The Fruit Growing Season Is A Lot Like The Baseball Season [Opinion]

If you’ve followed my Twitter feed for the last few months or weeks, you’ve likely noticed one thing: I’m an avid Cleveland baseball fan. I have been one since childhood, and it’s been a wild ride this year with my home team making it all the way to the Fall Classic.

With our rally caps on, friends and I watched the final innings Game 7 of the World Series in Rally Alley outside of Progressive Field. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
With our rally caps on, my friends and I watched the final innings Game 7 of the World Series in Rally Alley outside of Progressive Field. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)

Here in the Cleveland area, most everyone’s conversations, thoughts, and general plans surrounded game times. Workdays were fueled by endless supplies of caffeine thanks to late night games.

Sports can be a great conversation starter in this industry, and many of my calls and visits to growers and researchers have kicked off with a talk of whatever player or team from Cleveland is of note. I’ve noticed many of you sporting ball caps of your favorite college or professional teams. Local sports teams are a source of pride — or endless heartache. Regardless, it’s good field tour talk.

While bundling up to head to a World Series watch party at Progressive Field, I couldn’t help but start to think about how baseball in late October and early November is similar to harvest. Although I know the growing season is nothing like the baseball season, just hear me out.

There’s a chill in the air when your growing season starts, as there is for those early season games, met with enthusiasm. I remember an Opening Day in 2007 that ended early in Cleveland, thanks to a whiteout. But as the season goes on, you get a good idea of what your crop will look like — as managers do with their teams.

Along the growing season, reality sets in, often at the hand of Mother Nature and circumstances out of your control. Sometimes the dependable varieties are hit with an unexpected disease – just as players suffer freak injuries, or an unexpected storm changes everything.

On the bright side, every now and then, a variety — or a player — outperforms expectations.

Regardless of the hows and whats, you’re out in your orchard, vineyard, or field every day, trying to plan ahead as much as you can, knowing it’s often in-game decisions that must be made when a tractor breaks down or a team member is injured.

There are a lot of days when your workday goes from sunup to sundown and — although your hours are much longer than those of the average ballplayer — there’s a lot of wear and tear. So much so, rainouts and off-days are rare and often a welcome respite.

Whether you’re talking baseball or fruit, as the season starts, it’s met with optimism and enthusiasm, and by the end you’re often exhausted and ready for a break. You might go on a cruise, take a vacation with your family, but after a few winter meetings, most of you are ready to get back out in the field.

“The season’s been over for 40 minutes and we’re chomping at the bit to get to Arizona [for spring training],” Cleveland pitcher Cody Allen said after the end of Game 7 of the World Series in November.
I’m sure you, too, can’t wait to take the field next spring.

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