If you are part of any sort of a group, like a sales department, a military unit, a church staff, or a sports team, you try your best to work together to achieve the group’s goals. Even within your own family you probably have some division of labor and shared responsibilities. After all, there’s no “I” in “Team.” But sometimes we need one.
There will be times when one person needs to step up and take charge. One person who needs to say, “I got this,” when everyone else is stuck in neutral. And that one person needs to act decisively before the opportunity for success disappears. This is a lesson the San Diego Padres learned the hard way on Saturday.
The Padres were in a tenth inning 0-0 tie with the defending world champion Houston Astros. The Astros’ third baseman Alex Bregman was at the plate and popped the ball straight up. San Diego’s infielders had plenty of time to get under it and make the out. But this is when the teammates failed to communicate and literally dropped the ball.
Either pitcher Robbie Erlin or catcher A.J. Ellis should have and could have made the play. Easily. They were the Padres closest to the descending popup. However, it was San Diego’s first baseman, Eric Hosmer, who came running in to attempt the catch. Unfortunately, he was in such a rush that he overran the spot where the ball ultimately fell, allowing the Astros’ Derek Fisher to score from second base, giving Houston the bizarre 1-0 win. Eric Hosmer’s body language says it all.
At the moment when Alex Bregman hit the ball straight up into the air, one Padres player should have clearly stated that he was taking charge of the situation. Instead, a few of them stood there, watched, and waited for what might happen until it was too late. Yes, ball clubs and companies and families need to work together, but there are times when it’s absolutely appropriate, and even essential, for one person to be the “I” in “Team.”