Baseball as a Microcosm of Life
Runners on second and third, less than two outs. Runners moving on the pitch as the hitter squares for a squeeze bunt. The bunt is fair, and two runs score! Two runs?!? With all the excitement of the suicide squeeze, no one–including the umpires–notices as the runner from second cuts across the infield in front of third base and scores right behind the runner from third.
I was incredulous when I first heard about this play over 20 years ago. This wasn’t ambitious coaching or even trickery within the rules; this was out-and-out cheating! I couldn’t believe a coach would teach this play to impressionable young men, couldn’t believe he would deliberately teach them to break those sacred rules. I was pretty naive; this play was at that time fairly widespread.
In the years since I first heard of this instance of playing outside the rules—and as age has given me a larger perspective of the game I have loved as a player, coach, and fan since I was six years old—I still see some who respect the old-school code of the game and who still teach baseball as a microcosm of life:
- Respect the game.
- Respect your teammates.
- Respect your opponents.
- Respect the umpires (as difficult as that can be at times — don’t get me started).
The good ones don’t do anything to show anyone up. They realize that to responsibly pass the values of the game to the next generation, they must teach respect for the game as a microcosm of life…like Abner Doubleday, who is commonly given credit as the the creator of the game, intended.
How is baseball a microcosm of life?
I admittedly see the game of baseball through a spiritual lens. I make no apologies for that. But consider the similarities of baseball and a faith life:
- Both have a creator with benevolent intent for the participants.
- Both have participants who corrupted the creator’s original intent (Read: designated hitter and original sin).
- Both offer multiple opportunities for redemption.
- Both value sacrifice.
- And–to be fair–baseball’s detractors would also say they both last for an eternity. That would be okay with me, though.
Related Blog Post: Coach Dave: For the Love of the Game
Al Ainsworth tells good, clean stories. Click here to read about him and his books.