On one side, tonight was a page from the recent Yankees-great-teams text book. Get an early lead, have your starting pitcher maintain that margin, and then tack on runs until the game is far in your favor.
On the other side, Tampa Bay was clearly playing their “B” tonight.
Regardless of the side that you may choose to run with, the Yankees are now two games over .500 for the first time this season. And, since you need to get to two over before you can do three, and then four, and then five, etc., the win tonight has meaning.
Actually, something came to me tonight – watching Scott Proctor close out the game.
You’re a baseball player. You spend your entire life just trying to get to the major leagues. You have some talent and that allows you to get there. But, once at that level, there’s tremendous stress to do well – along with having doubts in your ability – and that hurts your performance (because you’re playing tight, as if every outing is “major league” life or death).
Then, you have a huge life event. Your one-month old daughter has to have surgery to fix a serious heart ailment. Any parent can tell you how such a matter can slap you in the face faster and harder than anything else known to man. It also gives you a very quick lesson in what really matters in life – and what’s not so important in reality (despite what you may have thought in the past).
All of a sudden, that past situation where you would have been stressed is not as dire because you now know, without question, that it’s not the end of your world if it doesn’t work out – because of that slap wake-up call that brought your attention to what really is important.
Ironically, once that stress is removed from the situation, you’re no longer tight and your talent flows instead of being choked off at the source. And, because you actually have talent, you start to succeed. As this is repeated, you build confidence and become more successful.
Now, I’m not saying that I know for sure that this has happened with Proctor. But, it’s possible. All the pieces are there on the timeline. Again, it’s just a thought that passed through my mind tonight as I watched what looked like a new Scott Proctor on the mound (to me). Your mileage may vary.