Sports and Change

On July 17, 2011 the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays played a 16 inning game, using a combined 15 pitchers, in a 1 to 0 game, won by the Red Sox.  On May 2, 1963, in a baseball game some call “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched”,  hall of famers Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn pitched all 16 innings themselves in another 1 to 0 game, won by the San Francisco Giants over the then Milwaukee (now Atlanta) Braves.   Marichal and Spahn threw over 200 pitches a piece (nowadays, after 100 pitches, managers tend to take their pitchers out of the game).   If you want to learn more about the Marichal and Spahn legends and this game, you can read the new book, by Jim Kaplan, called The Greatest Game Ever Pitched. 

My goal in raising the contrast between today’s baseball (many pitchers; significant use of the bullpens) and what baseball was like almost 50 years ago is this  — in a lot of ways the game is still the same: the pitching mound is 60 feet six inches away from the plate; rules really haven’t changed; ballplayers still grind it out; the best players on offense (300 hitters) still fail seven out of ten times.  But, in other ways, strategies and medical science have improved, as no one would now allow someone to throw 200 pitches, as an example, for fear of an injury.  Yet, baseball in the 1960s and today was and remains a beautiful game.   So, in business and society, let’s not throw out the traditions and customs that work for us, but let us strive to continuously improve, and make life better for everyone over time.

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