Baseball is, at its core, a kid’s game. Kids love to run around the bases, chase after the ball on defense, and try their best to hit the ball as hard as they can. People watch MLB because it’s fun, and because the big kids who play the game show them how it’s supposed to be played at an elite level. MLB players play the game because it’s fun for them, and because, of course, they get paid a crapload of money for being really good at a kid’s game.
At some point in our lives, we’ve seen the parents who take the game way too seriously and make it not so fun for their kids. We also see kids, who are competitive and who want to do well, get down on themselves for striking out, making an error, or running into an out.
It’s up to me, as a coach, to balance the competitive spirit with some context. In many ways, the player’s job is to win, and not winning is tantamount to failure. But that doesn’t mean there was no effort involved, and it also doesn’t mean that the kids don’t care. Trust me, they care very very much. They care when they make a mistake and have to be benched in favor of someone else who won’t make as many mistakes. They get bummed out when they try to take an extra base but get thrown out by a hair. (As an aside, our umpires really suck, so it’s not even their fault sometimes.) And it’s up to the coach to tell his charges that everything is going to be okay.
In some ways, we at WSD are sort of like coaches. We have to tell everyone that, in a 162-game season, a four-game losing streak is nothing. And even though the Cubs were weathering some St. Louis Cardinals Black Magic again, they were still able to pull off a win Wednesday night to snap their losing streak and end the Cards’ own win streak.
In between wins, Cubs fans were getting a bit restless. To be honest, I wasn’t too pleased with the losses either, but I also went on with my life and watched a lot of nerd TV as well as spending time with the family. Darn, the Cubs lost. Oh well, let’s play Carcassonne. Because tomorrow is another game, and maybe it’s because I’m a super-positive person, but every single game there was a chance for the Cubs to win. That feeling hasn’t been with us for a very long time.
Fans can get a bit silly too. For example, after dropping two at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs did this:
I think most of us thought it was cool that the players were so loose and still having fun after some tough losses, but apparently every time they lose a game over a 162-game season, they have to feel like complete shit and never have fun in order to repent for their sins on the field or something. It’s amazing how athletes are forced by public opinion to put on a shroud of sorts to demonstrate to the viewing public that they are devastated because a baseball happened to bounce the wrong way at the wrong time. Or that when they are hurt, they’re not allowed to do anything that’s not associated with intensive rehab. Or maybe they’re not allowed to ever play a non-villain after a superb-yet-clouded baseball career, despite the fact that in real life, they weren’t that bad. Obviously those links weren’t all Cubs, but the same lessons apply.
I think it’s important to realize that baseball players are people too, albeit well-compensated professionally athletic people. They, like us, go out of their way to do good for their community when they can…
Note that people associated with baseball get angry too, and yet they try their best to stay loose and have fun, just like the rest of us when we have to file that TPS report.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 7, 2015
It’s amazing how many people got mad at something that’s supposed to be fun. Maybe Starlin Castro forgot to mock the other team the right way? I don’t know. But the overreaction to this otherwise inconsequential play was pretty stupid, in my opinion.
Let’s just consider that it’s okay for guys to do things outside of their job that they want to do, particularly if it benefits society as a whole. Let’s also remember that most of us try to make the most of our jobs and have fun with it, because if we don’t, life would just suck and we’d all just want to jump off a ledge to end it all (or just quit, if we’re not suicidal). At the end of the day, everyone tried their best, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes, and that’s all we can ask for. And after any victory at work, we can all go out for drinks…right Starlin?
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) May 7, 2015
I guess the moral of this story is, even though we are all obsessed sports fans, to keep everything in perspective. After all, it’s still a kid’s game. Let’s have some fun.