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Saturday, February 15, 2020

NCAA Baseball GCU vs Oklahoma State Game 2 Live on US Sports Net and Concentrate On The Task At Hand

GCU Baseball hosts Oklahoma State on February 15, 2020 at 2pm (Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark).

Concentrate On The Task At Hand
By: Carl Mays

As a kid, I liked the teams involved in the current World Series, the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals. Al Kaline was “Mr. Tiger” and represented what baseball is all about. And even though Ty Cobb played before my time, when you think of the Detroit Tigers, the legendary “Georgia Peach” has to come to mind. Advancing through the years, no baseball fan could forget manager Sparky Anderson, who after winning the World Series twice with the Cincinnati Reds in the mid-seventies, led the Tigers to a championship in 1984.

The Cardinals were “the team” in West Tennessee where I was born and reared. Along with listening to their games on radio, my father, brother, and I made annual week-long visits to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play. Enos “Country” Slaughter and Stan “The Man” Musial were my favorites. Today, Cardinal manager Tony La Russa is special to me for several reasons. This World Series winner with the Oakland Athletics wrote a testimonial for my “A Strategy For Winning” book. He is also a good person, joining with his wife and daughters in benevolent endeavors, especially the La Russa Family Animal Rescue Foundation.

A couple of things that caught Tony’s attention in “A Strategy For Winning” are the emphases on being mentally tough and accepting responsibility. He wrote: “Carl Mays deals with some important principles. He spotlights the fact that all successful people have problems to overcome, and he emphasizes that unless you accept personal responsibility and make a personal commitment, you cannot win. His advice to concentrate on what you do have rather than on what you don’t have is fundamental, but often neglected...”

As I write this column, the Cardinals are leading the Tigers 2-1 in the series. The three winning pitchers have all shown extraordinary mental toughness and have fully accepted personal responsibility to lead their teams to victory. Even though there have been some hitting heroes, pitching has dominated the series so far. In game one, rookie Anthony Reyes, with a record of 5-8, surprised a lot of people when he powerfully led the Cardinals to victory after struggling in the first inning. Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan said Reyes “got his mind right and focused on what he had to do.”

In game two, Detroit’s Kenny Rogers took control of things. Following his performance, manager Jim Leyland, who led the Florida Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997, said, “The pine tar and scuffed ball comments overshadow the fact that Kenny pitched a terrific game.” Someone else said athletes are always looking for a mental and physical edge and even though much has been made of Rogers’ alleged tactics, “his edge was more mental than physical tonight.”

In game three, Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter showed why he is considered one of the best pitchers in baseball today, shutting down the Tigers as St. Louis claimed a 5-0 victory. Following the game, La Russa said of Carpenter, “He’s so strong between the ears that nothing fazes him. He’s got a good head, good heart, good guts.” Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina said Carpenter’s concentration was unshakable. Carpenter’s comments were, “Go one pitch at a time. All that stuff around you that’s going on doesn’t get in your head, so you’re not even thinking about it. You’re just thinking about what you’ve got to do to get the job done.”

Possessing mental toughness and accepting personal responsibility are not relegated to athletics. In our careers and lives there are times when one thing after another seems to overwhelm us and bring us down. That’s when we are challenged to concentrate on the task at hand, to focus on the one thing.

Carl Mays, author and speaker at over 3,000 events, may be contacted at carlmays@carlmays.com. His books, including A Strategy For Winning, Winning Thoughts, Anatomy Of A Leader, People of Passion and Are We Communicating Yet?, are available in stores, on Amazon and other Internet locations.

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