I’m not a big baseball fan. I didn’t watch this week’s MLB all-star game. But apparently there was this magic moment when a pitcher—a “closer,” to be more accurate–walked onto the mound for the last appearance of a storied career.
He pitched all of one inning; it was all he needed to win the Most Valuable Player award for the game.
One inning! MVP!
It reinforced something I’d been thinking about for awhile—how baseball pitchers reflect real life.
There are three kinds of pitchers in the major baseball leagues. There are the “starters”. These are the long-haul guys. They start a game and go as long as they have “the right stuff,” i.e., are putting in an effective performance, or until they run out of energy. Pitching evidently takes its toll. Around a hundred pitches and you’re done, 120 and it’s a phenomenal outing. Occasionally, these guys make it through a whole game.
They’re great starters, seldom finish the job.
If they get close to the end, the manager will call on a “closer” to finish the job. But, more on that later.
If the starter doesn’t make it far, doesn’t have “the right stuff” on this night, then the manager will replace him with a “set-up” man, someone who can put in a few good innings, hopefully carry the team long enough to get to the “closer”. Generally, not as good as the “starter” (or else he would be one), but may be better on this particular night. If the set-up guy also comes up short on this night, there may be a second, or third set-up guy. Of course, if they also aren’t effective, the team may be too far behind to ever waste the energy of their “closer.” Call it a bad day and save him for another day.
The “closer,” though, has “the stuff” (usually). Can’t last long, but can do a good job for an inning or two. Often they’re older guys who used to be starters. As in life, lots of experience, but energy is waning. They get the job done, finish the deal. Seldom lose the game when called upon to save it. Put the team over the top.
I’ve seen that trend repeatedly in real life. Saw it all the time when I was in a position to be a “preacher watcher.” See it in construction workers. See it all the time in business. See it in my rent-to-own colleagues. See it in myself.
Entrepreneurs tend to be starters. Many of them need help to get the job finished. Many of them think they can’t afford that help. Many of them never finish!
Sergei Brin and Larry Page had a great idea! They invented Google. But when they went out to get money for their great idea, the venture capitalists insisted they hire a proven CEO (which they reluctantly, but eventually, did). The venture capitalists knew that the starters needed proven experience—set-up and closer types—to get the job done.
And we know where Google is today.
On this particular all-star game, Mariano Rivera closed the deal for the American league with that one great inning. They won 3-0.
You’re probably not a baseball player. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur, maybe not. Maybe you’re a steady hourly worker. Maybe you’re a manager. Whatever! You’ve probably already begun to analyze yourself. What’s your disposition and personality? Are you a starter, a set-up kind of person, or a closer?
How will that assessment help you to be more effective in your various involvements?
This article is from the summer edition of Action, the newsletter of Fraser Valley Rent 2 Own. To learn about subscribing to the newsletter, please see the sidebar to the right.
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