Play Ball

With all the emphasis on the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to overlook other things in daily life, like the start of the Major League Baseball season. Opening Day was supposed to happen over a month ago, on March 26. Then an unwelcome guest, COVID-19, decided to show up and crash the party. Still, I think there are some lessons we can take from baseball that are relevant to our coronavirus world.

Picture this. A major league baseball stadium on Opening Day. Your team is at home, and it’s the bottom of the ninth. You’re down by one with two outs. Runners on second and third. You step up to the plate.

The fans are on their feet. The noise is deafening. Your adrenaline has you so jacked you can hardly stand still. Your fans want a hit. This is your moment!

The other team hears that same noise. Just as loudly. But they’re interpreting the noise differently.

The fact is business owners are in the batter’s box every day hearing the chatter. The noise about what we should and shouldn’t be doing is constant, and it’s coming at us from every direction—the media, the internet, our employees, our customers. Sometimes, the sources are informed, and sometimes, they’re just offering opinions. We’re always better off listening to the signals coming from the third-base coach or from the dugout than we are from the fans sitting in the stands. Either way, we’ve still got the bat in our hand, and we need to decide what to do with it.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to step out of the box to confirm the signal or to clear your head. But keep it in the game. Adjust your gloves. Take another look at the playing field. Have your competitors shifted their positions? Are they offering new services? Have they started offering services that you have been offering for years? How will any of these affect your strategy?

What’s your pitch count? What’s the pitch you’re expecting? A fast ball? A hanging curve? How tight is the home plate ump calling them? Regardless of your expectations, you need to hit the pitch that’s thrown. For many, the SBA just gave you a fresh count with their PPP and EIDL programs. How will this change your strategy?

This pandemic has revealed new opportunities for every one of us. New services that didn’t exist before or new ways to deliver old services. There are just as many opportunities to come out of this event a winner as there are for coming out on the losing team. It’s all up to you.

Tune out the noise created by opinion and conjecture. Tune into informed sources with solid data. Step into the box and plant your feet! If you’re going to swing the bat, then swing it with conviction! Dancing in the batter’s box with half-baked decisions will get you called out at the plate or thrown out at first. Neither is good.

Keep your eye on the ball. Choke up on your creativity. Stay vigilant for opportunities that will present themselves. They will come at you fast. And when they do, take a solid cut at the ball. This is your chance to come out ahead in the game and hand your team a win.

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