Thoughts about patience and payoffs

Yesterday was a prime illustration of why I love baseball and, incidentally, why many people do not. The Reds played the Nationals yesterday in a game that was to start a little after one o’clock. After a three and a half hour rain delay the game finally started. In a seesaw game the Reds were down to their last out when Joey Votto came to bat with the bases loaded. One run behind. It was the classic scenario. And Votto, like millions of kids in fantasy moments in their back yards, hit a walk off grand slam to win the game. By the way, it was Votto’s third home run of the afternoon. Amazing.

However, many of the fans missed that moment. A good number gave up on the game during the long rain delay. Some had long drives home and they left never having seen a pitch. I suspect some people left early when the Reds went into the final inning one run down. The Reds have lost more than their fair share of one run games this year thanks to a flagging offense.  But for the people who waited out the rain and stayed in their seats it was a big payoff.

I have in my life left games too early and missed the big play. I have also made that mistake in larger venues in life. Most of us have waited longer than we should for something that never happens and so we are a little skeptical when the wait gets too long.  How many times have we said “I’ll give it three more months” to a job that isn’t going the direction we think it ought to go?  Or how often have we been tempted to give up on a friend or family member? And the reality is, that on some occasions the rain or the other team metaphorically wins. Things don’t always work out the way we hope.

But every once in a while the clouds clear, the situation arrives, and in response to just the  right pitch the ball sails over the outfield wall. And because of those occasional dramatic payoffs we are willing to sit, wait, and hope. So, for all my friends who are sitting in the rain right now, hoping that their overcast life will clear into peace and prosperity  maybe there is a motivation to hang in there. Because every once in a while, in baseball and in life, winning grand slams do happen. And if we are patient enough we may be there when they do!