Motivate This

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 insulted 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 the following season.

All of this background filtered back while I was reading an Internet article about the “best motivational quotes about baseball”. It’s a matter of opinion if they are actually motivational, but most are entertaining. The interesting aspect is that each of these comments was made by someone born before 1935. Let’s see if they still fit the game we love.

1) “Any minute, any day, some players may break a long-standing record. That’s one of the fascinations about the game, the unexpected surprises” – Connie Mack

2) “The main idea is to win” – John McGraw

3) “Now there’s three things you can do in a baseball game. You can win or you can lose or it can rain” – Casey Stengel

( Paraphrased by Crash Davis in “Bull Durham”)

4) “If it wasn’t for baseball, I’d be in either the penitentiary or the cemetery” – Babe Ruth

5) “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby

6) “Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”  – Leo Durocher

7) “Ain’t no man can avoid being average, but there ain’t no man got to be common” – Satchel Paige

8) “Catching a fly ball is a pleasure, but knowing what to do with it after you catch it is a business” – Tommy Henrich

9) “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer” – Ted Williams

10) “You can shake a dozen glove me out of a tree, but the bat separates the men from the boys” – Dale Long

11) “You can have money piled to the ceiling but the size of your funeral is still going to depend on the weather” – Chuck Tanner

12) “The way to make coaches think you’re in shape in the spring is to get a tan” – Whitey Ford

13) “Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when they’re losing: nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead” – Jackie Robinson

14) “Friendships are forgotten when the game begins” – Alvin Dark

15) “Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets” – Yogi Berra

16) “The only way to make money as a Manager is to win in one place, get fired and hired somewhere else” – Whitey Herzog

17) “For all its gentility, its almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps” – Willie Mays

18) “Players like rules. If they didn’t have any rules, they wouldn’t have anything to break” – Lee Walls

19) “You’ve got to have an attitude if you’re going to go far in this game” – Bob Gibson

 20) “Don’t call us ballplayers heroes, Firemen are heroes” – Sparky Anderson

Hope you’re motivated.


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