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The silence of Baseball:

The Chicago Cubs made some offseason splashes but no bigger splash was made than the hire of manager Joe Maddon.  He has long been known in the game as a forward thinker who consistently puts his players in positions of success.  He is known as a well-read man who finds inspiration in many different ways.

He recently quoted a Zen Proverb that states “It’s the silence between the notes that creates the music” and related it to the recent “Pace of Play” instituted by new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.

He said that we pick up the phone at every stoplight to check the next highlight.  We want immediate results.  We don’t want to wait for the result.  We want the result before the result has a chance to be completed.  But baseball has never been about the highlight.  This game was never made for highlight shows.  Sure SportCenter can replay a game in a two minute highlight reel and give you the basic premise, but it can never capture the true essence of the game.

The music of the game of baseball is never about the chorus or the shredding guitar riff.  The poetry of the game is hid in the silence never heard but felt by the players, coaches and lovers of this game.

It is in the inhale and exhale before a pitch is thrown; calming the nerves to a point where execution can occur

The finger of the catcher delivering a sign that can change the complexion of the game.

The nod of the pitcher or the deathly stare of the eye calling for a different pitch.

It is in the open or closed mouth of the shortstop to his double play partner behind their glove signifying who has second base in case of a steal.

The hand signals between the manager and the third base coach signifying the next play.  The third base coach relaying a tap to the hat, a touch of the wrist, a swipe of the forearm and touch of the belt signifying that a hit and run is on.

It is in the quiet sound of the dirt beneath the cleats as a shortstop pops into his position.

It is the simple twist of the fingers spinning the ball into a four seam or two seam fastball.

It is the simple look of the first baseman to the catcher signifying that a pick play is on.

The silent communication in the dugout as grown men study the subtle movements of the pitcher.

Crowds will cheer and state of the art speakers will blare a walk up song but the true music is always heard between the notes.  The true artistry of the game is the silence between the notes.

Baseball is America’s Pastime.  It is how we pass our time.  How we pass the summer and look towards the fall.  Sometimes the greatest way to pass time is to be silent.

Two of America’s greatest gifts to the world has been the music we play and the baseball we play.   But we can never forget that it is in the silence where true music and baseball is played.

I hope you enjoy the silence because it always leads to the chorus, the highlight and the result.


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