Hey Batter, Batter!

My baby boy, who is no longer a baby – more of a man child now, has been playing baseball since he was first able to make his way up to the tee. He has loved playing, and I have loved watching him. So almost 10 years after he found his way to the plate and making me a baseball mom, after many innings, lots of wins and plenty of losses, there is one rule in baseball that still dumbfounds me…

The foul strike rule.

Do you know what that is? If not, let me take you to an at-bat…

Batter walks up to the plate, taps his right foot, then left foot, swings the bat up to his shoulder as he turns and locks eyes with the pitcher.

The pitcher nods, accepting the pitch call from the catcher. After taking a deep breath, he winds up, goes through his seamless motion, and the ball comes flying in. In a split second, the batter has to decide – he swings with all his might, hits the ball, but it slices into foul territory.

The first time he does that, STRRIKKKKE!

The second time he does that, STRRIKKKKE!

And remember now, three strikes and the batter is OUT!

BUT not if that batter hits another foul ball. Nope, there is no limit to the number of foul balls a batter can hit during an at-bat. AND, after the second strike is called, the batter can have an UNLIMITED number of those hit balls cruise into foul territory with no penalty.

Don’t believe me? Google it! While you’re at it, go ahead and Google through all the little rules that baseball threw in to make sure foul balls, bunts, and tips are even more confusing…but back to my point.

The foul strike rule has never seemed logical to me. If the batter is penalized not only once, but twice, then why does that player get endless opportunities after that to keep himself in the game? My husband has rolled his eyes countless times as I’ve mocked this seemingly goofy baseball rule. In a sport that tracks the craziest number of stats – they don’t keep track of the number of consecutive foul balls for the batter.

Instead of trying to talk me out of my rant, my husband and other dudes at the fields tell me that I just don’t understand the battle that is happening between the batter and pitcher. The pitcher has the advantage, he knows where the ball is going. So the batter has to fight to win the at-bat.

That’s why the parents say (myself included) when their son or daughter is at bat with a 0-2 count, and they just hit their second, third, or twentieth foul ball…

Way to stay alive!”

Of course, this got me thinking about how this baseball rule can give us a real-life lesson.

First, let’s assume the pitcher is life. Whatever that “life” looks like at home, at work, with family, friends, kiddos, coworkers, employees, and don’t forget the pets… It is staring us in the eye, ready to throw some crazy pitches our way. Fastballs, curveballs, and even some insane junk, life has flung them all at us and will continue to do so.

And as life is throwing our way, in split seconds we’ve had to decide – will we swing for the fences, or watch the ball fly right past us? Sometimes we swing and crush life’s pitches, but other times we get stuck.

Fear and doubt invade the plate, making us question if we can handle another one of life’s curveballs. And over time, many of us have grown too scared of the possibility that we might swing and miss.

But if this crazy foul ball rule can teach us anything, it’s this…

We have to keep swinging to stay alive!

We never know what life will throw our way next, but we always have the choice to go down swinging. So what if we make contact, but are a bit off the mark and go into foul territory? That just means we get another chance!

I believe life gives us endless chances – to take chances. So, go for it, friend! Keep swinging. Keep trying. Stay alive and in YOUR game! I’m cheering you on friend, my teammate in this thing called life. I believe that we got this.

So, what do you say, batter, batter, batter???

I say, let’s keep swinging, batter!

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