A lot of men my age draw too many life lessons from sports. But I’m a man my age, so I drew three career lessons from last night’s Detroit Tigers game:
- Don’t let complaints about the things you can’t control distract you from focusing on what you can control and finishing your job.
- Take responsibility for your work and admit your mistakes.
- Tradition is no excuse for failure to innovate.
Focus on what you control
Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game last night. The baseball record book won’t reflect that, though, because first-base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call on what should have been the final out of the game. It was perhaps the toughest call for an umpire to make: a bang-bang play at first base, with the pitcher covering. Both men are in motion swiftly and the umpire needs to decide instantly with his naked eye which of two events several feet apart happens first: the ball hitting the glove or the runner’s foot hitting the bag (while also being sure the pitcher’s foot was on the bag when he caught the ball). Anyone who has umpired a few recreational games knows that’s a tough call. And when the crowd is cheering the apparent end of a perfect game, you can’t rely on the sound of the ball hitting the glove to help you out. (more…)