What Being a Baseball Fan Taught Me about Business

Daylight savings time went into effect this weekend and that can only mean one thing. No, it doesn’t mean that we were all late for work this morning, it means that in just a few short weeks, men around the country will be pulling on tight pants and oiling up their gloves. That’s right folks – it’s baseball season. Texas Ranger fans (like me) are hoping for another dream season – but there’s a lot of baseball to be played.

Since I’ve experienced being both a Rangers and an Atlanta Braves fan, I’m accustomed to heartbreak and I’ve learned that in order to pull for a team that doesn’t always win, there are a couple of emotions you have to embrace. As I’ve gotten older, I realize these emotions often mirror what we feel when we take on a new project or take a new direction in our jobs.

  • Faith. There are few teams in MLB who have more faith than the Boston Red Sox fans. Even with the 86- year long “Curse of the Bambino” their fans still showed up for games. They did everything they could, including burning a Yankee’s hat at Mt. Everest in order to break the curse. The fans believed that no matter what, their faith in their team would pay off – and in 2005, with a win against the Yankee’s in the World Series, it seemed like all was right in the world. When we make a change in a product or we start a new advertising campaign, we want to control the outcome, but it does take a lot of faith to stand behind something when you can’t predict the future.
  • Patience. In the late 80’s, I went to my first Major League baseball game at Fulton County Stadium and a monster was born. I began to follow the sport a little closer and by 1991, excitement for Atlanta Braves fans was growing. Bobby Cox had taken over and the pitching dream team (including Smoltz and Glavin) was coming together. Fans could feel the buzz in the air – we could feel the electricity and the stadiums couldn’t sell red foam rubber tomahawks quick enough. It took until 1995 for Braves fans to finally feel the victory – and it was a beautiful thing.
  • Passion. Last spring and fall was like a dream for me as a baseball fan. On October 31, when I walked into Ranger’s Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, I proudly admit that I had tears in my eyes. I’ve been a fan of baseball for as long as I can remember and getting to go to a World Series game was incredible. Despite the Ranger’s poor performance in Game 4, fans were still on their feet – we still loved our team. No matter what, those rally towels were flying, the hope for the comeback was there, and everyone hated the Giants fans in the upper decks. After the game was lost and everyone started to leave, the chatter was still heard around the stadium, “Yeah, but we beat the Yankees.”
  • Your new campaign has all the pieces in place. You’re excited and can’t wait to see the success. Remember that you have to give the pieces time to cultivate, grow, and grow before you see the success. Greatness doesn’t come over night. Now, you may not want to put your antlers up during a business meeting, but standing behind the campaign you’ve put in place or the product you’re selling is essential. You have to love what you’re selling and believe in its benefits in order to be able to translate that to customers or your boss.

Without passion and fire behind your words and actions in business, you’re just going to end up feeling disappointed. Unless you believe in the amazing and that anything is possible, you’re going to end up getting bogged down in all the things that could go wrong. Much like any given day at any ballpark across America, there’s a number of things that couldn’t happen. If things don’t turn out your way, I’ll leave you with this piece of advice my father (a successful Little League coach) always told me – “You win some. You lose some. And some of them get rained out.”