I was 12 years old, and I was playing in the last Little League game of my life.
Next year, I’d be with the bigger boys, and I’d be playing on a major league sized field; the degree of difficulty significantly increased.
I wanted to make the most of my last Little League game!
I was having a friendly competition with a teammate; we were the two players from our team that made the all-star team that year. He was better than me; but I hustled…
He told me before the game that he was going to try and hit a home run. He said he would be swinging for the fences every time up. He was capable of hitting one out … I was not. I had a different goal; one more in line with my talent level. I wanted to reach base safely every time up.
I knew my best chance of getting on base was to bunt. I was a pretty good bunter.
So my first time at bat, I bunted, for a hit. Good start. He struck out, swinging.
My second time up, I again bunted for a hit. Two for two. Very good. He struck out again.
Third time up, yep! I bunted again; and again, safely. Three for three. Excellent! My friend struck out for a third time. (I think.)
For my last at bat — my last at bat of the game, of the season, and of my Little League career … I decided to go for it. I was going to adopt his strategy. No more playing it safe; no more bunting; I was going to swing away!
And swing away I did…
I hit a ground ball to the shortstop. A typical, innocuous ground ball that, more often than not, even in Little League, translates into an out.
But not today. Not on my last at bat!
I ran hard. As hard as I could.
I beat the throw … but was called out!
I could still remember jumping up and down, showing my 12-year-old exasperation (I know what you’re thinking, but no way! There is no crying in baseball!)
I don’t recall what my friend did in his last at bat. I’m thinking that if he did in fact hit a home run, I would’ve remembered that, but he just kind of faded from the picture after the injustice perpetrated by that umpire as I was trying to turn my last at bat swinging-away routine ground ball into an infield hit making my last little league game a perfect four-for-four…
The box score read: 3 for 4; 3 bunt singles; and a 6-3 ground out. No mention of “last at bat, swung away, ran hard, robbed.”
I think on this one I’m going to leave it to you to tease out the lessons. If there are any.
But there must be some, though; for, otherwise, it just would be even more than a little odd that I remember, from so long ago, so little a thing…
… as my last Little League at bat.
Tom Greco said:
1st lesson…do the ordinary things EXTRAORDINARILY well to succeed (partially stolen from another brother’s wedding toast!).
2nd lesson…every now and then – if only to “change things up” – take a chance by swinging for the fences – because you never know.
3rd lesson…no matter that the box score didn’t call out your actions, hustle and injustice. YOU know it, and having the confidence and conviction in yourself is enough.
John M. Greco said:
Hey, little brother, that’s good stuff …!
Marcia Sacks said:
Your post made me think about the movie Moneyball. It showed how valuable a baseball player who could get on base or help another player to advance was in comparison to someone whose superstar stats looked good. That made me think about: if you’re playing on a team, are you playing for yourself or are you playing strategically for the team? So it followed to extrapolate to the business environment that sometimes the person who performs their job consistently well in a specific role may be more valuable to the team than the business ‘superstar.’ As for the bad umpire … as long as you didn’t quit baseball after being ‘robbed’ and kept playing, I’d consider that a success 🙂 Lots of lessons there.
John M. Greco said:
Yes indeed! There does appear to be lessons, as you and my brother point out well!
And, no, I didn’t quit baseball! But that next level wasn’t kind to me … I was undersized; it took a few years to grow into the major league sized field!
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