Leadership Lessons Learned from Game 6 of the World Series

If you know me, you know I’m a huge Tampa Bay Rays fan. We have been watching Rays baseball every night for a long time (even when we were living in Mexico City), and this year’s playoff run has been a highlight of a crazy 2020. 

In case you don’t know, the Rays played the Dodgers in the World Series. After an emotional back and forth series, the Rays had their backs against the wall in Game 6. 

They put Blake Snell on the mound, who had an incredible Game 2 performance, and he was on fire in Game 6. He had 9 strikeouts in 5 innings and had only given up one hit. 

Then the second Dodgers’ hit in the 6th inning caused Kevin Cash to come out and take out the 2018 AL Cy Young Award Winner. The Dodgers went on to score 2 runs that inning off of the Rays bullpen and ultimately won the game and the championship.

Kevin Cash’s decision was not very welcomed by Snell, the fans, or much of social media. As I ponder the entire situation, I think there are at least three leadership lessons to be learned from this series of events:


3 Leadership Lessons Learned in Game 6 of the World Series:

LESSON 1: Everyone wants to give their opinion on your performance.

We live in a society where every single person is happy to share their opinion. We are encouraged to talk about it all over social media. Twitter lights up with commentary on all sorts of things, from what people wear to what they say. Leaders understand that everyone will have an opinion on their performance, yet they don’t let that dissuade them from taking action. I’m convinced that Kevin Cash knew that taking out your ace in the 6th inning would be critiqued for ages by baseball commentators and fans alike. Criticism is part of leadership. Get ready.

 LESSON 2: Sometimes what gets you where you are doesn’t take you where you want to go.

The Rays have depended on their bullpen this season. They have been stellar, with so many guys who can step up and shut down a team. It is no wonder Cash thought that the bullpen would carry them through in this game as well. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Sometimes, as a leader, you have to evaluate the current situation and make adjustments to your typical strategy. What you’ve done in the past doesn’t always work out in your favor again. It’s a fine line between second guessing, going with your gut, and sticking to the plan. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Good leadership understands that and is willing to take the risks associated with each one of those decisions.

LESSON 3: Tomorrow is another day.

Sure, the agony of defeat stings for a few days. We were so close. It was such a fun season. The regular season, big playoff series victories against the Yankees and Astros just to make it to an incredibly entertaining World Series—all of those things will remain in our minds for a while. The bad taste in our mouth from this World Series loss will hopefully just make the Rays more hungry to win next year. In leadership, you cannot dwell on your past losses or even successes. You have to realize that it’s a new day with new opportunities and possibilities.

While I’m sad my team lost last night, I know they will take the lessons they learned and put them towards winning tomorrow. After all, there are only 114 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.