There comes a point in every season that a team is tested. And it is at 50% 50% odds of whether a team will stand up to that challenge or not. I have played for teams that have failed and teams that have succeeded. I have won and lost championships and have been a part of a world series winning organization. I’ve experienced my own failures and successes and watched myself learn how to rise up from challenges. And I have taught teams and individuals how to face these challenges day in and day out. We are here.
Our challenge in this game is that we are tied for first with two left to play. The Baseball Gods have been watching this team and time and time again you have been rewarded based on your talent. You are the best team in this league and everyone knows it. You see everyone’s best pitcher all year and every team that beats you acts like its the world series to them. You are in the judgment of everyone else in this league, that you are the best team in this league.
The greatest thing about baseball, is that it rewards you for being involved, one pitch at a time, all year. Teams that win championships click together after an entire season of understanding and learning each other. After an entire year, players buy in to their roles on the team and learns to lock in pitch by pitch by the end of the season.
The greatest thing about baseball is that the game challenges you along the way to be better, to endure mentally as well as physically.
Our challenge baseball has given us, and they’ve given this challenge to many teams, is that at this point, our frustrations are not physical, they’re mental.
All of you are treated as if you were all 12 years old. We are all on the same stage, playing at the highest level of little league. I see the talent on this team and all year you have believed in yourselves until now. SOmeone has challenged themselves to test you and defeated you and now you feel less then perfect.
But the best don’t find themselves unscathed at the end of battle. They end up battle worn and bloody. Scrubby, tested and challenged, again and again and at last emerging victorius. There was going to be no easy path here.
Your opponents threw it all on the table at a moment when you refused to throw yours back. You did not play your best outfield, you did not play your best infield, you did not catch your best, and you did not pitch your best. And they did, and you lost.
Big deal, so what. What changed?
Nothing. Your opponents acted like they won the world series.
Our talent hasn’t changed, your tools and abilities to come together on the field hasn’t changed. We got comfortable.
What changed is our ability to focus one pitch at a time.
What changed is our ability to believe in ourselves when the challenge arises.
Every single one of us has had great moments this year that turned the course of a game. These can happen as often as you want them once you lock in.
SO what now? Nothing is handed to a Champion. Champions prove themselves. Are you going to continue to feel sorry for yourself and make excuses why you failed as a team? Or are you going to say , so what? and move on? How many of you have heard the phrase, “so what?” what the heck do you think it comes from? It comes from moments like this, when winners say it. and move on, and lock in.
SO here we are. I know why we lost the last two games, I know how we can lock in better, I know how we win out the rest of this season and claim our championship. From here on out, it can get easier for you guys, but you have to learn why you lost the last two games. Are you ready? Are you ready to claim your championship, dirty, scuffy, worn out? Here’s where we play for the pile.