Motivate This

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When people hear that I was professional speaker during my working days, their immediate response is something like “you mean motivation and stuff?” I always wonder if the alternative they’re thinking of would be non-motivational speaking.


Motivational speakers have never impressed me. Their message is usually emotional and short-lived. Most people attending one of these programs during a convention or meeting are motivated for a few hours and have forgotten the experience by the time cocktail hour and the next morning’s hangover have arrived. Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer and dozens of others I’ve listened to over the years all have one thing in common. Even after collecting a nice fee, they’re trying to sell you something…books, videos, newsletters and the like. And then, there’s the occasional presenter like football legend Mike Ditka who received five figures as a keynote speaker and insult any group that wasn’t white and Christian. Guess he didn’t think any of us would be in the audience?


I always considered myself a “success speaker”, in the sense that the people in the room might take away something that could make (or save) them money in their business. In addition, through humor and example, they could also find some hints on how to get along better with people…that’s the real secret to success.


The complete antithesis of a motivational speaker was A’s GM Billy Beane. Two years after “Moneyball” became a best-selling book, he and I were both part of the same program at a business convention in Reno. His message was all about success in business. Innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, allocation of scarce resources and many other topics were relevant to every business person in the room. And, he wasn’t selling anything! Of course, there was some confusion in the audience during the Q&A session when I asked him if Huston Street would still be the Closer next season.


All of this background filtered back while I was reading a recent Internet article about the “most motivating quotes from baseball”. It’s a matter of opinion if they are actually motivational, but most are entertaining. So, here’s today’s quiz – there are 10 quotes from the article and an additional 10 from the Duck archives. See if you can pick out the 10 on the list as opposed to the ones I’ve added.


1) “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” – Jimmy Dugan, A League Of Their Own


2) “Ninety feet between home plate and first base may be the closest man has ever come to perfection.” – Red Smith, Sportswriter


3) “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” – Jackie Robinson
4) “The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey. The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front. The new ballplayer cares about the name on the back.” – Steve Garvey


5) “About the only problem with success is that it does not teach you how to deal with failure.” – Tommy Lasorda


6) “Trying to sneak a pitch past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak sunrise past a rooster.” – Curt Simmons


7) “If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.” – Ted Williams


8) “You never save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” – Leo Durocher


9) “Watching other teams in the World Series is like watching somebody else eat a Hot Fudge Sundae.” – Joe Torre


10) “Baseball must be a great game to survive the fools that run it.” – Bill Terry


11) “There may be people who have more talent than you, but here’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you.” – Derek Jeter


12) “You can’t sweep a series if you don’t win the first game, and it’s tougher to win two out of three if you lose the first one.” – Todd Helton


13) “There is an old saying that money can’t buy happiness. If it could, I would buy myself four hits every game.” – Pete Rose


14) “The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.” – Casey Stengel


15) “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth


16) “Willie Mays’ glove is where triples go to die.” – Jim Murray, Sportswriter


17) “Hitting is fifty percent above the shoulders.” – Ted Williams


18) “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” – Yogi Berra


19 “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth


20 “The more no’s you get, the closer you are to someone saying yes.” – Don Drooker


To avoid keeping you in suspense, the answer is easy. The odd numbered quotes are from the article and the even numbered ones were added. #20 is a good all-purpose


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