The Silent Home Run

2009Baseball_Panorama-Infield

Sometimes we don’t know who we really are and what we’re capable of doing. We need to be shook and told by someone else that we’ve hit a home run. Just because we may not hear people cheering in the stands doesn’t mean we didn’t earn the home run.

I’m reading a book titled Scary Close by Donald Miller. It’s pretty rad. Full review coming soon. Just came across this passage in the book below (and/or you can scroll down to the video clip). It refers to the movie Moneyball. This story stopped me in my tracks:

The general manager of the Oakland A’s was struggling with a crisis of identity. Billy Beane and his friend Peter completely rebuilt the team using a model in which they studied statistics rather than using their instincts to decide which players to field. And the system worked. The A’s started slow but ended up winning their division, including a record-setting twenty-game winning streak. Billy Beane completely changed the way managers approached the game forever.

In the end, though, the A’s didn’t win the World Series and Beane felt like a loser. He believed that unless you were the greatest, you weren’t great and he sulked. He was even called in by the Boston Red Sox and offered a $12 million contract to manage the team, but that wasn’t enough to convince him he was good. Finally, his friend Peter called him into the film room and sat him down.

“I want you to see something, Billy.” — “I don’t want to watch the film,” Billy said.

“Just watch this,” Peter said and started rolling a clip of a 240-pound infielder for an AA Diamondbacks player who was known not only as a power hitter but also for being too slow and too scared to round first base.

In the clip, the young baseball player hits the ball solidly and feels so good about it he decides he’s going to try and take second. But tragedy happens. As he rounds first, he trips on the bag and lands on his belly. His worst nightmare has come true. He tried and he failed.

Peter paused the tape and rolled it back and forth as he tripped over the base.

“Ah, that’s sad,” Billy said. “They’re all laughing at him.”

But Peter let the video roll and asked Billy to keep watching. As the camera closed in on the player crawling on his belly to make sure he was safe at first, the first baseman leaned down, telling him to get up and keep running. The guy looked up in confusion, his helmet nearly covering his eyes. “You hit a home run,” the first baseman yelled. “You cleared the fence by sixty feet.”

Billy didn’t say anything. He just sat there thinking about the video still rolling on Peter’s computer.

You don’t even know you hit a home run, Peter implied.