It’s hard to put into words what a young baseball player can learn from watching the MLB playoff games. There is so much to gain from watching closely and trying to learn from every play. We’ve written before about learning from the best and worst of MLB games. The lessons discussed in that article are magnified for October baseball—the playoffs and World Series take the learning experience to the next level. Games are so important and so intense that you can truly see how every little detail influences the big picture and outcome. We sometimes are blind to the importance of these details in the midst of a grueling 162-game season. But make no mistake about it, details always make the difference. In baseball, there simply is no such thing as a minor detail. Every single decision is either pushing a player/team closer or farther away from their ultimate goals.
While it is difficult to pick out one single most important lesson from the 2016 World Series, one key detail that stands out is how much fun players are having and how enthusiastic they are to be on the field. The importance of having fun and playing with enthusiasm comes up every time we discuss championships. You may remember that we described this as the most important thing for Coastal Carolina in their 2016 College World Series championship run as well.
Despite all the pressure, both teams were out there having a blast! On the biggest stage in baseball, in the most intense competitive atmosphere, players are smiling, laughing, and keeping the games fun. There is a looseness and playfulness that all great teams seem to possess, and the Cubs and Indians were great examples of that. There was a moment in game 1 when Javy Baez (Cubs) was messing with Francisco Lindor’s (Indians) while he was on second base. You can see that fun moment here. It’s a great example of players truly enjoying being out on the diamond.
Every baseball player can learn from these championship teams. In a game full of failure, it’s easy to forget that the main reason that we play baseball is to have fun. We are on the field by choice. So, take notes from the best players in the world. No matter how big the moment gets, if you have fun, play with enthusiasm, and love your teammates, you will be a winner no matter what the scoreboard says at the end of the game.