2016 Fall Classic “A Mental Spectacle”

November 6, 2016 by  
Filed under B2P Hot Stove

Being part of the media landscape, at this year’s World Series, offered me a perspective on the fall classic that the average fan would not be privy to. Everything from the press conferences to the first pitch are planned with and to precision. The hundreds of people working behind the scenes to make this go off without a hitch is something to marvel at.

I had the opportunity to interview a number of the Indians and Cubs players and was more intrigued by their mental outlook and preparation than the stats, which prognosticators coming out of every radio and TV crack use to tell us what will happen and how. Remember CLE Kluber (under 1 post season ERA coming into Game 7 vs CHI Hendricks, who lead the major leagues in ERA) ,this was to be a lock that the final game would be low scoring according to the “experts”. Final score 8-7. Point made!

Generally speaking competitive players all deal with “nerves” and channeling the stress that goes with showcasing one’s talents in front of thousands of fans and millions more looking in on their giant screens. Jeff Manship the Cleveland Indians pitcher told me “surprisingly I’m calm and enjoying the moment.” I had similar responses from other Tribe and Cub players. Now were they putting their best foot forward or perhaps nervous train wrecks, I tend to think not. These professionals’ play regularly in front of packed stadiums sometimes in hostile environments. As with anything in life our experiences prepare us for bigger moments. These players were prepared for the World Series stage by forming good habits and daily routines that are part and parcel for any major league team to succeed when playing over 160 games.

The fans were more nerved since they are onlookers and can’t control the outcome. Managers have similar feelings since they put out the lineup and the players determine the end result. Sometimes they look like geniuses and other times inept. They are candidates for stresses physical manifestation called an ulcer.

Hearing Terry Francona and Joe Maddon in pregame pressers all week, I took away that these guys sincerely are loose which sets the tone for their players that playing for a World Series title should be enjoyable. The mental lesson to be learned from these pros are to compete hard and enjoy the moment. You can smell the roses while you chase your dreams and goals. An ideal to live by in sports and life as well.

Ron Meyer is the Creator and Host of Blessed2Play a 30 min weekly radio program that uncovers the role that faith plays in the lives of athletes and sports professionals from around the country.