Life Lessons from the End of the Regular Baseball Season

by Bob Schwartz

MLB Standings
The 162 games of the regular Major League Baseball season are over. Now the League Championship Series begin. For those who don’t care about baseball—or who think it a stupid waste of time—some generalized random thoughts about life lessons we can learn.

Cleveland Indians: The Indians closed the season with a ten-game winning streak. 10-0. That itself is a big deal. A bigger deal is that it came at the end of the season and kept them in the running for a spot in the playoffs.

Life Lesson: Winning streaks are good, well-timed winning streaks are better.

Boston Red Sox: Up until 2004, the Red Sox were one of the two legendary non-winners of World Series (Chicago Cubs are the other). Some attributed this to their selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919. Prior to that, the Red Sox were one of baseball’s great teams. After, the so-called Curse of the Bambino took over. They did get their mojo back, winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007, and having another great season this time around, with a 97-65 record—the best in baseball.

Life Lesson 1: Hang in there.

Life Lesson 2: There is no Curse of the Bambino.

Miami Marlins: The Marlins have the strangest history of any modern expansion team, maybe of any major league team at all. A rich guy owned them when they began in 1993. He bought a lot of talent, which led to their winning a World Series in 1997. He got rid of all the high-priced players before the next season, and so the World Champions had a record of 54-78. He sold the team to another rich guy, who would later own the Boston Red Sox. Before leaving, that rich guy set the stage for another World Series win in 2003. The current rich guy, who had previously owned a team that is now defunct, bought the Marlins just before that championship. He has subsequently changed his approach to baseball every year in a style that can be described as either whimsical or self-serving. To entice the leaders of South Florida to spend hundreds of millions on a new ballpark, he beefed up the team with lots of expensive talent for the 2012 season. He got the park, but the talent fizzled there, with a record of 69-93. He got rid of the talent, went for cheap and mostly untried young players, and the Marlins finished this season at 62-100. The most infamous upshot of his profitable penny-pinching was trading Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers in 2007, because he knew he could never pay what Cabrera might one day be worth. Cabrera is now almost certainly the greatest hitter of his generation, so it may not be the Curse of the Miguelito, but it’s close.

Life Lesson 1: When Eve complained to her nemesis in the Garden of Eden, the legless one who convinced her to break bad, the reply was simple: What are you complaining about? You knew all along that I was a snake.

Life Lesson 2: It’s all fun and games, but business is business. Not being cynical, just realistic. Whether you’re a fan of politics or music or baseball or whatever, enjoy the show, but don’t forget that.