Gardening and baseball: there are a number of similarities. It is hard to imagine the amount of work it takes to create, maintain and enable a garden to flourish. I hadn't considered the comparison of the upkeep of a baseball team and a garden until earlier this week when a colleague and dear friend gave me a reason to do so. He sent me a link to a blog post called The Mainline developed and written by a California-based company called DripWorks. Actually, blogging is a fantastic way to engage customers through clever, current conversation and insights on your industry. In any case, as I read the post entitled Gardening and Baseball: Our National Pastimes, I became intrigued, which I suppose is the point of the blog. The post began with an immediate connection between the start of the baseball season and the opening of your garden. "It made me think of the work (dedication and sweat), thought (planning and strategy), and emotion (the thrill when the work pays off) that comes into play in both gardening and baseball. Baseball fans and gardeners alike have soul touching experiences that are triggered by simply stepping onto the landscape where they get to play."
I think it was the piece about soul that got to me. You have to want a garden to grow so much that you put every ounce of yourself into its development. That means that no matter the weather, or where you travel, you have to take care of your garden. There is no vacation from your garden. There are no breaks. All of what you do to care and grow your garden is intentional and necessary. And when you think about everything a garden needs to grow from hydration to rich soil to protection against predators to sunlight and warm weather, you realize how truly similar tending your garden is to caring for your baseball team.
Last August, Joe Girardi gave an end of the season style interview with the New York Post and he said this about being a caring manager of his baseball garden, "At times during the season I’ve told players, “I know I’m gonna disappoint you. But look, I’m doing what I think is the best for the team, and that’s my job. So, just like I give you slack sometimes, you gotta cut the manager some slack sometimes,” because my ideas aren’t gonna always work. They’ll be well thought out, and they’ll have input from a lot of different people, but because there’s a human element in the game, it’s not always gonna work. So as a group, we try to put everyone in the best situation, and we go from there."
Taking care of your garden, in the cold, in the heat, between seasons and prior to and during the height of the season is essential because you can't predict the weather, you can only prepare for it.
Following yesterday's win against Detroit, Girardi discussed taking care of his players in this cold April weather. "The temperature at game time was 31 degrees, the coldest in Comerica Park history, according to STATS LLC. "It's not great weather conditions to pitch, but I think CC's such a competitor, that's what it tells me," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He really wants to be out there, really relishes being out there." But he took out the big guy out after 90 pitches to be sure he was okay and despite Sabathia wanting to stay in a bit longer.
The Washington Post asked this poignant question in an article posted earlier last week, "Why is Major League Baseball torturing itself and its fans by scheduling these early-season games in cities that are, more often than not, on the wintry end of the spectrum in early April?" Can't the MLB schedulers do something more to protect players and their fans from these cold April temperatures particularly in the Northern parts of the United States? "The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies seem like the best bets to have terrible weather in the first week of April. That’s only 11 of the 30 MLB teams. We could throw in the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals and we still have fewer than half of the teams here that could spend the entire first week on the road. It can work."
Yet, again, because this is the weather we have, managers have to plan for it, much like a gardner plans ahead for his garden to be sure he has the best opportunity to have a successful harvest. Growing your baseball garden is a process and it's a long season. Baseball and gardening- the connection is real and we could learn a lot from the gardens that have the best produce in MLB today.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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