Pay Attention or Pay the Price

By Mike Johnson

Infielders are the smartest people on a baseball diamond.

They have to anticipate and plan what to do if the ball is hit to them. This changes on every pitch. Once the other team gets people on base, the complexity of possibilities grows exponentially.

With nobody on, the play is simple. If a grounder, throw it to first base. If a liner or pop-up, catch it on the fly.

But with a runner on first, now a grounder depends on where it moves you. If directly to you, the play is to second, to force out the lead runner. Or maybe get a double play.

If you’re the shortstop, and the grounder is to the second baseman, now you have to cover second base.

If the ball is hit to left field, you have to sprint in that direction to be the cutoff man. Where will you throw the ball if that happens?

The same complexity exists for line drives, pop-ups and stolen bases. Good infielders know exactly what to do in every situation before it ever happens. They run new scenarios every pitch.

90% of the time, these plans are not needed. The batter never hits the ball or it goes to another location outside your responsibility.

A player would rather have the ball roll between his legs than throw it to the wrong base. Mental errors look far worse than physical errors.

In baseball, lack of concentration is easily exposed. If you daydream, you look like a dope AND you hurt the team.

In real life, lack of focus mostly hurts yourself. Unless others are depending on you.

The biggest foul-ups in mass transit and construction and medical industries are caused by people not paying attention to what they’re doing.

Not only don’t they plan for various contingencies, they are not even fully present when the “ball is hit their way.”

Pilot error is the leading cause of plane crashes. Safety violations are the leading cause of construction injuries. Medical errors are the third largest cause of death in America.

All of these negative situations can be avoided with the mindset of a good infielder.

Focus. Plan. Anticipate. BEFORE THE BALL COMES YOUR WAY.

Pay attention or pay the price.


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