Good times, for sure. But I recently came across this quote from Francis T. Vincent, Commissioner of Baseball (1989-92) and I realized that baseball was more than good times for me. It was downright instructional:
“Baseball teaches us, or has taught most of us, how to deal with failure. We learn at a very young age that failure is the norm in baseball and, precisely because we have failed, we hold in high regard those who fail less often – those who hit safely in one out of three chances and become star players. I also find it fascinating that baseball, alone in sport, considers errors to be part of the game, part of its rigorous truth.”
Think about it. A star hitter in the Major Leagues may bat .325. That means he only gets a hit 30% of the time; he fails 70% of the time! And what’s more, baseball keeps track of every error in every game. You might want to forget dropping the ball, making a wild throw, or missing the base, but that error is always there. Like Vincent said, the truth is in the stats forever. It sort of keeps one humble, doesn’t it?
So the moment I read that quote, I knew I’d share it with you. Because of course, baseball and writing are pretty darn similar, starting with the lingo:
When we want to sell an article or get an agent to sign us, we make a pitch.
If we want to succeed, we understand it’s a numbers game. We know that we have to throw lots of pitches out into the world for that one successful hit.
And failure is basically the norm when it comes to writing, too. Gosh, I’ve failed way more than I’ve succeeded! Any writer who’s managed to get a body of work published has racked up a ton of rejections.
Speaking of which, we hold on to those rejections. It’s our statistic of honor, proof that we’ve put ourselves out there. And when we succeed, we can look back on those rejections with a Ha! Take that, you lousy rejections! But deep down, we know: those rejections are our part of a writer’s truth. Without the rejections, there would be no success, and that’s mighty humbling.
So thank you, baseball, for getting me prepared for a writing career. It’s nice to know I haven’t wasted my time, enjoying one of my favorite sports. And it's not too late for you. Play ball, friends, and keep writing!