In the Final Hour, Teamwork is What Counts. Just Ask the Rays
Published: September 29, 2011
Last night the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals both clinched a Wild Card Playoff berth in baseball. Both teams came back from historical levels to catch the team in front of them during an exciting month of September.
The Rays’ story is amazing. During the off-season, they lost a Gold Glove first baseman, an all-star outfielder, an elite closer, the starting shortstop and half their bullpen. They replaced those guys with a bunch of untested young kids and a few not-so-productive veterans.
Their accomplishment is not only historic, but it is the stuff we typically only see in movies. I wonder if Brad Pitt should play Evan Longoria?
By every measure, the Red Sox were the favorites to win the American League, not just the division. They had the $170M payroll and were the ones who stole Tampa’s all-star outfielder. In contrast, the Rays’ payroll was only $43M. In just about every position, they were much better than the Rays on paper. They not only didn’t win their division, they didn’t make the playoffs. To make matters worse, they were in the lead with 3 weeks to go and blew it.
How could this happen with all that talent? They had a few injuries, but so did everyone else. They simply did not execute. They did not play well as a team. This is no different than what happens in our everyday lives. We all have to work hard and execute the small things, and in doing so, we each have a chance to win, regardless of how talented the competition is.
We should thank the Rays for this invaluable reminder.