Baseball: An Alternative View of Success

I really love baseball. I know other sports are good too and can be fun and exciting to watch, but for me, none of them can match baseball. There is no part of the game that I don’t like. I love reading about the history and lore of the game. Players of yesteryear like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and others fascinate me.

I know the game’s high points, like the 1951 National League pennant race. In mid-August of that year, the Brooklyn Dodgers had a dominant 13 1/2 games lead over second-place New York Giants. Most people assumed the Dodgers were ready for the World Series. However, in the latter part of the season, they collapsed and the Giants fired up by winning 37 of their last 44 games, including the last seven games in a row. He forced a three-game tiebreaker that the Giants won with Bobby Thompson’s famous three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, known as the “shot heard around the world.”

Then there were the low points like the Black Sox scandal surrounding the 1919 World Series in which eight Chicago White Sox players were permanently banned from baseball because they conspired with bettors to fix the series’ outcome for the Cincinnati Reds to win.

Through all these ups and downs, several things are constant. Base paths are always 90 feet long. The distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate is always 60 feet 6 inches. The home team always has the advantage of the last at-bats. The duration of a game is always measured in innings rather than with a stopwatch like in soccer or basketball.

All of this gives “America’s pastime” a rich and unique place in the nation’s culture. However, even if you have never played the game, there is something you can learn from baseball that will carry over into every aspect of your life, whether in business or at home. It is the alternate definition of baseball success.

What is that definition? For the answer, let’s consider the numbers you see on the sports page or on ESPN after a hitter’s name. It’s called your batting average, and it’s a fraction written to the thousandth decimal place like this (.xxx). But where does this number come from? How is it calculated and what does it say about a batter?

Before a new baseball season begins, all players start with a batting average of 1,000. (That’s a decimal, not a comma, after 1, but in colloquial usage, this was known as “hitting a thousand”). Now, fast forward to the first game of the season, and Mighty Casey is up. Bat. In the first inning he hits a ground ball to the third baseman who takes him out the first time. Then on his next at-bat in the fourth inning, he swings his mighty bat and hits a long fly, but it’s not long enough, and the center fielder catches him on the warning track in front of 404 feet. sign in the dead center field. Next time, in the seventh inning, Casey connects with the ball and hits a soft little Texas Leaguer over the head of second baseman who drops for a hitting single. Now, it’s the bottom of the ninth inning. The score is 4-2 in favor of the visiting team, but Casey’s team has managed to load the bases with two outs. Casey takes a step towards the plate, and you know how the old poem ends, “Mighty Casey has crossed out.”

After the game it will be reported that Casey’s batting average is .250. That means he hit four times during the game and hit the ball safely once in a 1: 4 ratio, or written as a decimal to the thousandth place .250. These records are compiled for the length of the season and, but they always show the same ratio: the percentage of times a hitter hit safely compared to the number of at-bats.

It should be noted that no player in the history of the game has ever had a perfect season average of 1,000. In fact, no one has ever had a .500 season average. The best batting average of a season belonged to Hugh Duffy, whose average was .4397 in the year 1894. The best batting average of his career is still held by Ty Cobb, whose career average of .3664 has never been defeated. .

So how does this relate to a definition of success? Look at it this way. The greatest hitter of all time, a Hall of Famer, Ty Cobb is regarded with admiration and respect by baseball enthusiasts everywhere, even though he failed in his task of hitting the ball almost two-thirds of the time. . Modern players would be happy with that record. The average player these days has a season average well below .300. This means that they can be counted as not so bad if they fail three-quarters of the time to hit the ball safely.

Perhaps, then, we’d better rethink our definition of success to be more on the line of hitting a baseball. In business and in life, you probably don’t leave the park all the time. You can be wrong more often than right. The important thing is that you keep doing it. Sometimes, you hit him out of the park, but most of the time, you end up back in the dugout. However, you don’t give up. Keep swinging.

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