Wisdom for Leaders from MLB Players!

Posted: April 1, 2011 by kylejackson10 in CHRISTIAN, CRAZY LOVE, FCA LEE COUNTY, Uncategorized, YOUNG ADULTS

I have 2 friends that I played college baseball with that are making their way through Minor League baseball on the way to the Bigs. I had the opportunity to talk with both of them on the phone recently as they were finishing up Spring Training in AZ. and was blown away by some of the answers they gave me to some questions I was strategically asking about baseball but listening to their answers with a Ministry mindset.

Lance Zawadski (Triple-A for the Kansas City Royals) played several games for the Padres last season before being traded is a switch hitting SS/2B that is a phenomenal defensive player and hits for power from both sides of the plate. (http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=453368#sectionType=career&statType=1&season=&gameType=’R’)

Brad Coon (Triple-A for the Los Angelis Dodgers) is in his 6th year of Minor League ball. He was with the Angels for 4 years, Nationals for 1 and now will start his 6th season with the Dodgers. He is a speedy left-handed center fielder that hits lead-off and steals 30-40 bases a year. Brad hit a walk-off HR last year in Spring Training in AZ for the Angels. (http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=488795#sectionType=career&statType=1&season=&gameType=’R’)

Questions I asked Lance and Brad:

1.) What is the biggest difference between Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball?

Amazingly they gave the exact same answer: “The biggest difference is in Minor League Baseball you can get away with certain weaknesses, but in the Majors, every weakness you have will be EXPLOITED and it will be exploited quick. In Minor League baseball only a few teams know your weakness, in the Majors EVERYONE knows your weaknesses!”

As a leader in ministry, the larger your ministry gets the more your weaknesses are going to be EXPLOITED! You can get away with some things in the Minors that only a few people know about, but in the Majors your weakness WILL be known and they WILL be exploited quickly!

2.) What is the difference in preparing for a Double-A game and a Major League Game?

Again, they gave the same answer: “You can show up at the park 3 hours before a minor league game and stretch, Take BP, throw and be successful. In the Majors you have to prepare daily! You have to do your reasearch on everything and chances are you still want have a “great” game! You have to be so mentally tough or you will get run over!”

As a leader in ministry, the more influence you have the more ready you have to be to answer questions, take the heat, be challenged by others and more. You can’t just show up at the park and half way prepare, you have to be prepared daily.

3.) What has been the toughest challenge for you after moving up to the Big Leagues?

Lance: “Learning the day-to-day routine of being a Major League player. It’s so different being in the spotlight. Everything you do or say people are ready to pounce on you! You have to be mentally tough.”

Brad: “Thinking I have to change who I am as a player after one bad at bat or one bad game. I think I have to change everything about my stance and swing after one bad day. I am a singles hitter, that steals bases and plays good defence. That’s what got me here. I don’t have to be something I’m not!”

WOW…Let both of those answers sink in a little! In the ministry sometimes you feel like people are just waiting for you to do or say the “wrong” thing. Everyone has their opinion of what you should do or who you should be. Be who you are and do what got you to the place you are in. Don’t be afraid to change, but always revert back to who you are at a heart level. Know who you are and what you do well and stick with it!

4.) What is the biggest misconception about Major League players?

Lance: “That people think that just because we are Big League players we slack off. The biggest surprise to me was watching from the dugout some of the best players in the game consistently running on and off the field hard and running out ground balls hard. People see what they want on TV and assume what they want from a distance. It is not always true.”

Brad: “That we are all the same! Cocky, Above the law, non-appreciative guys. So untrue. There are unhappy people everywhere in life no matter what you do! That does not mean everyone you work with or everyone in you profession is the same. But people believe what they want and make their own opinions about you without even knowing you.”

The more influence you gain, the more scrutiny you will take! People will  make their own opinions about you when they have never met you. They will watch from a distance and try to tear you down.

What Can We Do: 1.) Get accountable about your weaknesses so they will not get Exploited. 2.) Prepare Daily. 3.) Know who you are at a heart level. 4.) Don’t worry about the misconceptions about who you are.

  1. Kyle Sullivan says:

    KJ….loved the blog. Miss ya man. Going through a time where I am getting much needed alone time with God and it has been awesome. Hope to see ya soon.

  2. Rob says:

    It was great to meet you today. The world wide web is amazing. I love making connections from all over.

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