Ubaldo Jimenez recently accomplished an amazing feat by throwing a no-hitter. While impressive, I find what happened the next day to be just as important and something all athletes might learn from.
It had to be a really quick night after all the hoopla of pitching the Colorado Rockies first ever no-no: dealing with the media, answering emails, etc. And on top of that, the Rockies had a day game following that night game in Atlanta.
But here's where things get interesting. What does Ubaldo do on the morning after such a lofty accomplishment? He wakes up at 6:30 am and runs six miles through the streets of Atlanta.
If ever a guy deserved to sleep in a little. This tells me Jimenez (like all the greats) is committed to "the process."
It's been said many times before, baseball is a game of failure. It's built into the game. If you base your enjoyment and self-worth on how well you do, you're in for one heck of a roller coaster ride.
And just like a roller coaster, it's fun once, but riding one over and over again will make you flat out sick.
Good players recognize and avoid this trap for the most part. They learn that lasting success and longevity come from trust in a process.
In other words, they evaluate a day on: how well they focused, did they get their work done, and was their routine crisp. Not did they throw a no-hitter or get four hits? Results come and go but a good process lasts.
Trust me, when it's all said and done, I'm all about whether you got it done or not. It's just that I recognize results are a by-product of a quality routine...not the other way around.
Obviously, Jimenez (and Halladay, and Lincecum, and Mauer, and every other great player) recognize the same thing.
Jimenez runs six miles the day after a start. Period. It's part of his process. He doesn't just do it after a win. He does it all the time. Then he probably plays long toss and lifts the next day, then a bullpen the next day, then something else the next day.
And that leads him into his next start. So it's all one big thing, it's a week long or season long routine, not just a win or loss. And it's not driven by results.
And that's why, as you were putting syrup on your pancakes in a downtown Atlanta cafe early the other morning, you may have seen Ubaldo Jimenez gliding by the window.
Till next time, good luck, have fun, and keep your eye on the ball...
Brent Mayne is a 15-year veteran of the Major Leagues. He ranks 75th in the history of baseball with 1,143 pro games caught, and his .993 career fielding percentage is 4th all-time. Brent is the author of the book "The Art of Catching"--a comprehensive guide to teaching and building defensive catching skills.