Say less.

With that smirk of “lemme let you in on something oh yeah there’s a camera rolling well still lemme let you in on something” self-assuredness, he proclaimed that the fans in Texas who will boo him are the ones who don’t get it.

Then he booed the fans.

Don’t know which category I fit neatly into as far as he’s concerned, since I’ll be silent when he comes up to bat, and since I don’t care.

Whatever.  Consider how ridiculous it is to let “Hey guys it’s me – it’s gonna be something weird” define you as a baseball fan, or judge this baseball community.  All that was missing was a snappy “What am I in this for?

He’s deciding who “gets it.”

Mm hmm.

The thing that irritates me most about the CBS 11 interview Sunday night is that I spent this much space commenting on it.

Earlier that day I was in the middle of cleaning out a bunch of old stuff at the house, and found a letter I’d received 27 years ago.  It was from the person who (outside of my family) had the greatest impact on me, until then or since, and in it she said some things that I wouldn’t ever forget.

They were the last words she shared with me before she died, five weeks later.

She was one of those people who led by example, who motivated by letting go of the reins, who empowered by setting expectations unimaginably high.

The best teachers and coaches go about it all kinds of different ways, but the truly great ones, I’m convinced, have this in common:  They push.  We may not always like it.  But they push.  Push us to do more than what we believe we can do, and to take what we know we can do and do it better.

And then they let go.

There’s the X’s and O’s and The Chicago Manual of Style, and all that stuff’s important, but when we’re coached to trust the process and each other and ourselves, to not only play the game but to play it right, that’s when something really cool has a chance to surface.

Integrity doesn’t always fill the box score, but it lasts.

In my head this was going to be a feed-in to Ron Washington telling his club Saturday morning before their first full workout: “The handcuffs are off.  The ankle chains are off.  Let’s see what you can do.”  It was evidently a baserunning edict for 2013, but I think more than that, too.

I thought about what Wash said as I was reading that 1986 letter on Sunday.

I thought less about Wash’s comment Sunday night, as I watched the Angels outfielder wink at the camera.  I thought about respect.  Reliability.

Integrity.

And how saying less is almost never a bad idea.

(Suggests the blogger who’s sure to be 0 for 2 after this one.)

Judy would have turned 82 this Saturday.  She wasn’t much of a baseball fan, but I’m pretty sure she still would’ve been drawn to Elvis, would’ve instantly recognized Adrian’s artistry, would’ve loved everything about Jurickson.

Thing is, she would have loved everything about the Angels newest outfielder, too, even the things she’d have cringed at a little.  Her patience was as stout as her genius.

She also would have expected more from him.

She would have expected more from me, too, if she saw me roll out a snarky line about urging you to set aside your excitement about the NFL Scouting Combine – one sleep! – long enough to read Professor Parks’s tasty review of the Rangers’ top 10 prospects for Baseball Prospectus, published minutes ago.

She’d have preferred that I exercise a little more restraint.  Maybe with some understated reference to Wednesday being both the start of the Combine and Profar’s 20th birthday, or a simple recommendation that you read this (now), a minimalist approach that I shun too readily, just about every time.

I look back at the Plan II thesis I wrote over 20 years ago (and dedicated to her), and the first few Bound Editions from over 10 years ago, and know that while I still have a long way to go, there’s been some small amount of progress.

I’m still learning from Judy.

There are people who move on and you never forget.

There are others who just move on, making it progressively easier every time they speak for us to do the same.  All of us.  Those who get it and those who don’t and those who pledge silence.

He’s who he is, and that’s very unlikely to change.

We are who we are, and our mistake would be to care what he thinks about that.

The manager addressed the players on Saturday, and challenged them.  Let’s see what you can do.

He gets it.

In one direction the expectations have been ratcheted up.

In the other?

Forget it.  I’ve already said too much.

I’m choosing silence, and planning this time to stick to it.

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