Monday, August 22, 2011

10 Commandments of Baseball: A Great Way to Start a New School Year


At Sporting Chance Press we publish books that help people become their best--to improve their "game" in life. We are proud of our accomplishments in the few years we have been in business. As students begin a new year in school, teachers may want to take a look at Joe McCarthy's 10 Commandments of Baseball as a means to inspire students and get them on the right track.

Perhaps unlike any other sport, baseball has principles of behavior and courtesy that are part and parcel of its underlying standards of behavior. Despite all the bad behavior (especially from parents) that we see at baseball games, there is a wonderful code that has been passed down for 90 years in good programs. Most kids, and sadly, most adults, have never heard of the Code's creator, Joe McCarthy. McCarthy is legendary in the annals of baseball, having coached three of the most storied teams--the Chicago Cubs, the NY Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. He is also the most successful baseball manager in history, still holding the highest winning percentage of any Major League Manager.

McCarthy's 10 Commandments of Baseball:

1. Nobody ever became a ballplayer by walking after a ball.
2. You will never become a .300 hitter unless you take the bat off your shoulder.
3. An outfielder who throws back of a runner is locking the barn after the horse is stolen.
4. Keep your head up and you may not have to keep it down.
5. When you start to slide, S-L-I-D-E. He who changes his mind may hav to change a good leg for a bad one.
6. Do not alibi on bad hops. Anyone can field the good ones.
7. Always run them out, you can never tell.
8. Do not quit.
9. Do not find too much fault with the umpires. You cannot expect them to be as perfect as you are.
10. A pitcher who hasn’t control, hasn’t anything.

Teaching Opportunities

Here's a just a few ideas on how the Commandments point to life principles and ideas that can be promoted to students.

1. Nobody ever became a ballplayer by walking after a ball.
Students have to hustle at all times. If you want to get the most out of your educational opportunities, you need to hustle in all life pursuits including school.

2. You will never become a .300 hitter unless you take the bat off your shoulder.
You've got to take some risks. Just like in a game you need to swing the bat, in school you need to raise your hand and contribute. You need to volunteer and aggressively pursue your goals.

3. An outfielder who throws back of a runner is locking the barn after the horse is stolen.
This quaint expression means that you need to make the right play not take unnecessary risks or try to be the hero all the time. Respect the roles of those around and don't be afraid to get help from others who offer support.

4. Keep your head up and you may not have to keep it down.
No one likes to be humiliated. Pay attention, be alert, concentrate in everything that you do and you won't embarrass yourself.

5. When you start to slide, S-L-I-D-E. He who changes his mind may hav to change a good leg for a bad one.
Being indecisive can hurt you. Make your best decision and follow it through. Don't second guess yourself.

6. Do not alibi on bad hops. Anyone can field the good ones.
Don't make excuses. If you do make a mistake, admit it. Then, try to learn the difficult and you'll find that you are ahead of the game.

7. Always run them out, you can never tell.
See things through. In sports athletes are taught to continue to exert effort until the very end of the play. Often things happen to turn a situation around when many think it is hopeless.

8. Do not quit. Even in defeat there is much to learn, but failure only comes in quitting.

9. Do not find too much fault with the umpires. You cannot expect them to be as perfect as you are.
You might think you know more than those in charge, but make respecting authority a habit--it is one that will serve you well in the long run. Those who have learned to accept authority do much better in sports and life.

10. A pitcher who hasn’t control, hasn’t anything.
In pitching control is everything. There are many stories of pitchers who threw very fast who could never win games until they controlled their pitchers. Athletes and all of us need to have self control--it is simply one of life's imperatives.

If you want to reach students, talk about these Commandments in class-how they are important in sports. Students will be happy to give you a lot of input on sports figures they know or their own experiences that will show the practical utility of these principles. Then ask students to expand their thinking--how would these commandments apply to school and life for them. It's one way to point kids towards behavior that can help lead to success.

The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy's Principles for Success in Baseball (and Life) is a thoroughly fun read that is accessible to fans from 10 to 100. It is a paperback that costs $20--special quantity discounts available for schools. The book is published by www.sportingchancepress.com.


Photo: Virginia Smoot is running it out, but being tagged out by Mabel Harvey who is playing heads up ball. --Library of Congress Photo 1925.

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