The Major League Baseball regular season is 162 games long. Of the eight teams that advanced to the playoffs this season, the Texas Rangers had the fewest regular season wins with a record of 90-72. Amazingly enough, this same team also cliched its first American League Championship in franchise history to face the San Francisco Giants, who finished the regular season with a 92-70 record. With a season that spans a seven-month period, most people don’t start paying attention until the last seven weeks of the season. Even the players develop a different approach to the games in September and October.
Are the other six months of baseball really that important?
I admit, the season is very long, but is each game, each inning, each out, and each hit significant in October? No normal person can remember the final score between the San Diego Padres and the Houston Astros on May 9, 2010. In case you’re wondering, the Astros won 4-3 in 11 innings. The Astros scored 1 run in the bottom of the 9th to send the game into extra innings. The sad news is, the Padres had two errors that game. Their bullpen gave up four runs. The San Diego Padres only missed the playoffs by one win. That loss was in May, but we saw its effects in October. It’s the small things that matter.
This post isn’t designed to talk solely about baseball. As the title puts it, I’m supposed to write a little bit about life, too. Overall, we can’t forget about the small things. One small error by San Diego’s infielder in May could have cost them a playoff spot. We have a tendency to think, “Oh, I’ve got time. I’ll make up for it next time,” and we miss opportunities for greatness. Growing up in Houston, I was raised to be an Astros fan. Over the past decade, the Astros have gotten into a habit of waiting until after the All-Star break to turn on the jets. As history shows, it’s was too late every season but one.
Ultimately, we can’t wait to make a difference – in ourselves, in our social circles, at work, and in life. In my life, there have been plenty of missed opportunities and disappointments, and there have also been plenty of successes, but I still remember a lot of those failures. What could I have done differently? Where did I go wrong? Og Mandino once wrote, “I will live this day as if it is my last.” Baseball coaches often say, “Leave it all on the field,” or “Play like it’s your last game.” These cliches are designed to inspire. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they just sound annoying. But the message is clear.
Don’t wait to make a difference.