TAKE A BIG SWING

During the fifth game of the ALCS while watching Verlander pitch in the eighth inning to the Rangers I thought back to when I played Little League and the count went 3 and 0, our coach always told us to take the next pitch. It made good sense because the pitcher had missed the target three times in a row, so more than likely he'd miss again.

That mindset has carried over into the major leagues. When Verlander—whose strategy is more about placement than it is about aim—has a 3-0 count, even sluggers like Hamilton, Beltre, Napoli, and Cruz typically get the take sign. What happens? Verlander, not wanting to give up a walk, usually delivers a strike down the middle of the plate. The most hittable pitch those major leaguers ever see comes on 3-0, and that's the pitch they are least likely to swing at.

Something makes me wonder if this decision hasn't carried over from the days of Little League, when this decision once made sense because the skill level of the hitter had yet to develop. Therefore, the mindset has become "we take on 3-0 because that's what we've always done.” go."

That may be “how baseball go” but I know that in the game of life we can’t afford to make decisions based on “this is the way it’s always been done.” We have to learn to evaluate the decisions we make and the opportunities we take in our lives. We need to be asking crucial questions: Is this working? Am I accomplishing what I need to accomplish? Should I change my approach? Do I need to do something differently?

I’m not saying we make changes for the sake of making changes. But when we know we're about to get a good pitch—when an ideal opportunity presents itself—we should be willing to break convention a little bit and take a big swing at it.

Moses takes such a swing in the book of Deuteronomy. The people of Israel had taken 40 years to make an 11 day journey, and though they had experienced victories along the way, Moses could see that it was time to make some changes. He said to his people ..."You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. The Lord your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as many as the stars in the sky...But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you." (Deuteronomy 1:9-10)

The people answered by saying "What you propose to do is good." And a change was made in the life of Israel's structure. Moses adjusted his old way of thinking — one man bearing the burden alone — to a more creative solution. He went outside of his box and positioned the Israelites into effective leaders. And the creative solution worked.

There are undoubtedly countless areas in your life and relationships crying out for a fresh approach. Don’t stay limited by doing it the old way. The old way becomes all too predictable and a little burdensome. Think about what could be done differently and more effectively, and get ready to take a big swing.

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