Leader. What is the definition of a good leader? What is your definition?
My definition is a bit wordy: Encouraging. Helpful. Guiding. Honest. Respectful. Fired up. Tone setting. Leads by example on and off field. Owns mistakes. Always improving. Holds others accountable in a professional way. Dedicated to their work and team.
Someone who knows what is important to the team–fundamentals, clean plays, producing runs, making contact, being efficient on the base paths, executing pitches–is a great step in the right direction.
Follow knowing what is important up with consistent execution & hard work–that is a leader.
Notice in all of this, I never mentioned publicly calling out a teammate for a mistake.
I did mention owning mistakes.
Thursday, Matt Carpenter was interviewed after the game. Some have clamored for accountability, including myself. His words were not holding someone accountable. His words were placing blame. Exact words are found here.
Carpenter said “You can strike out. You can make errors. But you can’t do that. He (Rosenthal) knows that.” He went on to say that Rosenthal had done this before and mistakes like this can’t happen twice. Is this true? Sure. Does Rosenthal know better? Yes. Did Carpenter need to say all of that publicly? No. Further in the article, Carpenter goes on to say “you can’t lose the game”…I imagine some pitchers feel that way about his errors, when they’re making extra pitches or when unearned runs are charged to them. Discussions may have gone on privately, but they didn’t air out their dirty laundry to the media.
A good leader would have had a discussion with Rosenthal in the tunnel, dugout, clubhouse. A good leader would have said, as many others have said, that this is a team sport. A good leader would own up to his own mistakes instead of avoiding or making excuses for them, as Carpenter has done on multiple occasions.
Do players strike out? Yes. Do players make errors? You betcha. Do players not make plays when needed? Unfortunately, another resounding yes. Do players make outs on the bases? Far too often on this team. Has Carpenter done all of these? Absolutely. Rather infamously now, he made the first out at third base in the bottom of the 9th after Carlos Martinez threw 9 shutout innings. He neglected to stick around for media after the game, but a few days later gave an interview in which he listed multiple reasons for his action in the scenario, then proceeded to say he would keep doing such things. He would choose to possibly make a mistake again in the name of being aggressive. But Rosenthal can’t make mistakes twice. And, as you read above, Rosenthal owned up to his mistake and said he would work on it.
Many on Thursday said mental lapses such as Rosenthal’s that day can’t happen. I’m fairly certain that choosing to run the bases the way players do is a mental choice on their part. Carpenter isn’t known for his baserunning prowess. Did Martinez blame him that night for the blunder? Did he say “If Carp stays at second base, we could have won”? No. Did anyone say that? No. In fact, their manager simply said “he knows” when asked about Carpenter’s gaffe after the game.
Accountability is a necessary part of a well functioning team. Tommy Pham has provided such accountability. He finds something positive to say and lists things to work on to be a better TEAM. He completely grasps the concept of this being a TEAM sport. A piece written about Pham illustrates his winning attitude further…always able to own up to his own shortcomings and clearly willing to work on them.
Baseball is a TEAM sport.
The offense was being no hit through half the game Thursday, and without Pham, they would have had no runs on the board. Cecil gave up a home run, tying the game. Rosenthal didn’t make a play. Multiple things went into the loss, such as multiple things go into a win.
When a person almost leads the team in strikeouts, makes errors that have cost runs and makes blunders on the base paths, that person should not be placing blame on anyone or saying which mistakes can and cannot happen. That person should take care of his own shortcomings first. Furthermore, he should not call shortcomings or mistakes of others out publicly.
Chris Carpenter took Brendan Ryan to task for being unprepared for an inning. He brought him into the tunnel to talk with him…a professional example of how to address an issue, even when frustrated.
Matt Carpenter could have said what others have in these situations–mistakes happen, he’ll fix it, we’ve all made mistakes. If he couldn’t say something amicable, he could have said “no comment” or something along those lines, or simply made himself unavailable, as he has before.
As far as deeming mistakes okay and not okay? They all have the potential to hurt the chance for a win. It’s how they move on and work through these mistakes that will end up defining this season.
For what it’s worth, I would have an issue with anyone who called someone out this way. However, this season, no one else has called anyone out this way. Matt set an unfortunate precedent.
Humility never hurt anybody. Arrogance hurts often. One quality is part of a leader…and a good teammate. The other is part of someone working alone.