Now before I alienate all you Yankee fans out there, please know that even as a Red Sox fan, I’m really not that diehard about baseball anymore, and further, considering the way they played in September they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway. That said, I think it was regrettable how the Yankees approached the game last night against the Rays, and frankly, it was disrespectful of baseball. Not only did they parade 12-13 different pitchers to the mound, they blew a 7-run lead, and when the game was on the line and they were still up one run, one of the best closers in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera, never got up from his seat in the bullpen. Call me a whiner if you want to, but contrast the approach and decisions by Phillies’ manager, Charlie Manuel to make the Braves earn the win in their game last night, one which Atlanta desperately needed to win, yet lost and failed to make the playoffs, and one the Phils simply had to play out since they’d already wrapped up their division weeks ago, with Yankee’s manager Joe Girardi’s apparent apathy regarding the outcome, and you have to admit something’s not right here.
I’m not suggesting the Yankees planned to lose the game, nor am I a sore loser, again, I’m really not that fanatical. What bothers me isn’t the fact that the Yankees are in the playoffs and Boston isn’t- again, the Rays surged in September, while Boston swooned! What has me bugged is that when the game was on the line, and in every other instance, Rivera would enter the game and close it out with a win, Girardi chose to leave him on the bench! To me, he was saying, “This game doesn’t matter to us, it’s not worth putting Rivera out there because we really don’t care about the outcome…” Manuel of the Phillies inserted his closer, Brian Lidge into the game in the bottom of the eighth- a move he’s consistently made all season.
My point- this isn’t just about baseball; this is about how we approach life! Sure, coaches rest players all the time at the end of the season when they have a playoff spot in the bag. But more importantly than this is the question that both Girardi and Manuel cause us to ask: Do you put your best out there no matter what, or is it sometimes okay to simply phone in your performance? In other words, regardless of the life setting or situation- your approach to family, to your job, to church, to other responsibilities, etc., are we able to say, “No matter what the circumstance or how I could justify a different approach, I’m giving this my absolute best. I’m not cutting corners or acting callously, nor am I merely hoping it will somehow work out. No, I’m all in. I’m in it to win it! I’m dedicated to and determined to making the right decisions and approaching my responsibilities in every area of my life with my absolute best possible! Because this isn’t about competition, this is about character, and I want to make sure, no matter what, that I’m a winner; that despite what the proverbial scoreboard of life my show at times, I am giving my life- my family, my job, my Lord, my best!”