Jared Wyllys.jpg

It can be really tough to resist the urge to rush to judgment. I don't know that our ability to allow something to develop before we try and make up our minds about it really has deteriorated or if it just seems that way lately. I know I tend toward optimism, and while that might seem like an always positive trait, it often makes me just as guilty of misinterpreting or misreading a situation as a pessimist would.

Most recently, I had a reader and Twitter friend point out that I was probably being overly optimistic about the potential positive impact of the reaction on social media among baseball players to the MLB lockout.

Here's what I said: "Others have said it, but this MLB lockout happening while players are able to speak so directly to fans via social media might be the thing that pushes the process along more quickly."

Basically, I hold to the optimistic view that the lockout might end relatively quickly because owners will feel pressure from fans that is heightened by what fans are seeing from the players on social media. This is the first work stoppage in baseball where that's been possible. The last time games halted -- in 1994 -- they could not share so easily and so directly with fans.

I know I have some bias coming from the fact that I want baseball to happen on its normal schedule, even if the more practical part of my brain knows that is not likely. During the winter months, I like following the free agent signings and the trades. I like seeing teams headed to Arizona and Florida in February for spring training. And I love the freshness of Opening Day. So I'm more prone to hope that the lockout will resolve quickly and we can stay on that schedule.

Hence my rosy take on the impact a few social media posts might have. I want to believe that the players' voices on social media will help make a difference.

But I was pointed to the story of the Zen Master, which goes like this:

It's true. In the context of reacting to what's going on in baseball, we don't know yet whether how players are reacting on social media is good or bad. Or even if it's clearly one or the other.

And we don't need to work too hard to see the application beyond the context of baseball. I think a lot about the way unintended consequences often impact our lives. We make a decision, go a direction, or do something without being able to know or anticipate all the ripple effects it will cause. A choice can seem good or bad at first, but often time reveals it to be otherwise. Or time reveals it to have been neither good nor bad.

I'd like to get better at adopting the mindset of the Zen Master in the story, of being willing to suspend judgment for a time. I can only speak for myself here because again, I don't know that this ability is better or worse among people now than it was in the past. I suspect it's not as good in 2021, but regardless, I think there's a benefit for anyone who, like me, needs a reminder to step back for a bit and let a situation develop before we try to judge it. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it neither? We'll see.


Jared is a freelance baseball writer who lives in suburban Chicago with his wife and four young children who share his love of baseball. When he's not doing that, he teaches and reads baseball history.



Twitter @jwyllys

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