5 Life Rules We Learn From Baseball

I understand not everyone is a baseball fan. I am sorry for that and I pray for them daily.

Baseball takes three hours to play a game, a weekend to sort out a series, and a spring and a summer and part of the fall to unfold a season. I know this. It takes patience.

A baseball game played out under the afternoon sun or the stadium lights lives out the drama and beauty of life, so even if you are not a baseball fan, read on, because baseball teaches us about life.

Let’s think about five life rules we can learn from baseball.

1. Winning streaks end.

Almost 400,000 games have been played in the history of Major League Baseball. Given the number of teams playing over the last 130 years, it is amazing that the longest winning streak is 26 games by the New York Giants on Sept 7-30, 1916. Historically, a winning streak of 12 to 15 games sets the record for most teams.

Even the very best teams never win all the time. None of us win all the time.

We all should keep in mind that however well things are going in life, the good luck or breaks or whatever keeps happening will not happen forever.

2. Losing streaks do not last forever.

In the early days of baseball the Cleveland Spiders lost 24 games from Aug 26 to Sept 16, 1899. In the modern era, the 1961 Philadelphia Phillies lost 23 games from July 29 to Aug 20. Over the years many other teams have had losing streaks between 10 and 20 games.

The thing to remember is all the losing streaks ended. There’s a good life lesson here.

No matter how bad life seems to be going, the losing streak you are currently experiencing will not last forever. Be patient, you’ll get a hit soon.

3. You cannot borrow the future.

Baseball teams do this all the time. They will pay huge multimillion dollar contracts to early or mid-career stars hoping they will get productive years out of them and win the pennant. They also hope their best years are not behind them.

They often get it wrong.

Living on the debt of the future never provides for everything we hope for in the present. Do not borrow your future away because you will have to pay the bill at some point.

4. People will surprise you.

For every “can’t miss” phenom there are numerous examples of stars who were consistently amazing over time. The wonder of the game of baseball repeats itself with each surprising rookie story and wonderful career.

Give everyone a chance because people will consistently amaze you. Some of the greatest acts of kindness I have ever experienced in life came from the most unassuming people.

Build relationships with people, give them an opportunity, and enjoy the surprise.

5. Life is never over.

Baseball has an old saying, “It ain’t over ’til its over.” “Play a hard nine,” Tony Larussa used to say. Use all the outs and strikes and balls thrown at you. Never stop swinging and running and catching.

The baseball world shows us this all the time, perhaps never more notably than in 2011 when the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. Down to their last out and strike several times, they found a way to stay in the game, manufacture runs, and win the championship.

Baseball teaches us to never give up. Life always gives opportunities to stay in the game with a little imagination, patience, and hope. Don’t walk off the field before the last out. Hang in there.

I have always enjoyed this quote by the great Los Angeles Dodger’s manager, Tommy Lasorda:

“No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.” Tommy Lasorda

I encourage you to watch a little baseball and learn a little bit about life. However many wins and losses come your way, there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference.

Watch baseball. Enjoy life.

  • Royce Harrell

    Darrell, great post on life lessons. I didn’t use to like baseball because it moved so slow but now it has more appeal …….particularly in the context of life lessons. Thanks for shining the light on it.

  • Margaret Feinberg

    Love this, Darrell! Such a great connection!

  • John Trainer

    Darrell, now I know why I like watching baseball so much! Great connection between life and a game I love. Also, GO Redbirds! Thanks!

  • jimmy

    what about teamwork