Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You Can’t Always Get What You Want…Or Can You?!

Sister Assumpta Keepin' Score!

Cleveland Indians outfielder David Dellucci had been in a batting slump for most of the month of May. On a recent phone call to home back in Baton Rouge, La., David’s aunt had an idea. She advised David that she would have a friend of his call him with some advice. This friend is a Catholic Nun by the name of Sister Dulce. David befriended her while doing volunteer work for the parish that the sister is assigned. Sure enough, the call came through and this is the advice the Sister gave to David; “Stop pressing at the plate, you are putting too much pressure on yourself. Relax and take God to bat with you.” That evening, David hit a triple and a home run to help the Indians defeat their division rivals, the Tigers, and increase their lead in first place to a game and one half. David claims to have taken Sister Dulce’s advice.
Everyone has seen the movie “Angels in the Outfield.” It is believed that the Notre Dame University Football Team has been the recipient of “Divine Intervention” regularly. The Cleveland Indians have a Nun that has adopted the team as her own. Sister Mary Assumpta even starred in the movie about them, “Major League.” In that movie, slugger Pedro Serrano worshipped multiple Gods, determined by whichever one could help him hit a curve ball. Then of course, there is the “other side” represented in “Damn Yankees.”
So, whether you believe in help from beyond or not, what is the harm in taking advantage of that help? Many players make thankful gestures skyward upon a successful hit, play, pitch, etc. Many players make a religious sign or gesture before such plays.
However, the question remains, are they asking for enough? Are “favors” being left on the table? What if there is more available? Can specific favors or indulgences be requested? Can we get a “group rate?”
For example;
Requests must be balanced with a solid and achievable commitment.
During the last inning of the seventh game of the 1997 World Series, I was overheard by my family as committing to, “Get us out of this inning and I will go to church everyday for the rest of my life!” As it turned out, Edgar Renteria obviously made a better deal. Besides, I look at that moment as a very weak negotiating attempt on my part. I was obviously viewed as a “flight” risk for way over committing.
Requests, especially those made in the heat of the moment, must be specific in desired results. Players will be served first.
“God help me!” …help you what? “Please God, no!” …no what? That’s what time outs are for in baseball. Take full advantage of them. Step out of the batter’s box, off the mound, etc. and take the time you need to negotiate for specific results. Here is a suggested format to use:
“Please, __________ (insert the “God” of your choice), help me turn this ___________ (0-2 count for batters, 3-0 count for pitchers, etc.) into a ___________ (home run over the center field wall, inning-ending double play, etc). Furthermore, my current team will win this game by a score of _________ (remember to be reasonable). Additionally, as long as I am a part of this team for the remainder of this season (this is your exit clause in case of a trade), we will win our division by 5 or more games, cruise through the playoffs never to lose more than one game per playoff series, and win the World Series in _______ games (again, be realistic, keep in mind commercial endorsements, advertising dollars, etc.). I agree to ____________________________ (carefully lay out your commitments specifically, reinforcing that all of the above must take place in the proper sequence).”
God is a busy man…or woman, limit your requests to avoid the “nuisance” moniker that could jeopardize future requests.
There are 30 major league baseball teams with 750 players and millions of fans, not to mention minor leagues, softball leagues, all the way down to T-ball. Because of the high volume between 7 pm and 10:30 pm, rates have been reduced during off times. So, get your requests in early for best results and to take advantage of the “reduced obligation” special.

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