2019 World Series, Astros, baseball, Houston Astros, Life Lessons, Nats, The Email on the Kitchen Table", The Little Prince, Washington Nationals, World Series
I awoke two days ago to the brief email below following the third World Series loss in a row by the Washington National’s to the Houston Astros in DC:
“I think I was happier when I didn’t care. It’s terrible to want something you have no control over. How about that, Dr. Miller!” – FH
The author is a long time friend who use to look askance at my interest in baseball. After listening to her for years, I invited her to attend Nats’ game with Ellen and me (she had never been to a MLB game in her seven plus decades!). Under my ‘light tutoring,’ and despite her skepticism, she found herself intrigued and interested, and surprisingly, to her and to me, she began to follow the Nats. Sometimes, intensely, it seems.
And that, FH’s quote, contains two of the many life’s lessons that baseball teaches.
First, some comments about last night. When facing elimination from the World Series, the Nats found a way to win game six (it often seems game six is a big deal (Buckner, etc.).
So now we go to the one game World Series, in Houston, that will determine who takes over from the Boston Red Sox as the new World Champions. (Yes. as of this writing, the Sox are still the World Champions!)
But it doesn’t matter who wins tonight.
Well, I guess it matters to the players for the two teams and for their fans and their two cities, including my 10 year old grandson who went to the fifth (disastrous) game with Ellen and me and stayed up until midnight – on a school night! – only to see his favorite team lose. (I did tell him after the final out to remember, “It’s not over yet.” But in my mind and soul, I felt the Astros would probably win the WS. After all, I was ‘schooled’ by my seven decades of following the Sox.)
But if the Nats lose tonight, at least there’s some solace. They didn’t give up. Even when they were behind and when that horrific umpire call seemed to change the direction of the Nats’ comeback chances. As they’ve done for much of the season, they found a way to win.
In fact, for all those of you who were sure the Nats didn’t deserve to be in the World Series, perhaps some rethinking is in order. After all, they had the best record in ALL OF BASEBALL since their horrendous 19-31 start to this season in May and that includes being better than the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Astros, etc. Plus, they did win the Wild Card suicide game and went on to defeat the Dodgers and the Cards, coming from behind in almost all of the games they won.
So if they lose do lose tonight in what hopefully will be a memorable game with Scherzer against Greinke in this winner take all game, the solace for Nats’ fans will be enough to take them into 2020.
Now, back to FH’s wise words and my dilemma with my grandson.
First, baseball’s life lessons, starting with the importance of caring and the wanting of something so badly yet you have no control over the outcome, two realities that baseball has taught me, and also my younger daughter. (If you’ve never read what she wrote when the Sox won the World Series in 2004 for the first time in 86 years and in my lifetime, read The Email on the Kitchen Table, written for / to me by my then 21 year old, daughter which said, in part:
“Being a Sox fan prepared me for disappointment; it taught me that there are some things that no matter how badly you want something, sometimes you just can’t make it happen. I think my perspective on life has truly been shaped by the virtue of my fanaticism for baseball. It’s taught me that life isn’t fair, you don’t get what you want, and other people can just be downright heartless.”
“More than anything, my father taught me to believe. And not just in the Red Sox, but in myself. Because if my team can come back from down 0-3 to the Yankees, and sweep the Cardinals in the World Series, really, there is no such thing as never. “
“I guess in the end, my obsession ultimately taught me that good things do come to those who wait. So I sit back and say to the rest of Major League Baseball, sit down; wait ‘till next year.”
And, finally, my dilemma.
Is it better for my grandson for the Nats to lose tonight so he learns these two lessons than to experience the joy he would have if they win it all? After all, he’s only 10.
I’m not sure I know the answer.
But I know I have no control over what will happen.
What do you think is best for The Little Prince?
Jere Smith said:
You go on an adventure, and you go back to planet B-612. And then you go on another adventure.
Charlie Haile said:
You raise an interesting question; but instead of thinking of the lessons that may be missed if the Nats should win, why not consider the valuable lessons he will learn from the win.
First, the sheer excitement and joy that comes from success! That hard and diligent work really does pay off in the end. The no matter how hopeless it may seem at any one point, there’s always tomorrow and the opportunity to lace up your shoes and give it your best again. That losing isn’t fatal until you give up.
There will be plenty of time and unfortunately opportunities for the young lad to learn the hard lesson of defeat. Let’s hope he gets the chance tonight to learn those that come from winning!!
That’s just what I needed to hear.
Samuel clover jr. said:
Good morning Rick, for me this is a series In baseball heaven…only n baseball my two favorite teams, playing lights out away from home, so let’s just enjoy let the chips fall either way…we are being blessed with a classic…..mr. Sam smiling
Clare Bolek said:
I agree with Charlie. I think there are lessons to be learned from winning and being with a team for 10 years. The Little Prince is aware of how close they have come, he probably knows how it depends on chemistry of a team, leadership, and the love of the game to enjoy the present moment. My hope is that he has learned patience, not in the same way at Red Sox fans had, but that it takes time to build a team. Last night hearing that Verlander had never won a game while pitching in the WS, was a nasty statistic have broadcasted, but his teams have won the WS and probably would not have been there without him. I love that most people outside of DC do not know the names of the Nationals team. I feel honored to have watched them for their time here in DC and seeing them to this moment in history. I am so excited about tonight and whatever happens, it will be memorable. But it does kind of make me wish I held on to that WS ticket a little longer ;)
Had you held on to it, we could have gone together.
Still, lots to enjoy.
Land Wayland said:
As has been so ably stated above, either outcome can teach valuable lessons—but only if the causes and the meanings of the outcome are reflected on. Perhaps the most valuable lesson can be that no matter who wins, it is important to try to understand (1) why that feels so good or bad and (2) what specifically needs to be done to create better probabilities for the winning.
And another wise comment.
Tim Malieckal said:
The young buck will learn plenty of disappointment in the years to come. That’s life!
But winning a WS when you’re a young boy . . . that’s magical. I’m still rooting for the Mets, 33 years from the last time we won.
Lets go Nats!
Chris Boutourline said:
I’d say your grandson is in, sort of, a “can’t lose” situation as the Nat’s have done much better than most expected (I wonder if your two finalists for the Miller’s Time contest picked the Nat’s for logical or emotional reasons?). I came of baseball age during the Red Sox “Impossible Dream” season of 1967 and wouldn’t change a thing about it even though they lost in the WS (in 7 games). The Hall of Fame loaded Cards were the better team (Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Orlando Cepeda) and the BoSox had made such a valiant run, from 10th (in the 10 team AL) in 1966 to 1st in 1967. I think that loss prepared me for the decades of exciting, yet difficult, years to come.
I vote for the win tonight for all the above reasons!
He will have ample time in his 90 more years of life to experience loss!
David Stephenson said:
Lucky me: I got to grow up in DC (some rookie from Idaho named Harmon something-or-other who was recommended to Clark Griffith by Sen Welker. Think he did pretty well for himself….) threw out the first ball at the Chesterbrook Little League my first year, then went to college during the Phils’ classic fail of ’64, and have lived in Boston my entire adult life, so I’m well-schooled in failure. Not sure if it taught me how to deal with failure, or, more likely, gave me a who cares, “whatever?” view of life. Go Nats.
Brandt Tilis said:
While exciting, I hope tonight isn’t a pivotal moment in Eli’s life. Win or lose, the lesson he should take is that when a champion is crowned, it is final. If it’s the Astros, it isn’t unfair, it’s unfortunate (for him but not for the Houston version of Eli). If it’s the Nationals, he will probably be happy and he will go to school tomorrow with a nice memory. Hopefully, he learns to appreciate the ecstasy the champion feels and recognizes the hard work that was put into the accomplishment.
Hugh Riddleberger said:
Never give up. On life. On your dreams. On your hopes for mankind.
Oh what a game last night, Richard. I went to bed after the 6th, saying to Louise..oh well..the Astros are the better team. But, I put my earpiece into my phone and when HR #1 came, I thought again, don’t give up..and when the HR hit the pole in Right I sat up in bed waking Louise saying, Oh my God!!! It’s happening again.
Never give up..that’s the lesson in life to live by..thank you, Richard, for your love of baseball and the love and lessons you taught your children and now your grandchildren. Ain’t life grand!!!
Brian Steinbach said:
I take the win we got. He will have plenty of opportunities not have his wishes come true. Like next year, when it likely will be a very different team. Remind him of the history of this franchise and base ball in DC. You would not have wanted the Sox to lose in 2004 just so he could have the experience of losing. Take it as it comes.