Decisions in the First Inning

Rethinking Losing in Baseball and in Life

Robert Giacalone
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readOct 19, 2023

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I am a rabid baseball fan who used to panic about the outcome of a game in the first inning. If it did not go well for my team in the first, I would get upset and assume that the next 8 innings would not bring my team a win. The mindset made me suffer through the next eight innings, rendering me a hopeless fan lost in the fear of a potential loss. It bothered me so much that I sometimes could not enjoy the rest of the game. On some days, I even stopped watching the game.

It took me some time to realize that there are eight other innings for a reason; the first inning is simply a prelude to an exciting and wonderful game. Every half inning is a drama, an adventure, a joy, a heartbreak, a battle, and a testament to the fact that baseball, like life, is slow and steady. In the end, sometimes my team wins, sometimes it loses, but it is always the love of the game that mesmerizes me. It is the sound of every crack of the bat, every pitch, every play, every out, every hit that forms the glue of a game I find irresistible. I used to forget that to call it a game, you had to watch it half inning by half inning and wait until the last out to see who wins. You had to hear every crack of the bat deliver another possible outcome.

So, why did I judge it all in the first inning of every game? Maybe it was pessimism, maybe fear, maybe it is simply an issue of temperament. Perhaps it was that I just did not get it — I could not embrace the connection between innings, games, and how they all fit into a season. I could not comprehend that a season was far more than a matter of wins and losses, of making it to the playoffs, or winning the World Series. It also was about enjoying the experience of the game, the sun on your face in a day game, and the simple pleasure of watching nine innings with people you care about. You could never judge the team in the first inning, because there was a season to play. The score in a half inning or even an entire game never dictated the story of a season; it only reflected the story of a culture that confuses living in the moment with an obsession for winning — and fails to understand either.

But the first inning fallacy was not simply about baseball, but about my life. I looked at so much it through the same…

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Robert Giacalone
Human Parts

Robert Giacalone is an ethics professor whose passion is understanding and improving the psychological and spiritual components of the human condition.