One of the most frustrating things for me to watch during a baseball game is a player not hustling because he thinks he know how the umpire is going to call the play before the play is over.
I have watched baseball since I was in grade school. I watched countless World Series games, I watched the game where McGwire broke the home run record in 1998, and I was at the game in Kansas City when Tony Larussa broke the record for the Cardinal manager with the most wins.
I have seen some spectacular catches from the likes of Mike Trout. Some clutch home runs that have won games from players like Yadier Molina. I have witnessed a couple of no-hitters and perfect games.
On the flip side I have seen some unbelievable errors in the game. I have witnessed a pitcher, in the bottom of the 9th inning, with bases lodes and the game tied, drop the ball and allowed the winning run to jog in from third base.
I have seen Matt Holiday try to catch the ball in left field as if he was catching a football, resulting in him dropping it and costing the Cardinals not only the game against the Dodgers – but their elimination from the playoffs that fall.
The unbelievable errors were frustrating. However, I can accept those mistakes because people do make mistakes – even overpaid athletes
What causes me the yell at the tv more than the unbelievable errors is when a player stops being a player during a play and starts to play umpire.
The batter hits the ball. It is a grounder along the third base line. The third baseman could hustle and get the ball, but he doesn’t because he believes that the umpire will call it foul in a few seconds, so he thinks “why waste my energy.” But the umpire doesn’t call it foul and not only does the batter get the first, a run scores.
Even worse that than that is when the batter hits the ball, he is sure the umpire is going to call him out at first, so instead of hustling at full sped towards the bag, he half-heartedly runs to first and when he gets there the umpire does call him out.
The umpire didn’t call him out because it was a bang-bang play, in fact he would have been safe if he had hustled. He was called out because he didn’t try, and he didn’t try because he played umpire.
Ballplayers and athletes in general are not the only people who play umpire. I have played umpire and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have as well.
In my professional life I have seen opportunities for me to apply for a job. The job posting will list all the qualifications that the employer desires in an applicant. I read the list thoroughly and notice that I am an exact fit for some of the qualifications, a good to great fit for a few more of the qualifications, but I come up short on one or two of the qualifications – so I say to myself “why should I waste my time and theirs by applying for this job.” And walk away from the opportunity.
In my personal life I have seen a cute girl and before I psych myself up to ask her for a date (note this was BEFORE I was married), I start to list all the reasons why she would turn ne down and before I know it, I let our chance encounter end without asking for even her phone number.
In both of those scenarios I was playing umpire and calling myself out before the HR manager for a job or the cute girl I just met had a chance to decide on me.
I have learned through the school of hard knocks called life university that wen you play umpire you are limiting your chances for growth and success. I have also learned that the only way you are going to find out if you can get that job, get the girl or can do something in your life is to stop playing umpire and start being a risk taker.
Go out there. Take those risks and let others be your umpire. Sure, you may be called out a few times, but you will also start to see yourself grow, develop confidence in yourself and become a success over time.