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Beating the Odds

Random Brilliance

Have you ever heard of Jonathan Sanchez?

Chance are you had not — at least until Friday night. That’s when he became the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the major leagues this season.

Sanchez was an unlikely candidate to pitch a classic game. He entered Friday night’s performance with a poor record. But that’s the way it is with no-hitters. Many times it’s not the stars who do it.

A no-hitter, rather than being a mark of quality, is a random baseball event.

And what lessons does that teach?

First, it shows the brilliance that is in everyone. Anyone can have a moment or day of brilliance. When you combine skill with some luck, anything can happen.

Second, a no-hitter is no substitute for  what every big-league ballplayer REALLY wants –and that’s consistency. That’s what they all talk about. They don’t want highs or lows. Ask any major-league what they’d prefer — a night of brilliance or an accomplished career — and you would have a hard time finding anyone who wanted momentary brilliance.

A long, successful career comes from good daily habits. It’s the accumulation of millions of correct decisions, none of them glamorous but all of them necessary.

Brilliance today cannot guarantee success tomorrow.

Many brilliant decisions today can help create a brilliants tomorrow.

Sometimes the randomness of a brilliant moment reaches near-absurd levels. In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer pitched two consecutive no-hitters! No major-league pitcher has even done it. But even those moments of brilliance were no guarantee of quality. Vander Meer did manage to pitch for 13 years in the big leagues — a better-than–average tenure. But when he retired, he had lost more gams than he had won.

How will Jonathan Sanchez fare in his next start? We will see.


2 comments for “Random Brilliance”

  1. good stuff Coach Mike
    as a baseball fanatic myself it seems that many no hitters have been thrown by mediocre pitchers while some of the games best have not tossed a gem. I remember tom Seaver throwning many low hit gamews but not sure if he evet pitched a no-no

    Posted by Kevin Reilly | July 12, 2009, 5:27 pm
  2. I stand corrected
    Tom Seaverdid pitch a no hitter
    but it was after leaving the NY METS while a memeber of the Cincinnati Reds

    Posted by Kevin Reilly | July 12, 2009, 5:29 pm

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