Baseball Magazine

Which One of "The Five" Are You Going to Pin Your Name To?

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

In 1991, while sitting on a minor league bus bored completely out of my scull, I realized I had better find something to do before I go insane.  I decided to start reading for pleasure.  I haven't stopped since.  I mostly read non-fiction that has nothing to do with baseball.  However, I'm always thinking of how what I'm reading can be applied to playing or coaching the game.  I'm currently reading a book called Zilch : The power of zero in business by Nancy Lubrin.  Nancy Lublin is a guru in the non-profit industry.  Her book discusses many ways that people and businesses can get along quite well with very little and still succeed.  I just finished a part where she lists five ways to be unique and set yourself apart from the competition.  She calls it The Five. They are ...

  1. First.
  2. Only
  3. Faster
  4. Better
  5. Cheaper

Lublin explainsThe Five further by saying that businesses need to connect their brand to at least one.  If they can't, it's over.  Of course, I see a baseball angle to all this.  Baseball players need to connect their brand (their name) to at least one as well if they want to keep playing the game.  Here are some thoughts as to how players could do this.
First.  Be the first to get to the field for practice and games.  It not only shows you are dependable, it shows a passion for the game.  The message sent is there is no place I'd rather be then on this field.  Truly successful people in any walk of life usually have a passion that is unmatched by others.
Only.  Master something that no other player on the team can do.  It could be stealing third base, base hit bunting, a pick-off move, running first to third, or fielding the slow roller (Part 1 & Part 2).  Pick something that will make you stand out and then master that particular skill.  This was explained further in another (non-fiction book) post HERE.
Faster.  Remember, there is a difference between fast and quick.  You don't have to be fast to be quick.  Work on making every aspect of your game quicker.  As I've said many times ... as you get older, the game gets faster.  Work to become faster and/or quicker than everyone else at doing a particular skill.
Better.  I wrote a post a while back called Focus on your weaknesses?.  In short, should a student/player focus more attention on the A or the F?  Check that post out to see where I stand.
Cheaper.  This concept may be obvious in the business world but not so much in amateur ball.  How can a player be cheaper if he isn't being paid?  The answer lies not in the price he commands but in the "costs" of playing him.   Some very talented players "cost" a lot because they are always screwing up the little things and end up hurting a team in the long run.  If a less talented player does the little things consistently, a coach will see him as being "cheaper" to play than a guy who drives in three runs but lets in four because he can't play defense or lets his emotions get the best of him.  Prove to the coach that the costs of playing you are cheaper and you'll probably get more playing time.

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