George Ushela is a suburban Chicago high school baseball coach. In Sunday’s Chicago Tribune (June 4) he considered three parts of the game that still fascinate him after twenty-one years of coaching.
1. Failure. The hitter can do exactly what he wants to do and still make an out. The game has failure built into it. For this reason maturity comes through constantly failing. A mature player will realize that he did everything right and still failed. The difference will be that the truly mature player perseveres and thus eventually will know success.
2. Strategy. The way a baseball manager shifts his defense, plays the percentages, decides when to bunt or when not to bunt, and considers all the other elements that go into a complex game strategy make the game so intriguing for those who understand it.
3. Time. As long as your team is on the field there is still time to win. Anything can happen and a lot does. The clock never runs out on you in baseball, since both teams get the same number of outs. This makes the game fair in a very unique, and American, way.
Come to think of it each of these three parts of the game parallel life itself. This is one of a thousand reasons why I think this is the greatest sport there is. It all reminds me of the old philosopher Yogi Berra’s line: “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.” And then there was former MLB player Ken Aspromonte’s line about having a bad month: “I’ve heard of guys going 0-for-15, or 0-for-25, but I went 0-for-July!” Sometimes I know the feeling Ken!