Saturday, July 6, 2013

Baseball and Writing, A Connection

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half physical."--Yogi Berra

We have a few Cincinnati Reds baseball fans in the family--my almost-90 year old mom and my hubbie the two biggest ones. Me, not so much--only because I can't seem to sit still long enough to finish a game in its entirety. But when Mom came to spend a few days with us, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum down by the stadium topped the list of things to do.

The museum was a whole lot bigger than we expected. Of course there was history--of players, ball fields, records, owners. There were interactive stations--a batting cage, umpire's window, the *catch* at the outfield wall. There was the batter's box, the bullpen, the announcer's booth. Awards and record-breakers. It was all fun, even for a lackluster fan.

Before long the writing side of the brain kicked in, and I began to see analogies to the writer's life.  (No surprise here, I'm sure.) Like the writer who dreams of publication, the team started with a dream. In the case of the Reds that meant visionaries back in the 1860s. Add skill, talent, and practice--all things writers need to develop, too. Build a bull pen of fellow writers, view the manuscript through the umpire's eyes of critique partners, enter the batter's cage of submissions ('let them fly'), and walk boldly into the announcer's booth of marketing.

Let's turn it over now to words from some professionals of the game itself, and see what they say:

#1. "Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." --Babe Ruth

#2. "There are three types of baseball players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens." --Tommy Lasorda

#3. "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

#4. "I've never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes." --Leo Durocher

#5. "Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things." --Robert Frost

And the classic of all classics: #6. "It ain't over 'til it's over." --Yogi Berra

Ah, do you see connections here to the world of writing? A few lessons we can apply in order to achieve our dreams?

Summer pastimes, summer fun. Any writerly connections to other warm-weather activities come to mind?


  1. These are great quotes. I especially like #1 and #2. :)

    1. Thanks, Kimberly. I found wisdom there, too :-)

  2. Since I lived in Pittsburgh for 13 years, I'll always be a Pirates fan. But I grew up watching the Reds. My dad's cousin played for them years ago, so we really got caught up in the sport.

    What I remember most about baseball is the sensory things - hot summer days, blue sky, the smell of beer and popcorn, salty peanuts still in their shells, the crack of the bat meeting a ball dead-on.

    More than anything else, there was HOPE - just one more hit, one more catch, one more guy rounding the bases. The thrill of victory was sweet. The agony of defeat was - well, agony.

    To me, writing is all about capturing those sensory images. And it's about the hope that one more query letter, one more critique, one more rewrite will be enough. Let's all hit a home run this summer. :)

    1. A Pirate's fan with a Red's connection? That doesn't happen very often. What's the name of your dad's cousin? I wonder if my husband knows of him...

      I like your sensory examples. Vivid and image-provoking. Thanks. And, yes, HOPE. The very thing we writer's hold on to. Cheering you on to make that home run this summer. (Like your metaphors, too!)

    2. My dad's cousin was Wally Post. I believe he started out as a pitcher and moved to another position (right field maybe) because he was too good a hitter. He was with the Reds for several years. His grandson, Bobby Hoying, was quarterback for OSU and then played for the Philadelphia Eagles until he got hurt.

      I still root for the Reds - just not when they're playing the Pirates.

  3. I'm glad you guys made it to that museum, it seems to have had a real impact (in more ways than one)! I like quote #5, which ironically is already a comparison to the two endeavors. answer your last question, I just sent you a link to a post that was sent to me about moms and pool trips in the summer. I think that could apply to writing as well. The absolute agony of going through the process, only for the small glimmer of hope that after all the WORK of getting everyone ready and actually TO the pool, there might be that small moment of relaxation (for mom) after a job well done (kids happy and splashing in the pool after three trips to the bathroom, yeah that just happened to us. 1 for Angelica and 2 for Adrian). hahaha or is that a stretch?

    1. No, the swimming analogy is not a stretch! Thanks for suggesting it. There's also the feeling of drowning as in 'I'm overwhelmed and the idea just isn't working!' or maybe that of treading water, as in stuck in writer's block. You've opened up a whole different line of thought here :-) What fun!