Leadership Lessons From Baseball’s 1st Half

Roy Halladay... (Photo: AP)

Tonight is the Major League All-Star Game.  As we enjoy the mid-summer classic, I think it’s a great time to reflect on the first half of the baseball season.  As has been noted by many, this the Year Of The Pitcher.

The most recent edition of The Sporting News in an article by Stan McNeal provided 5 reasons for this season’s pitching dominance.  As I read the article it became apparent that the reasons he listed have leadership applications.  They are the following:

  1. A Leveled Playing Field – In the five years prior to survey drug testing there were 62 times a player hit 40 or more home runs.  In the seven years since it has only happened on 51 times.  The game has been cleaned up while simultaneously increasing the confidence of pitchers.  Leaders, are you asking what needs to be cleaned up in your organization so that your team’s confidence can grow?
  2. Faster Fastballs – According to www.fangraphs.com there are 19 starters this year averaging 93 mph or more on their fastballs.  This is up from 14 in ’08 and only 6 in ’05.  This has forced a change in scouting as to what constitutes a good fastball.  Leaders, have you changed the way you evaluate your current and potential in-coming talent because of a changing marketplace?
  3. Better Early CoachingSt. Louis Cardinals reliever Trever Miller says “This new generation is more prepared early on.”  Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley says “They’re ready to pitch more when they get up here.”  What you do early in life matters.  Parents need to equip their children educationally, relationally, socially, and spiritually for their adult life with a greater sense of urgency than pitchers are currently being developed by their coaches.  The stakes are higher.
  4. The Halladay Effect – The most imitated pitcher in baseball is Roy Halladay.  Leaders, because of our position and influence, we are imitated.  The reality is that in each organization, the people ultimately become a picture of the leader.  If you say “My people are lazy.”  What you are admitting as a leader is that you are lazy!  Leaders, we must understand the impact we have on others and steward that influence accordingly. 
  5. Better Preparation – Professional athletics has become a year-round occupation.  Pitchers used to work on their fastball in spring training.  They now arrive prepared and utilize that time to work on secondary pitches.  Leaders, are you using your marginal time wisely?  You will know the success of a person by how they leverage marginal time.

Cleaning up your organization, increasing team member confidence, understanding a changing marketplace, effectively preparing yourself for life at an early age, influence, and properly utilizing your marginal time.  Let’s study The Year Of The Pitcher and apply its learnings to our life.  Leaders, how are you doing in these areas?

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

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