Games » Toronto Blue JaysApr21
“It doesn’t really matter; I just do what I do.”
Zack Greinke’s response to pitching well, but getting robbed of the win, is just about perfect.
Good ballplayers focus on effort, not results. They know if they take the right approach, game after game, the results will be there. If things don’t go well, there’s no panic. They continue with the approach that they know will pay off over time.
In “The Mental Game of Baseball,” sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman says that trying harder may be a sign of a good person, but not a good ballplayer. He also says the idea of “rising to the occasion” is largely a myth. Clutch performers are people who can take the same consistent approach regardless of the situation.
I once asked George Brett about hitting in the clutch. How did he do it? He said, “A lot of hitters can’t forget that there are two outs, the tying run’s on second and it’s the World Series…I can.” See? Just do what you do.
During the Little League World Series, Orel Hershiser was asked if the kids needed to learn to rise to the occasion. He said they could try, or they could just play the same and let everyone around them play worse and it would look like they rose to the occasion.
I used to think Wade Boggs’ approach to the game was superstitious. Leaving for the ballpark the same time every day, driving the same route, eating the same pregame meal, stepping onto the field at precisely the same time…all those things seemed a little obsessive-compulsive to me.
After playing the game (or at least trying to), I now think he was probably just trying to be consistent. Approach everything the same way, day after day, knowing that in the long run, he would be successful.
(Hell, I’ve used three different swings in one at-bat, and that approach really doesn’t work.)
So when Zack says it doesn’t matter whether he won or not, he’s not saying he doesn’t care. He’s saying it’s beyond his control and he’s not going to focus on that. All he can do is pitch well and accept the results.
He just does what he does.
Like I said…just about perfect.