baseball, Cincinnati Reds

Seeing Yourself Beyond Color

No Comments 30 June 2015

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 8.59.25 AM

My daughter Syd is a cute, outgoing little brunette.  Her big sister Brooklyn is a quieter, introspective blonde.  Whenever we’d start a movie, Syd would say “Is there a brown-haired girl in this one?”  Sydney didn’t care for Alice in Wonderland or Sleeping Beauty, but she loved Belle in Beauty & The Beast and Lucy in The Lion, Witch & The Wardrobe. Brooklyn was generally the opposite.  But when we took took the girls to see the musical “Wicked”, I was surprised by their reaction.  When we got home and the girls were singing and acting to the soundtrack, Sydney always played the part of the blonde and extremely outgoing Glinda, while Brooklyn always took the part of the bookish and introspective Elphaba, a dark haired (and green) character.  For the first time I could recall, my girls picked people to look up to and imitate, not because of their looks and color of their hair, but because of their personality and character.   That simple choice told me that my girls were maturing, and seeing themselves for who they were not only in a mirror, but who they were inside.

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 8.47.07 AMI realized that I’d shared something similar in my own childhood.  The very first team name I could read was the Reds, and therefore they became my favorite team.  My first favorite player was the Reds’ great catcher, Johnny Bench, who basically looked like a giant-sized version of my dad.

 

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 8.47.36 AMHowever, by the time I reached age 9 or 10, I had a new favorite player.  I’d begun to realize that I really liked being well-rounded, and the Reds’ Eric Davis was just that- a speedy center-fielder who could field, hit for power, steal bases, and basically do everything.  I still have 144 Eric Davis baseball cards. It didn’t matter that he was black and I was white- he was the type of player I wanted to be.

Screen shot 2015-06-30 at 8.48.16 AMAs an adult, I switched to playing second base and usually hitting 2nd in softball for a decade.   While the Reds had NL MVP Joey Votto and power hitting Jay Bruce on their roster, it never occurred to me to not have the slick fielding second-baseman and under-appreciated hitter Brandon Phillips as my favorite Reds player of the last decade (plus, he’s hit 3 home runs in the 3 Reds games I’ve seen him play in and he’s a great follow on twitter @DatDudeBP).  Beyond sports, there are a number of writers and thought leaders from different countries, backgrounds and even centuries with whom I can identify as well, who don’t look anything like a stocky farm boy in constant need of a shave.

Obviously, what you look like is and always will be a part of who you are.  But I think it’s an important part of growth to see yourself from the inside as well as out, and to connect with people in the same way.  There are a lot of very cool people in this world.

baseball, interview

Interview with Royals ’85 World Series Hero Jim Sundberg

1 Comment 29 October 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-29 at 4.07.19 PMFOX has been replaying Jim Sundberg’s famous game-winning slide for the Royals from the 1985 World Series practically non-stop. I caught up with Jim and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the series.

 

This year’s Royals team is looked on as a Cinderella that came out of nowhere.  Was your ’85 team looked on the same way?
Similar in several ways in that we didn’t win our division until one day remaining in regular season. We had strong pitching, good defense and timing hitting. I believe we had a better rotation and the current KC Club had a better back end bullpen. We hardly used our bullpen outside of Quisenbury in WS, whereas, the ’14 KC team will hope they use their last three guys out of the pen. If they have a 6th or 7th inning lead, KC will win the series.

What do you think made your 1985 World Series team so special?
Our starting rotation ended up being the best in baseball the last three weeks of regular season and all of the post season play. I believe both Toronto and St. Louis hit around .150 – .160 as a team. Good defense and grinding out guys with key hits.

Catchers are often called the quarterback of the baseball diamond, especially with a younger team.  What do you feel made you a good leader?
KC manager Dick Howser said that I was a missing ingredient that would help the Royals win a WS because of KC’s young staff. Our young pitchers, Brett Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and Mark Gubizah along with veterans Bud Black and Charlie Leibrant were great to work with and very talented. A great roation to a catcher is like a great bullpen to a manager, they make us looks smart. We had great chemistry, good communication and they respected what I brought to the table, experience! A good leader knows his staff, what makes them click, how to get the best out of them and they know that he cares about their success and is respected for those characteristics.

What lessons have you carried over from the experience into being a successful baseball executive?
I have learned that the characteristics mentioned above about a good leader is true: knows his staff, what makes them click, how to get the best out of them and they know that you care about their success and is respected for those characteristics. An executive has to be ab le to “show the way” (walk the talk), communicate the way on a regular basis (sale it internally to staff) and willingness to adjust vision details (adapt to cultural changes).

When you speak to audiences about leadership and teamwork, what can they learn from that special 1985 World Series team?
Baseball is a great example of how people need to except and appreciate what the others around them can do. Every player on the field has a role and supported by those playing around them. A group of people need to decide to come together, excepting each ones’ skill set and appreciate what others bring to the table and there is a buy-in because the gain far outweighs the pain. From this point, momentum will come from consistent successes and will chemistry will add to coming together and the cycle starts again.

Jim is currently with the Texas Rangers organization and is a sought after motivational speaker that you can check out here.

 

Also check out: What’s It Like To Spend A Morning With Peyton Manning?

A Little Known Robin Williams Story

baseball, hats, the office

Funny Baldwin vs. Krasinski, Yankees vs. Redsox ad

No Comments 08 April 2011


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