It takes more than great pitching to make a successful team, and the New York Mets are proof of that. Manager Terry Collins and Team Captain David Wright provide exemplary leadership while different heroes emerge every week (case in point, second baseman Daniel Murphy who’s homered in four consecutive playoff games). Murphy’s fist pumping and enthusiasm continue to inspire.
Off the field, different stories of teamwork emerge; stories that demonstrate a classy display of winning attitudes and flexibility essential for success. Veteran ballplayer Michael Cuddyer, who won the National League batting title in 2013, didn’t complain when rookie Michael Conforto began to see more playing time. “You still need to be ready to get that big hit at any time,” Cuddyer recently told the media. Last Saturday, the outfielder replaced Lucas Duda at first base, stepping up for the team in a different position – a move which Collins made with tact. Rather than blatantly stating the obvious (Duda hasn’t been producing runs), he explained that Cuddyer simply had more experience hitting against Cubs’ pitcher Jon Lester. Smooth.
Keeping players’ morale up seems to be a specialty of Collins. After Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday, he asked the slumping Wright how he was doing. Wright replied, “Now I suck, but I’m fine,” his inefficacy at the plate obviously getting to him. To motivate his third baseman, Collins keeps telling him, “Keep putting those good at-bats on because it’s going to happen.” Wanting the best for his team, Wright even volunteered to sit out Game 2. But Collins wasn’t having it. He’s keeping Wright as the number two hitter in the Mets’ lineup.
Collins, like any successful leader, also knows that people make up the heart of your brand. In the Mets’ case, it’s the loyal fans who have stuck by their team through thick and thin. When the Mets’ clinched the NLDS last Thursday to advance to the NLCS to face the Chicago Cubs, Collins celebrated with Mets fans, including one elated fan who planted a kiss on Collins’ cheek.
To win, you have to spread the love with your staff and those who are committed to your brand. Judging by the Mets’ performance and the exuberance of long-suffering fans, that formula is working, with a trip to the World Series becoming one step closer with every win.
Let’s Go Mets.
(Photo credit: New York Mets Facebook Page)