How Baseball Is Like Life

How Baseball Is Like Life

Baseball Is A Part Of Daily Life For Many People

Jon Hilton on Baseball is lifeI have often wondered why I have such a love for the game of baseball, it is sometimes long and the action sometimes is slow, but it continually comes back to me that so many aspects of the game are a direct representation of the way life is.  Life lessons are displayed daily on the the baseball diamond, and we simply have to be paying attention to soak in the knowledge.   Following are some of those observations.

Keep your Head In the Game

Jon Hilton on Baseball is lifeIf you are not in the starting line up, or you do not like your role, always be ready and keep your head in the game because the opportunity to show what you can do could come at any time.   Taking advantage of an opportunity is how your preparation and attitude meet this chance.  In life if you are not happy in your current position or job, you have to keep a positive attitude and prepare for your opportunity to shine.  You never know who you are going to meet or what situation you may be in.  Be prepared and you just may find your dream job doing what will make you happy.

Believe In Yourself

Jon Hilton on Baseball is lifeYou can strike out three times in a game, but hit a game winning home run in your fourth at bat and the day is a success.  This happens all the time in life, you are at work and the day or week or year may seem to be going right down the outhouse hole.  But then there is a pitch you can hit, and you don’t miss it.  You hit it out of the park!  Just when your team needed you the most.  The three strikeouts are forgotten and you are remembered for being the hero.  This can only happen if you keep your focus, maintain your concentrated effort and believe in yourself.

Keep Your Focus

Sometimes it seems slow and that there is nothing happening.  Keep your focus and maintain your effort and you will most likely be rewarded with the opportunity to be great.  In life, days, weeks and even years can seem to be slow and boring with little happening.  Don’t waste your time bitching and complaining.  Life is too short for that.  You are the main catalyst of your life, and you determine how exciting things are.  Since that is the case, why would you waste time complaining about it?  You have to maintain your focus and when given the opportunity make something happen that is not slow or boring.  You may be the catalyst for your own life if you look to be.

Things Change Quickly

Jon Hilton on Baseball is lifeA promising start to an inning can lead to absolutely nothing.  Bases loaded with nobody out can turn into a strikeout and a double play with no runs scored in a matter of a few pitches.  In life that means don’t get too excited when things look promising, they can change for the worse in very short order.  Appreciate it when things are going your way.  Enjoy the moment fully, but don’t get carried away that the game is already over.  As Yogi said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Prove Yourself Continually

No matter how good you have been, you have to maintain the effort and performance or you will find yourself out of the game.  Being great and thinking your great are two different things.  In life, even if you have been successful in the past, if you stop putting in the effort you have, or let your preparation slide you may find yourself out of a job or relationship before you know it.

You’ve Got to Put the Past Behind You

Jon Hilton about  BaseballPut your yesterday’s behind you, good or bad they won’t help you perform today.  Every day is a new chance to win a game.   In life this can be hard to do but it is a must.  You can’t look back and wish for the past to return, because it won’t.  Learn from your experiences, treasure the memories, but use those experiences to fuel your future or you will be standing in place for years, wondering what might have been and missing out on great opportunities for growth.  You have unlimited potential to grow and succeed, let those situations find you!

Team is Most Important

The greatest individual players, can’t win on a consistent basis without a competent team around them.  In life this is fairly obvious.  You can be an outstanding individual talent at whatever you are doing, but without a competent group of people behind you in the workplace or at home it will be difficult to be successful consistently.  At the very least having great “teammates” at home and on the job will make your achievement easier.  Find good teammates!

It’s A Game of Inches

Jon Hilton about BaseballIt is a game of inches.  Just fair.  Just foul.  The difference between winning and losing often comes down to the inches.  It is always easier to finish on top when luck is on your side.  In life often times it also comes down to inches.  These inches aren’t as visible as they are in baseball, but they do exist.  One simple decision here, a little extra effort there, one poor decision, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Life and success is a game of inches and sometimes it just comes down to luck.  You can increase your chances of finding good luck by doing the right things every day.  Be honest, interact with positive people, do the right thing all of the time even when it isn’t easy.  The inches will shrink and success will be easier.

Take What They Give You

Jon Hilton about BaseballTake what they give you.  If you continually try to hit how you want to and not what they give you, you are going to constantly hit weak ground balls to the infield.  Go with the pitch and you will find more success.  In life you can pound your head against the wall and insist on things being the way you envision them, even when they are clearly not working and you will end up experiencing failure.  Change your approach when things aren’t going your way and take what life and circumstances are giving you and success will come much easier.

Do Your Job

Do your job and usually your team will be successful.  Moving a runner along, hitting a fly ball deep enough to score a runner from third with less than two outs, rather than just swinging the bat for no purpose, will give you focus and allow your team the best chance it has to win.  In life, you are not always going to be the superstar, or the hero, sometimes in life the biggest heroes are the people who consistently do their job to the best of their ability regardless of what is required of them.   By always doing their job, they will become invaluable to the success of the business they are in or the family that they have.  By comparison the person who fails to consistently do their job will be shipped out, to the minor leagues or to the unemployment line. Jon Hilton on Baseball

Jump at Opportunities

Take advantage of the opportunities the game gives you for success.  In every game and in life, there will be an opportunity for you to perform and help your team win.  Be ready for the opportunity.  You can sit around and be negative because you feel that things aren’t going your way.  If you waste your time worrying about things that you can’t control you will not be ready when that opportunity does show itself to you.  Keeping a positive frame of mind will help you take advantage of the opportunities that life will inevitably present to you.  Sit on the bench and sulk or be ready to jump into the game with all your heart.

Sometimes You Fail

Sometimes you just strike out.  Even when you prepare and do everything right, it is no guarantee of success.  Sometimes you just strike out.  That is life and that is baseball.  It is kind of a scary thing that you can prepare, be positive, look for your opportunities, be a good teammate, work hard and do everything right, and still when the opportunity presents itself you fail.  What baseball teaches us about this is that you can’t let one failure, no matter how large, stop you from pushing forward and searching for your next success.  There will be a new game, with new chances for greatness coming tomorrow.  Keep doing the right things and next time you may not strike out, you may hit the game winning home run.  Maybe.  Nothing in baseball is guaranteed.  What is guaranteed is that if you quit and stop trying you will never experience that success.

Life isn’t Fair

Baseball is not always fair.  Along the same lines as sometimes you strike out, baseball is not always fair.  Life is also not fair.  It never has been and it never will be.  You can spend time worrying about this but it is a fact and it is 100% out of your control so you can’t do anything to change it.  How is baseball not fair?  Umpires often make bad judgement calls that are clearly wrong and cost a player individual production and even a team wins.  In life we often deal with bad calls from umpires, getting an undeserved poor evaluation, getting passed over for a promotion you deserve, having your pay cut, losing your job, the list goes on and on.  Just like in baseball, it’s not the bad call or the unlucky break or the unfair thing that occurred, it is how you react afterwards that defines you, in the game and in life.  It is not an easy thing to do when life seems to be pitching a no hitter against you to stay positive and keep working hard, but inevitably that is what must happen for you to find success or win the game.

The Final Tally

Jon Hilton on BaseballFinally, no matter what you do, eventually the game will end and the final score will be tallied and the statistics of that day will be remembered.  The heroic acts and failures will become a part of history and each player who participated will be evaluated, revered, remembered or forgotten for whatever they accomplished on that day.  In life it is much the same, eventually it will end and at that time you will no longer have control over what kind of life it was.  Was it a blowout?  Did you dominate from birth to death and get elected to the hall of fame?  Was it a game full of fantastic comebacks, unbelievable gaffs, retribution, and ultimate heroics?  The fact is that as the innings of life pass you have to keep your focus on what you can do to get the job done.  Learn from the failure and keep giving your all until the final pitch is thrown.  Baseball is indeed like life, and the most important thing you can do to be happy is enjoy the game.

 Poems about Baseball


There’s No Crying In Baseball

Classic baseball scene, because no matter how badly things go for you, there is no crying allowed, it won’t do you any good or get you any hits at all.  No Crying is not an acceptable public reaction to bad luck or poor play.

Field of Dreams: People Will Come.

The classic explanation by James Earl Jones (Terrance Mann) about why baseball is a symbol of hope for everyone, and people will come to Iowa to look at a field to remember all that was good once and could be again.


Roy Hobbs Homerun St The End of The Natural

Perhaps the most prolific and symbolic movie homerun.  Kirk Gibson’s real homerun against the A’s in 1988, was almost immediately compared to Roy Hobbs fictional blast.  Today, they play the music whenever Josh Hamilton hits a homerun in Texas, and I am sure in almost every ballpark in America when a key homerun is struck.


Homerun By Roy Hobbs Into Clock At Wrigley Field

When your struggling in a bad slump, sometimes it’s the woman you are with.  For Roy Hobbs that was the case.  Just the site of the “Woman in White.”  His high school sweetheart, whom he left behind because of some poor choices in his life, was enough to remind Hobbs about who he really was.  Redemption is a theme that is played out in real life over every season in hundreds of different ways.

Game Called By Grantland Rice

My favorite baseball poem of all time.  It applies to not only baseball, but to life in general, because when it’s all said and done, what people will remember about you is how you played the game, or in the more real sense, how you lived your life.

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Jon Hilton

  • Dave

    This is a great way to look at the game. So many reasons to appreciate baseball that, so many don’t get.

    I think you brought to surface on several counts, why, I like watching baseball, and never thought about it like this.

    I think I hear Harry Caray singing, ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game!’

    1. Jon

      Thanks Dave, I have always felt the same way. Baseball is a game of pauses, and anticipation. When I watch, I am consistently playing out what should happen next. Runners on first and third with one out, we are in trouble, but……ground ball double play and we are out of it, or strike out or pop up followed by an easy out, leads to no damage. I really could go on and on, but I am glad to connect with someone who appreciates the great game of baseball!

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