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Baseball, Passion and Spitting.

My son, Ben, is an avid baseball fan.  His favorite team is the Seattle Mariners, because the “Mariners” was the name of his first year Little League team when he was a kid.   Since that first season of  him playing baseball, I have seen his passion develop around the sport. He has collected the cards, plays baseball, watches it, knows incredible amounts of statistics, subscribes to baseball websites and has dreams of hanging out with Ken Griffey Jr.

Ben wore his Mariners Little League cap every day until it became too small and tattered for his head.  I took it from him and hung it up on the wall in the living room. It symbolizes his first passion in life, which to me, symbolizes the essence of living.

Mysterious, powerful passion.  That is the Holy Grail for motivational authors.  How do you inspire passion in someone?  All I did was sign Ben up for Little League.  Personally, I find baseball boring…unless Ben is playing!    What is with all the spitting in baseball?  I don’t know of any other sport where spitting has become such a signature.  Figure skaters are more aerobically worked than someone swinging a bat, but you don’t see them spitting every 45 seconds.

Don’t tell me that it is the exertion that makes them spit, because everyone is spitting.  Players sitting in the dugout are doing nothing but spitting .  Coaches lean up against the fence and fire out spittle like spit sprinklers.  Everywhere the camera pans, you see expectoration.  What do these people do when they go to the mall?

Passion might explain the statistics overkill.  Anytime anything happens in baseball, a new record has been set and is duly recorded.  If a player gets a hit, a domino effect of new statistics emerge.  Did he bat someone in to home?  Was he caught out?  Did he get to base?  What direction did the ball go?  How many hits has he now had in his lifetime ?   How many times did he spit?

Look at a book of baseball statistics.  It is like trying to read a book on algebraic algorithms.  All of this information is recorded back to the beginning of baseball and Ben finds these figures fascinating.  It is enthusiasm, I guess, for a game where not much is happening.  Imagine trying to keep all these statistics on a fast moving sport, like soccer.

To make baseball semi-entertaining, spitting evolved and records are kept of what, when, why and how.  At half-time, the audience does a chicken dance.  Baffling. Inexplicable. Mystifying.  That is baseball.  That is passion.  That is life.  I wish for you that same intense devotion to whatever you love.  Keep charging!!   Scott Alexander


An exciting baseball moment with Ben.

Copyright 2009 by Scott Alexander

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