the bottom. Most of the great players had to pay their dues, riding buses, making hardly any money, playing in the middle of nowhere for tiny crowds, receiving very little applause. The best move up the ladder. Natural talent is important, but devotion to your craft, passion for what you love to do, a positive attitude, and constant practice for proficiency often tells the tale.
Be prepared to sacrifice. A good teammate will selflessly sacrifice for others, so that they might score. Even better is to "hit one the other way" to move someone else into position to score, for which you will not even receive credit for the sacrifice you have made. Only those who truly understand the game will realize the good you have done.
WISE WORDS OF WISDOM
Wait for a good pitch. It is not unusual to see a player swing at a curveball two feet outside or a 99-mile-an-hour fastball over their head. You can't hit that pitch. You are wasting your swings, and you only have so many. It puts you behind on the count, which makes it much harder to get a hit. Why do people do it? It is just too tempting. It is hard to stay in control of yourself. Every pitch is not a good one. Be willing to take a walk.
Don't try to stretch a single into a double. We see players, not satisfied with the single they got, thrown out trying to make a double out of it.
Don't stretch a triple into a single. Some players these days hit a long drive and instead of running, they stand at the plate admiring what they have done. They assume the ball is going over the wall. They assume they have hit a home run. So they don't hustle. If that ball bounces off the top of the wall right back to an outfielder, the batter only makes it to first base; if he had hustled—played the game the right way—he would have had three bases.
A hitter has two-tenths of a second to decide whether to swing. When trying to hit a baseball coming at you from 60'6" away at 90 mph, you have only a split-second to decide whether to swing or not to swing. This is why you need to be completely focused on what you are doing; have a good stance at the plate; and mostly: you need to develop discernment.
Everybody makes errors. This is important to remember. Because of this fact, you do not want to get down on yourself when you make an error; you do not want to disparage other players when they make an error. Errors are part of the game. Sure, let's keep them to a minimum. But once they happen, quickly move on.
Sometimes you must slide to avoid the tag.
Position yourself well on defense. Defense is mostly about judgment and reflexes. But being properly positioned is very important. Play too deep and you will give up lots of little dinky hits. Play too shallow and they'll hit it over your head.
Throwing accuracy is more important than velocity. It does no good for a fielder to wing the ball 115 mph if it sails up into the stands.
Cooler heads prevail. The best pitchers are those who work well under pressure. They are in a jam, things are going wrong; they do not lose control of their emotions, they are not thinking about what just happened. They focus on what they need to do now. The best pitchers are neither too high after a win nor too low after a loss.
Have a game plan. The best pitchers go into the game with a clear idea of what their goal is, and a road map of how they plan to achieve it. Once they get into the game, it is all about execution of the game plan.
To succeed you need good control. It serves no purpose to have the ability to pitch a baseball 100 mph if you can't throw strikes. Take a man such as Greg Maddux. He doesn't look like an athlete; more like a librarian. He threw the baseball slower than most others. But he threw it in the right place more often that any pitcher ever.
Don't allow inherited runners to score. So your buddy messed up and he is in trouble. You come in to relieve him. The bases are loaded and there's nobody out. If these runners score, it won't be on your record; it will be on your teammate's record. A relief pitcher is also known as a fireman. He didn't start the fire, but he's here to put it out. Save a victory for your friend if you can.
You need a nice level swing. It does little good to use your precious turn at the plate to flail away, swinging wildly at the ball.
Pick up your teammates. So your big hitter strikes out with the bases loaded. You come up next. If you drive in those runs, nobody will remember your teammate's failure. If you are pitching and your shortstop drops a ball; strike out the next batter for your shortstop so that his error will be forgotten. Back up your other fielders. If a ball gets by them, you need to be right behind them to limit the damage.
It is great to sit at the end of the bench on a championship team. Not everybody is going to be Willie Mays. Find a role you can play well. If you are the 25th man on a 25 man roster, be the best 25th man there is.
The best hitters fail 70 percent of the time. You will not make it to the big leagues if you cannot accept failure. The 70 percent of the time you fail is not what will be remembered; it is the 30 percent of the time that you succeed. You must accept the failure to achieve the success.
WISE WORDS OF WISDOM
The difference between a Hall of Famer and an average player is small. The statistical difference between a batter who becomes famous and is remembered by history, and one who is average and remembered only while he has living family members, is only 50 hits per 1,000 at bats. It is the small things that separate the men from the boys. Besides your God given gifts, there is discipline, training, nutrition, taking care of yourself, staying sharp mentally and physically, getting a good night's sleep. The devil is in the details.
It may not be he with the most talent who wins the race. The man with the most hits in a career of all baseball players who ever played the game is Pete Rose. He had less than average natural gifts. He made the most of what the Lord gave him, through sheer desire.
It can all end at any moment. Some players are cut down in the prime of life by unforeseen injuries or illnesses. You may not always be able to do what you love. Enjoy it while you have it. Know that the only game you have for certain is today's game.
Every player leaves a legacy. Even beyond your actual performance, you will be remembered for your comportment, and the way you treated others. It may be said "He was always a gentleman who carried himself with class." Or "He was a real arse. Nobody liked him, not even his teammates."
Be a mentor. After your day in the sun has passed, when you are replaced by the next generation, pass on your wisdom and experience to younger people who can use your guidance. Many former players stay involved in the game by becoming talent scouts, instructors, coaches, or managers.
There are no loafers on a championship team. Let's say some of the people on your team—or in your community—decide they are not even going to try. They are going to just loaf around and expect the rest of the team to do enough work for all of you. This team will never win a championship. Unless everybody, all hands on deck, contributes what they can, the team will ultimately be eliminated. A good manager will not tolerate—and certainly not encourage—sloth.
The game must be played according to permanent rules. There has to be an expectation that the game will played without the rules changing in the middle of it. The game must be played with the same rules applied to everybody. This is what equality actually means. Equality does not mean everybody hits the same number of home runs, or finishes with the same batting average. People are decidedly not equal when it comes to natural ability, training, or motivation. The game is not fair if I have to hit a ball 400 feet to count as a home run but you only have to hit it 200 feet. That is not equality. That is not fairness. If people are unsure of the rules, or think they will be changed at any moment, they will not invest in the game.
You always have a chance. Even with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, you always have a chance in baseball. Never give up. Miracles do happen.