It’s the MLB playoffs and I have to give a shout-out to my SF Giants. They beat the NY Mets last night in a one-game wild card playoff, their first step to getting back to the World Series. Madison Bumgarner pitched a complete game shut-out and Conor Gillaspie hit a 3-run homer to win it in the 9th. It was a very exciting finish.
I write this mainly to get a rise out of my cousin, a die-hard Mets fan. But I also write this because of a Manic Impressive baseball moment I witnessed 30 years ago.
On September 14th, 1986, San Francisco Giants’ manager Roger Craig made a fateful decision. He asked his catcher, Bob Brenly, to cover third base for an injured player in a game against the Braves. This set the stage for one of most stunning personal performances in Major League Baseball history.
To that point in the season, Bob led the National League with only 3 errors in 101 games as a catcher. But in the fourth inning, Brenly tied a Major League record. He committed four errors on just three plays, allowing the Braves to score 4 unearned runs. It was the lowest point in his 871-game MLB career.
Back in the dugout Bob did not hang his head. Nor did he lose his temper like his teammates expected. “I was known to take my anger out on the bat rack,” Brenly said with a laugh. “I think they were expecting a snap.”
What happened next was pretty strange. “A major feeling of calm came over me,” Brenly said. “It was like the entire game slowed down, but I moved at a regular speed.”
This allowed Bob to redeem himself. He hit a home run in the 5th inning. Then a two-run single in the 7th. Then with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, Bob hit a monster walk-off home run. He single-handedly won the game with his bat at the plate, after he’d single-handedly given it away with his glove at 3rd base.
Brenly went from Goat to Hero, or as he said, “from the outhouse to the penthouse.”
It was a captivating performance that left everyone feeling good. Brenly wasn’t a star, but he was a solid player and teammate. So it was all the more satisfying to see him make up for his disastrous play. We love it when everyday people struggle and redeem themselves.
That’s a big lesson for us Manic Impressives. Though capable of home runs, we often sabotage ourselves with dumb, mental errors. We get in our own way and cause teammates to curse us under their breath. This is when we just need to stay in the game.
Your Manic side will often get you into trouble. You’ll make mistakes, show up late, be disorganized, impulsive and forgetful. But that’s okay because, just like Bob Brenly, your Impressive side is there to bail you out.
Ideally you’ll learn to mitigate the issues caused by your Manic behaviors. Then when you step up to the plate, you’ll do what you do best, what comes effortlessly for you, what you’re passionate about and are built for, and you’ll hit it out of the park. That will make everyone forget your mistakes. Or at least accept them.
Or in the case of Bob Brenly, celebrate them. Because if it weren’t for those 4 errors in the 4th, that homer in the 9th wouldn’t have meant so much. And we wouldn’t be talking about him today.
So swing for the fences, Manic Impressives, and don’t stress too much about your errors…