April brings many things, but the most important are spring planting (or seeding, if you’re in the west) and, of course, the beginning of the Major League Baseball season. As I watch farmers getting into the field while also enjoying baseball on the radio again, I started to think about the similarities of the start of the MLB season and farming.
- First days always involve chilly weather – There is nothing more miserable in the first days of the growing season than the weather. It can be cold early in the day and late in the day, then the wind picks up and drops the temperature even more. Did you see the first couple Yankee games? Some of the players looked like they were literally freezing cold. The first days of planting can make you want to stay planted on the tractor seat instead of having to get our of that comfy cab.
- Every Field is Different – Each field comes with its unique characteristics and quirks. As evidenced by the new, slow artificial turf at Rogers Centre in Toronto, the faster a team or farmer can understand their field, the fewer errors they will make. The approach to hitting or seeding should account for these differences in the field, whether that means not planting corn on the heaviest quarter or trying to hit a pop-up to left field knowing it might clear the Green Monster in Boston.
- Everyone feels they have a chance early in the season – The start of the growing season brings optimism and a high belief that your yields can be higher than ever and the market is sure to be higher in the fall. The baseball season is no different — on opening day everyone has a chance to win the pennant or win the wild card. By day two expectations can be higher or lower depending on how things went on day one of a 162 game season, but on day one, everyone has a shot.
- Safety is a always paramount – Getting the crop in the ground quickly is ideal but you have to do it within safe parameters. At the start of the baseball season players monitor their health to ensure no early season injuries take place. This is especially true for pitchers who are frequently not stretched out and have pitch counts early in the year.
- Look Good, Play Good – Many players live for the idea that if all your gear is set in the exact right place and you are rolling out in the latest in equipment, you are destined to have a great day at the plate or in the field. Farmers can be the same way with equipment, shops and for some of you, maybe even blue jeans….