A Lengthy Introduction Post
Baseball is often times referred to as the game of failure. By the physics of it, this is true. Success comes at a much lower rate than failure for a hitter. If you can succeed in reaching for a hit one third of your plate appearances, you are considered a super star. For many reasons baseball can be considered a game of failure. This is a case of “the glass is half-empty”. If you take the reasons for baseball being a game of failure and look at them inversely, you will see that baseball is truly the ultimate game of redemption.
Truly no other game can match the combination of physical skill and strategy, while carrying such a redeeming atmosphere as in baseball. Professional Football, for instance, is a very intense (for the most part) sport with 16 regular season games and 3 potential playoff games. That is a total of 19 games, if you’re lucky, that you have a chance to prove yourself in. Many people go straight to the negative attributes when mention is made of the 162 game regular season in baseball. What is rarely brought to attention is the numerous amount of chances that provides for someone to do something great. Jonny Gomes, a journeyman outfielder that has been in the league since 2003, is known for telling his teammates in the clubhouse before games “Somebody get famous today!” This can be taken at face-value as a veteran attempting to excite the rookies and newcomers. Look deeper and you will realize that this request, this demand by Gomes speaks to the opportunity baseball provides, every at-bat, for somebody to do something amazing. The level of suspense built up, which translates to pressure on the players, is why every hit, every run, and every home run is so special.
Home runs (or any great play) being so special, and the number of chances a player has in the season are the reason why baseball is the ultimate game of redemption. This is why the villain from last night can be tonight’s hero. The same man that made the error that cost your team the game has 4 chances tomorrow plus opportunities in the field to make things right. If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, give it another day. If not another day, then a week. This is not to say watch players that strikeout continue to strike out for eventually they will definitely hit a homerun. My point is that every chance for failure is the same chance for success, and more often than not, over time, players learn themselves, and the game, teams rebound, and there is redemption in baseball.
162 games gives much room for second, and third, and fourth chances. Hitting a homerun in your first at bat is great, but if you whiff the next three times, what difference does it make whether the home run or the strikeout comes first? It is a game for patient people, but it is rewarding with suspense like no other. Any baseball fan can relate to the sweet, satisfying feeling of watching your team grind out a tough battle that isn’t settled until the end of the 9th inning. Regardless of whether your team lost the last game 1-0 or 10-0, baseball is so uniquely unpredictable that anything can happen next time.
America’s pastime is an intense, classic game that is beautiful to watch and even better to play. Whether you’re a player or a fan, rest assured you are watching the ultimate game of redemption.
“Baseball is a game of redemption…a guy can strike out three times but still hit a homerun in his last at bat to win the game. The best hitters make outs 70 percent of the time. In baseball, failure is built in. But that also leave a lot of room for redemption.” -Peter Bavasi* (The Curse of Rocky Colavito by Terry Pluto-Page 261)
*Peter Bavasi was the Minor League Scouting Director for the Padres in 1969 and served as GM of the Toronto Blue Jays from 1976-1981.