The philosophies of Stoicism and Zen Buddhism have piqued my interest lately, so when I discovered that Shawn Green had a book about his experiences with Zen while playing baseball, I had to check it out. The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness At 95 MPH is a hell of a catchy title, and in this short tome, Green talks about his experiences with finding Zen and stillness throughout his major league career.
Green mentions that he had had some previous interest in Eastern philosophies, but it was during his struggles at the plate early in his career in Toronto that he discovered how it could be applied in baseball. Green talks about hitting off the tee, repeatedly over weeks and weeks until it became a form of meditation. Hence forth, tee hitting became a staple in Green’s career.
When Green made the move from Toronto to the bigger stage in Los Angeles, he lost his hold on the stillness he had found with the Blue Jays. With a big contract and big expectations, Green found himself ruled by ego, pressuring himself to hit home runs, rather than just letting them happen. Consequently, his first year in LA turned out to be a disastrous season, and Green talks about the work it took to let go of the ego and return to stillness.
It’s a fascinating book, overall. If you’re familiar with the fundamentals of Zen, you won’t learn anything new about the philosophy in this book. It is interesting, however, to see those ideas applied to baseball. The book is short and a fairly easy read, too. If this kind of thing interests you, this one’s worth reading.
2 thoughts on “The Way of Baseball, by Shawn Green”
I’m heading out to the meditation room right now! Just kidding, but I wish had that kind of discipline. I don’t know much about Buddhism, but I don’t think there is a god in that philosophy and that always intrigued me, but then ultimately I go back to believing in god and start feeling guilty all over again, but guilt isn’t all that bad in my opinion. Keeps me from making the same mistake twice. Instead, I make a new mistake.
My understanding of Buddhism is that it isn’t exclusive. You can be Buddhist + something else at the same time. Of course, I could have that all wrong, but I do like the idea that a person doesn’t have to box themself in philosophy-wise.