Don’t Widen Home Plate: A Baseball Metaphor for Maintaining Standards and Values

John Scolinos’ (a baseball coach hall of fame inductee) famous “Home Plate” speech began with him walking onto the stage with home plate hanging from a string around his neck. He asks the audience how wide home plate is in Little League? High school? College? And finally the major leagues? The answer, of course, was 17 inches for all levels of play. In his speech, he repeats, “17 inches… 17 inches… 17 inches…”

He goes on to ask, “what is this trying to tell us?” A dramatic pause, followed by, “This [home plate] is important! For kids, for teenagers, adults, and all the old guys like me… Certain standards, certain values, certain rules stay the same!” A deafening silence sweeps across the audience as the coaches weigh the gravity of his statement.

He continues by explaining how coaches, players, and society often try to “widen the plate” by bending the rules and compromising standards to make things easier for themselves. Scolinos drives home the point of the importance of maintaining one’s ethics and not compromising one’s values, both in baseball, but perhaps more importantly, in life too.

“If you got a pitcher for crying out loud that can’t get the ball over the plate whatta ya gonna tell ’em, ‘Hey, Larry, don’t worry about it I am going to widen home plate.'” The crowd chuckles. The meaning is clear, pitchers who consistently fail to throw strikes within those 17-inches were not given a wider plate but were instead taught to improve their skills. Scolinos uses home plate as a beautiful metaphor for personal growth, responsibility, and accountability in our lives.

He goes on to ask the coaches in the room, “Let me ask you a question, and you answer it? What will profit you as a coach if you gain all the baseball knowledge and win all the games, but you don’t influence your ball players in the right direction? You guys answer that…” He concluded his speech by encouraging coaches to instill discipline, work ethic, and strong values in their players, ultimately preparing them not just for baseball, but more importantly for life. The home plate around his neck served as a powerful reminder of the importance of maintaining consistent standards, no matter the level of play, nor the challenges one may face in life.

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One thought on “Don’t Widen Home Plate: A Baseball Metaphor for Maintaining Standards and Values

  • May 3, 2023 at 10:10 am

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. Its always useful to read content from other authors and practice something from their websites.

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