I have empathy for the GIANTS because I too, have been struggling for a couple of weeks. No–I’m not suggesting that my struggles are as important as the GIANTS. I don’t have teammates who are relying on me to do my part, nor does my inability to get the job done effect the appreciation, loyalty or enthusiasm of millions, thousands, or even hundreds of fans. Not even close. When I can’t write my blog it effects me, and maybe a handful of others who are kind enough to read what I write. But I understand. When you have a job to do–whether for pay or not, whether for employment or enjoyment–it’s very frustrating when you can’t get it done.
For a few weeks now I’ve struggled. I’ve stared at my screen and keyboard and tried to write. I’ve tried to be informative, interesting and funny. And I’ve come up with some pretty good ideas, but when it comes to stringing the words together, I fall flat on my face–I sound wooden, dull, and, sadly, about as funny as an outbreak of venereal disease in a convent. After watching the ring ceremony and the way the guys played in Saturday night’s game, I figured it out–the GIANTS were inspired. I’ve been trying to come up with ways to say “don’t worry, it’s still early, everything’s gonna be alright”–by using platitudes like “plenty of baseball left” or “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” or “it’s only the first couple of weeks”–they’re not doing me, or anyone else for that matter, one damn bit of good.
Exactly what is a platitude anyway? Dictionary.com defines a platitude as: “a flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound.” Strictly going by definition alone, a platitude doesn’t sound good at all, nor does it sound especially helpful.
Then it hit me. I realized I was getting inspired–so why not write about it?–by thinking about the ways the GIANTS could be inspired. New ways. Ways that, given a chance, might even work. Saturday night’s game is the perfect example. The G-Men took the field and played like the champions we all know and love. So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: how was Saturday’s game different from the 8 games that came before it? Just before the game Larry Baer handed out the World Series Bling–and that made all the difference. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but to the GIANTS on Saturday night they were a secret weapon. They put those rings on and–like a superhero donning his cape, mask, or leotard and tights–they were transformed. They turned into the World Series Champion GIANTS and they were unstoppable, they were unbeatable–NO–they were inspired.
Hunter Pence has played a huge role in inspiring the GIANTS since he came to town. Remember the 2012 postseason when every game was an elimination game and Hunter Pence launched what I like to call the “One More Day Campaign”? He inspired his teammates, and together they turned the GIANTS from “The Eliminatable” into “The Eliminators”. In 2014 he led the GIANTS in the “YES! YES! YES!” Campaign that switched the GIANTS track from 2nd place in the NL West to the Little GIANTS Engine that could–and did win it all.
Inspiration–that’s what the GIANTS need. First, they need to get back to basics. Re-discover the joy. They need to find a neighborhood ballpark and play with the kids–hook up with a bunch of Little Leaguers who are playing simply for the love of the game. Remind themselves of the wonder and amazement they felt the first time they caught a high fly ball or smacked a line drive–finally connecting the bat with the ball and running helter-skelter to 1st base like their hair was on fire. They need to recall the excitement they felt when they rounded third and ran home with such reckless abandon they almost forget to touch the base.
They should think back to the days when they played baseball in it’s purest form–when most of them wore old sneakers, uniforms that didn’t match–or if they had jerseys that matched, the front said “The Pistons” and the back said “Smitty’s Auto Service”. They need to find a ballpark that has a concession stand so they can buy a hot dog, peanuts, and Cracker Jack. And a green sno-cone for Hunter.
My friend Debby–with 4 kids and a husband that coached while she kept score–lived at our local Little League ballpark. She always made the kids eat green sno-cones after their hot dog, claiming it took the place of the green vegetable serving at dinner. Even dinner at the ballpark is all about the fun. That’s what our guys need–they need to be inspired and they need to have some fun.
To get inspired, they could try something that’s already been done and that we know for sure works–have a ring ceremony. Ok, settle down–I’m not talking about a big To Do on the field before a game. I’m not even
talking about using their actual rings–I’m talking about a private, clubhouse style gathering, and if they want they can use a token–a replica ring, a bobblehead, a batting glove, anything GIANTS–before each game, and just before they take the field, gather together, each player takes a turn–1 player per game–to talk about a GIANTS inspiration. I’ll give you an example: last year, during Game 5 of the World Series, Juan Perez found out one of his best friends–Oscar Taveras, a top prospect for the St. Louis Cardinals–died that day in a car accident. Juan was inconsolable, but when he entered the game, he vowed to get a hit and dedicate it to Oscar. And that’s just what he did. He scorched a 2 run double off the center field wall, helping the GIANTS win the game, putting the GIANTS ahead of Kansas City in the series, 3 games to 2. That’s what I call inspiration.
Will it work? I have no idea. But I do know this–it can’t hurt. And I know for sure that platitudes don’t work. So the GIANTS have been on a losing skid–so what? “This, too, shall pass.” Do you see how unhelpful that is?
#letsgoGIANTS !!! #letsgetODD !!!
“Hey, rookie! You were good.”
Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams