The game of baseball is often described in clichéd terms as a marathon rather than a sprint. The Major League season lasts 162 games, with off days few and far between, and minor league seasons are structured similarly. In the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, teams play 140 games in 151 days, not including spring training or playoffs, with half the season spent on the road for each team.
The season is a grind, for both the players and the front office. During the season, you’ll spend more time with your co-workers in the office than you will with your friends, family, or significant others. You’ll watch hours of baseball after working 9 hour days, you’ll pull tarp too many times (note: any time more than once is too many), and you’ll realize that “other duties as assigned” is your real job description. Both the players and the staffers will experience high highs, and low lows during the season. That’s what this article is about.
“The season is a grind, for both the players and the front office”
Front office staffers will have successes in the office and failures; there will be tough days and there will be great days. Just like a closer who blows a save or a hitter who gets the walk-off hit, the front office has to have a short memory. With the grueling schedule of baseball, successes and failures should be examined, learned from, and built on, but every day is like pressing the reset button – it’s 140 (or 70) one game seasons more so than one 140 game season.
If the ticket department has a great game of sales, fantastic! Celebrate it that night, and reset for the next contest. If the game operations crew has a bad night, debrief, learn from it, and move on to the next game. Just as a player needs to have their mind clear for the next game, those working in a front office need to be ready to bring a clean slate to the next game in order to perform at their best. Each day at the ballpark means seats to fill, fans to entertain, promotions to execute, a broadcast to complete, and baseball to be played.
One great night does not make or break a season, and neither does a bad one. Some of the best pitchers in baseball have been blown out, and some of the best hitters in the game strike out four times in a game. Likewise, a pitcher’s perfect game or a 4 home run game doesn’t determine the success of the team for the year – just the success of one game.
“One great night does not make a season”
It’s hard to remove yourself from a bad night, just as it’s hard to move on from a successful one. As a broadcaster, I hear myself talk for 3+ hours a night, endlessly critiquing during a game. As soon as the post-game is over, however, I spend 5 minutes – just 5 minutes – reflecting on how that game went, before moving on to the next one. I’ll have games where I know that I’m not at my best as soon as it starts, and I’ll have games where I execute everything properly. As soon as any game ends though, it’s on to the next one – not just because there’s plenty to do after a game, but because I need to be in the right mindset to start the next day fresh.
Having a short memory makes a successful player on the field, but it also creates a successful front office. Working in sports provides a fresh start each and every day, regardless of record, attendance, performance, or the prior night’s result. Each day brings new challenges, new opportunities, and a new chance to execute a perfect game off the field. Just as ballplayers see opportunity every time they step on the field, the front office has the opportunity to have a great game each day. All it takes is the right mindset, and a short memory.
Chris Knoblock is the Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting for the New Britain Bees. You can follow him on twitter @cknoblock17