The Right Team
Jose Bautista joked that he led for foul balls.
And then he landed on the Blue Jays’ doorstep.
Jays’ manager Cito Gaston saw something in him.
And Jays’ batting coach Dwayne Murphy pointed out how to fix his swing.
And then he hit 54 home runs in 2010.
And then his 2010 record was called a fluke.
And then he found himself doing better in 2011–and being called one of the best players in baseball.
Read Joe Posnanski’s Sports Illustrated article titled “Do you believe in Jose Bautista?” This sticks out in the article:
“Everybody had always told me I was late swinging the bat,” Bautista says. “Well, I knew that. But they didn’t really tell me what to do about it. Or anyway, I didn’t get the message, you know?”
“We just had to get him on time,” Gaston says. “That was the biggest thing with Jose.”
Murphy and Bautista changed the mechanics of his swing. “He had that natural bat speed,” Murphy says. “He was a natural pull hitter. But he didn’t know how to pull the ball. I told him that with that bat speed he should destroy inside fastballs.”
It didn’t click right away. Then heading into another game, a team mate offered advice:
“You know what you should do,” [Vernon] Wells said. “Think about starting as early as you can possibly imagine, so early that it seems ridiculous. And then start even earlier than that. What do you have to lose? If you look like a fool, you look like a fool. It’s just one game.”
Bautista took Wells’ advice.
Bautista always had the talent and the work ethic. That wasn’t enough. He needed help getting to the next level.
Quite a few teams passed on helping him. Instead, trading him to another team.
And then he landed in a place with leaders who could see the talent — and who were willing to do something to pull it out.
Some players go straight to the big leagues, and the team is ready to support them right away. Others start out slower–with equal, if not more, talent–but need a little help to blow out their stats.
In publishing, it makes sense for publishers to work with authors falling into both categories. Go in it for the long haul. Nurture and encourage the authors–and no matter what, don’t trade talent for any amount of money. Can you imagine if the Red Sox had held onto Babe Ruth?
And teach them about the business so that they have an understanding of everything that’s going down. Develop long-term programs to keep amazing talents in one place, instead of constantly worrying about them jumping ship, from Cleveland to Miami…
And for the authors, share your ideas, but listen, too. Bautista listened when he was with the right team. And that’s hard for some authors. They’ve been on the wrong team for so long–or they’ve listened to too many horror stories from other authors–that when they hit the right team, there’s a lack of trust. They don’t recognize that people are trying to help them, to do the right thing.
Find the right team and/or team members.
Lead the season in home runs.