Bringing in a left-handed pitcher to face a right-handed hitter is stupid. Unless you’re Tampa Bay Rays’ Manager Joe Maddon. Then, you’re a genius. (This article from Fangraphs is outstanding…a must read!).
During last night’s American League Wild Card Game against the Cleveland Indians, Maddon called for LHP Jake McGee to face the Indians’ RHB Ryan Rayburn. Right-handed hitters typically fare far better against left-handed pitchers than right-handed pitchers, and Rayburn is no exception.
Rayburn has one major weakness, however, and that weakness is the greatest strength Jake McGee possesses–a blazing fastball. In a Twitter conversation during the game, baseball stats nerds mentioned the following: against fastballs above 95 MPH this year, Rayburn’s numbers are abysmal (.087 BA/ .276 OBP/ .261 SLG). McGee’s average fastball? 97 MPH.
As the Fangraphs article notes, McGee threw five pitches to Rayburn, the slowest of which was 96.8 MPH. Rayburn struck out. Maddon is a genius.
All of this highlights one key factor for the Tampa Bay Rays. No one is more prepared than they are for every possible scenario a game could bring. They do things that seem unconventional because they know the numbers and understand their opponents’ weaknesses.
If we’re honest, we know how important preparation is for what we all face in life. But, we must honestly admit that few of us feel prepared for what life throws at us. To prepare for a game, Joe Maddon trusts the wisdom of countless analysts who give him information that will help him make the right decisions. He doesn’t manage alone, but on the collective wisdom of those who know best. He’s not really a genius, at least not in the rogue sense. He’s a genius because he’s learned to trust those who have great wisdom and knowledge.
Genius in life only comes as you humble yourself, recognize your own inadequacy and foolishness, and seek daily for God to give you His wisdom and knowledge. Then you’ll be confident in what others see as an unconventional way of living (life with Jesus is always unconventional according to this world). Then you’ll make decisions not based on what you know, but based on what God knows.
Gaining god’s wisdom is simple, but unnatural to us. Here’s the formula.
1. Spend time daily in the Scripture.
2. Ask God daily for it.
3. Make decisions based on it, even when you or others think you have lost your mind.