Brag

Back to back Pennants, now a World Series crown – you would think everyone is after the Royal formula. It would make sense that Assistant General Manage J.J. Picollo would be a trendy choice for a perennial loser’s GM opening…

But, so far, it has not led to offers, and here’s a theory: People around baseball are not blown away by the Royals’ turnaround. People are still thinking about Moneyball.
  – Joe Posnanski (“Buckonomics” – a splendid article that you should probably read rather than mine! Picollo has only had one interview. With the Phillies, the team he grew up cheering, where his family still lives… he didn’t get a second interview.)

The Baseball world has been modeling itself after the Oakland Athletics. It never hurts to have a best seller written about your strategy. Nor does it hurt to have Brad Pitt play you in a movie. And the team has real success in the Regular Season. They have made the playoffs eight times in the last sixteen years.

Yet Moneyball has not bought playoff success. In their eight trips to the playoffs Oakland has a record of 15-23. They won only one Divisional series, then were promptly swept in the Championship series. Hence no pennants. Much less a World Series Crown.

The Royals are a smaller market. A franchise that missed the playoffs for 29 years. They had only one winning season in the 19 years before the turn around. This is the definition of inept. The 2014 Pennant could have been a fluke. But now… world beaters. Why are folks not chasing the strategy?

“But the Royals — particularly general manager Dayton Moore and assistant general manager J.J. Picollo — do not know how to self-congratulate. It just isn’t in their nature. There are some big talkers in baseball like in every other business, some self-promoters, some blowhards … and like in every other business, baseball blowhards often move up or get too much credit because arrogance can come off as conviction and bluster came come off as innovation. It’s like the saying goes: Sometimes to be a star all you have to do is tell people you are one.”
  – Joe Posnanski (As I wrote, his article is better than mine!)

I have found that last line – “to be a star” – so true. Our recognized successes are rarely based in numbers, but perception.

Of course a failure probably can not brag their way to success. But a success can brag their way into becoming epic. The same success, through silence, could be forgotten.

Of course everyone wants success. But I think we often pursue the appearance of success – the story, program, tool others brag about – as the goal. But in pursuing all these “wordy” successes – the right program at church, the best music, the deepest small groups… splendid things others brag about – we can miss the real goal. In our case we are not after the World Series, but a Christ Following Community. For our church we follow Christ’s lead. Perception doesn’t matter; we are after His purpose.

The best line from Posnanski’s article wasn’t written by himself. Instead he quoted the Royals GM:

“I hear people ask, ‘Do you think people will copy the Royals’ style?’ I don’t think that at all. This works for us, in our ballpark, with our fans, with our history. It’s different everywhere. I don’t think you can be successful at this game trying to copy somebody else. You have to be yourself.”
  – Dayton Moore, Quoted by J.P.

For Chandler, we sit reading the scriptures. We meditate in prayer. We focus our hearts on Him. We don’t seek His will for someone else – there is no judgment. Instead we open ourselves to His calling in our life. And little by little we do. Step by step we act. We leave the spotlight to others… that we may rest in His light. We seek to be His love in this place. His sacrifice for this community. In this – whatever is said or not said – we will have His victory.

…Of course we would not refuse Brad Pitt acting as us in an epic tale about a small church…

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