“Baseball was, is and always will be to me the best game in the world.” Babe Ruth
He was one of the greatest hitters in MLB history. He remains the iconic sports figure of the first half of the 20th Century, and his name and likeness are instantly recognizable more than 60 years after his death and nearly 75 years after his playing career ended. Indeed, his ebullient personality was as evident off the field as was his immense talent on it, and that made him all the more famous.
While you probably already know him in this context, you may not know him as a baseball sage. Babe’s quotes do not reflect the enigmatic genius of Yogi Berra, but his simple and sincere declarations about the world’s greatest sport – like the one quoted above – speak directly to my heart. You can read more of his wisdom at this website: www.baberuth.com (and also learn interesting notes about his career including how he got his famous nickname). Personally, I love this particular observation of the Babe’s, which not only supports what I have been saying in this space for years but which also strikes me as a public relations masterpiece tailor-made for Hank Steinbrenner:
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
Some viewpoints take a long time to be acknowledged, but the world is finally coming around to the truth that the Babe (and the B.A.B.E.S.) knew all along: this great game is a team game.
Speaking of which, the World Baseball Classic begins this weekend with nearly half the teams competing without any players from a MLB roster. Yet, the absence of individual stars does not mean that Japan, Korea, Cuba or even China can’t make a serious run at the 2013 title. Japan, of course, has its own major league to draw from and won the first two WBC titles by selecting disciplined players who play smart baseball – good pitching, solid defense and timely hitting. Sounds like the 2012 SFO Giants, doesn’t it?
So history has already proven the Babe correct. It is the best team that wins, not the best collection of players. Keep that in mind when making your B.A.B.E.S. predictions. (WBC picks are due by March 1!). I hope the owners and general managers of NYY, LAD, BOS and LAA will be watching and, perhaps, finally learning the lesson they could have learned from the Babe a long time ago.
(JSR) © 2013