Good morning Blue Jays’ Fans! Advice to Young Wives From an Old Mistress

Winning at baseball is intoxicating—a dizzying pleasure like that of being spun across the dance floor by a partner so handsome and light on his feet that it makes you feel more attractive just by being in his arms.

Yet, without mindful orientation, the moment the first pitch is thrown, our infatuation could quickly be dashed by the harsh reality of the game.

In today’s column, I am offering a few tidbits I’ve learned over the years that I hope will help get you through the rollercoaster ride of the next few weeks and, with any luck at all, you will come out at the other end even more in love than you are now, whatever the numbers on the scoreboard.

One. Relax. Take the first few innings to enjoy the fact we are all here watching great baseball in October. Appreciate the skill of the other team. Take pleasure in the feeling of being united in support of our team and their ability to be able to play well against such skilled opposition. Appreciation of the other team lends itself to a deeper appreciation of your own.

Two. Take the opportunity to learn more about the game. Find friends who’ve been watching baseball for a while and hang out with them for a couple of games. They will be pleased to tell you everything they know and appreciate your enthusiasm. If you’re watching games with people who make you feel bad or lord their two cents over you, tell them you’ll see them after the play-offs. Find other baseball friends. Read the sports pages. Sports Illustrated has the Jays on the cover. Pick it up at the newsstand.

Three. Take one game and just watch what the pitchers do. Watch how they deal with getting hit, how they react when the defense saves them a run. Notice their relationship to the catcher. The late-great Yogi Berra said, “90% of baseball is a mental, the other half is physical.” This is especially true of pitchers.

Four. Pick your favourite thing about the game—home runs, double plays or hitless innings—and look up the stats on that one thing. Even if you don’t want to get into the stats long term, it will give you an appreciation of how much statistical information is available. Understand how you can either collect wine or baseball stats because there’s not room enough in the human brain for both.

Five. Don’t be too hasty to judge at this stage, despite a natural and compelling urge to do so, in particular about when a manager is pulling a pitcher. Heads can be slapped at any boned-headed errors in the infield, however, because that’s just how it is.

Six. If you are serious about watching baseball, don’t get drunk. You might think it’s great, but it’s not and you certainly won’t last nine innings. It’s a waste of championship baseball.

Seven. Now is a good time to wear what everyone else is wearing. Get out your Blue Jays hat or t-shirt and put it on. We beat the Yankees, after all, and it really does bring us together, something we all need from time to time.

Eight. Do what generations of people have done before you. Even if you’re not at the ballpark, pick up a few hotdogs, hotdog buns and mustard, and make a few at home. Baseball and hot dogs. They’re good whether you when or lose.

Nine. Understand that baseball is like life. It’s cruel. Sometimes you can be flying along looking at a winning game and, boom, the other team scores three runs in the bottom of the 9th and it’s over. On the other side of the coin, nothing can be going your way, then you get a little rally going with two out and you’re victorious. This is as an important life lesson as you can get.

Ten. Manage your regret. Should things go south, be sad for a while, but stand tall. It’s very hard to win at baseball. And no team wins every game.  The joy is in the trying.

 

Author Photo 01 Sandy Tam PhotographyGail Picco is a strategist who has worked in the nonprofit sector for 25 years. She is the author of What the Enemy Thinks, a recent novel set in the nonprofit sector, and is Chair of the Board of the Regent Park Film Festival. She also writes about baseball and F1 racing.

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Comments

  1. Deanna Bickford says:

    Best pre-game prep post I’ve read today. And I’ve read a lot. Thanks Gail. Deanna B. Sent from my iPhone

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