There is something rather incredible about preparing for a new season of baseball… much like the rehearsals of a play or a musical performance, which you hope will bring the intended result. In the theater, we hope for an evolution of character development as the opening night draws closer, with the interplay and the dialogue between the actors gradually solidifying and the natural flow of the plot emerging. In the musical circles, it is the strength of the individual musicians coming together in rhythm and harmony to create the single unified sound of one voice for the whole of the ensemble. As for baseball… and I would say… in all team sports, it is working toward that moment when the actions of leading and following at the same time become natural and unforced to create a beautiful thing called team that makes it all worth it. As a lover of the National Pastime, I watch the magical theater of Spring Training with great attention to detail. The interaction between manager, coaches, established players, non-rostered invitees and those on the bubble is a study in budding teamwork, respect for the game and for each other. Some dreams will be realized while others will be dashed, despite one’s best attempt to become a star in “The Show.” Spring Training at the Big League Camp may be as far as it goes for many of these young men, who’s accolades are displayed with MVP trophies of all sizes on the mantles of their homes across this dear land of ours, but the fine line between almost and not quite is often as fuzzy as the one propelling them to the 40-man roster.
We can learn a lot by just watching. Life and baseball are intertwined in a curious way when you come down to it. We all face one-on-one challenges, as does the batter and the pitcher in the showdown of every at bat. We are often called upon to react and rely upon our instincts and skills as others “put the ball in play.” And, we find ourselves reacting to and supporting our teammates when things go well… and when they don’t. Each team starts the season with the same dream, to be the last team standing, holding the trophy… yet only one will actually realize that dream to completion. The tears of joy are rarely as frequent as the tears of disappointment. Yes, I guess baseball is life to many of us.