Take me out to the ball game

Summer nights. The smell of freshly cut grass. The crack from the bat hitting the ball. A cold beer and a hot dog. The seventh lap stretch and of course that song. Cheering on favorite players. Kids in the stands with their baseball gloves hoping for a chance to catch a bad tip. We are Triple A here in Indianapolis, so the experience has a very hometown feel.

Things are different on the ball field, though, for my first post-COVID-19 game. There is now 40-foot high netting separating the field from the stands, protecting us from being able to catch those fly balls and putting an end to those cherished moments when the base coach threw a ball into the stands and into the glove. by a fan. [Note, the outfield is still fair game for home runs, along with providing the ability for fans to throw the ball back on the field when the homer is hit by the opposing team.]

“The new netting system will give fans peace of mind as they sit close to the action down the first and third base lines,” according to the Indianapolis Indians president and general manager. I’m sure there’s a plus side to not having to worry about getting poked in the head by a runaway foul tip when you’re not paying attention to the game, but what about the hopeful kids cradling their gloves and hoping for a chance at a catch and a memory? What about their peace of mind?

Other things have changed too. The beer and hot dogs are no longer delivered at the stands (nor are other concessions), although this was before COVID-19. You have to miss half an inning while waiting in line at the concession stands (how oddly enough, they’re broadcasting a baseball game, but not the one you came to see).

I understand changes, improvements, trends, insurance issues, health and safety – all of these go into decisions to move in whatever direction the rule makers decide is best. But at the same time, I will miss the sweet ball games that were unencumbered by nets and where I didn’t have to leave my seat to get food.

All of this brings me to the point of this month’s message. We celebrate change here at CPA Practice Advisor this month with our annual Innovation Awards. We recognize new technology designed to make our jobs easier, speed things up, improve visibility with customers, stay ahead of regulations, and yes, protect ourselves from unexpected flyballs in the form of security breaches and phishing attacks.

However, I would like to take a moment to consider that our clients may still appreciate the traditional details that we include in our relationships. As we shift to an online/file-sharing/chatbot relationship with clients, the occasional phone call or face-to-face meeting also goes a long way toward cementing our relationships for the long term. Sharing a few minutes with them to ask how they are doing, as we do with friends and family, is like throwing a baseball into the stands. All the protections we install keep data safe and move things faster, but don’t forget that your customers might still want you to throw that ball, spend a moment in the sunshine with them while you cheer them on.

Leave a Reply