The baseball season is like a macro version of a baseball game.
The team takes the field, the crowd cheers. The nervous energy of anticipation fills the ballpark. The endless possibilities of a game yet played swirls in the minds of the faithful. The first pitch is thrown, and the crowd reacts as if it is the first and last pitch they will ever see.
They react to every subsequent pitch, groaning if goes against their boys, cheering if it is favorable. The home team escapes the top of the first inning, giving their lineup a chance to score first.
The crowd hangs on every ball, strike, and foul ball in the bottom of the first. Each player receives a huge ovation, because their slate is clean. They are major league baseball players with all the potential in the world, and an entire new season ahead of them.
The fans react to every game in April and May as if the season is only 50 games long.
A base hit sends the crowd into a frenzy. A walk shows a player’s plate discipline that will surely last the year. A run makes everyone feel that maybe they’ll be OK after all.
The game settles into the middle innings. The crowd senses the rhythm of the game. They no longer hang on every pitch, but rather watch and wait with patience. There’s still a long way to go, after all. No need to overreact now. They enjoy the sights and sounds. They get a bite to eat and something pleasant with which to wash it down. They forget their troubles and count their blessings.
It’s the All-Star Break. Our team is behind in the standings, but there’s still time. A key player comes off the disabled list here, another rips off a 15-game hitting streak there…no need to panic.
The seventh inning stretch leads into the home stretch. The crowd anticipates the waning moments and dwindling opportunities to make this game a success. Anxiety increases, and every pitch means something again.
Every game is a must win in August and September. Just one more hot streak, one more miracle, just hang on…
Only 6 outs left…5…4…3.
The ninth inning of a close ballgame plays out with all the drama of a tight pennant race. Down by one with men on base, facing the best pitcher the team in the gray uniforms has to offer. The payoff pitch…
Baseball. Welcome back.