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Baseball, The Cubs, and the Idea of Success: A Brief Reflection

December 29, 2018

For my MLB-loving friends who also like great ideas, history, and big questions:

Joe Maddon’s potential extension as Cubs manager depends on finding answers to some deeper questions about both fostering and defining success. This article gets at some of the areas of concern–questions that need answering. The questions being asked get at issues that extend well beyond the Cubs, Maddon, and baseball in general

As a humanist who was first trained in the sciences, I’ve long valued questions around “chemistry.” What mix of qualitative and quantitative factors help create a good situation, or institution? When is chemistry more valuable than quantitative analytics?

Outcomes are easier to define and see. In baseball this centers on wins, and with businesses it’s profit. In higher education, it’s grades and rankings.

But, how to get there?

What mix of factors that gets an organization or institution from point A to B–changes over time–vary widely. How long does it take? When should one value continuity over flexibility and change? When should complexity be valued, or taken apart? How do individuals fit into schema? What should be the focus, or theme, of an organization? What examples from the past should be followed?

I think these issues center on critical thinking, and how critical thinking overlaps with good historical thinking. I firmly believe that solid historical thinking will foster success in one’s present life. Every concept that aids in excellent historical thinking will help one think properly about lasting success. – TL

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