The latest batch of ex-player managers have some great material for motivational speeches
During the 162-game stretch from April to October that comprises the regular season of Major League Baseball, motivation waxes and wanes. Whether on account of a long road trip away from family or sore muscles from playing baseball six days a week, a manager will likely have to provide some additional motivation to make sure his team is at its best.
Fortunately for the Phillies, Nationals, Mets, Yankees and Red Sox, they've hired former players to manage their teams in 2018 -- and they should have just the right personal stories that, properly deployed, could motivate any Major League clubhouse.
Aaron Boone, Yankees
Boone won't have to dig too deep to find a moment to call on when the Yankees need a boost. In the 2003 ALCS, Boone came up to the plate in the biggest moment of his career and made Yankees history. Pinch-hitting to lead off the 11th inning of Game 7 against the Red Sox, Boone sent the Yankees to the World Series with one swing:
When the Yankees face a big moment with their season on the line, you can be sure Boone will have them fired up by relating to them not only how he came up big under pressure, but also cemented his name in Yankees history.
Mickey Callaway, Mets
In 2002, Callaway found himself pitching for the Salt Lake Stingers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels. With a rotation of four veterans -- Aaron Sele, Ramon Ortiz, Jarrod Washburn and Kevin Appier -- plus a 23-year old John Lackey, there just wasn't room for the 27-year-old Callaway, who was plugging away with a 1.68 ERA in Salt Lake.
However, when Sele experienced a shoulder injury in mid-August, Callaway was ready for the call. The Angels won five of his six starts, and Callaway pitched to a respectable 4.21 ERA.
Callaway should have no problem motivating a player who might be frustrated over a bench or mop-up role. If that player, like his manager before him, makes sure he's ready when his time comes, he may well get a World Series ring like Callaway did with the Angels in 2002.
Dave Martinez, Nationals
Martinez was traded five times over the course of his 16-year career, three of which came in a two-and-a-half month span from May 12 to Aug. 4, 2000. On May 12, he was dealt from the Devil Rays to the Cubs. Less than a month later, the Cubs sent him to the Rangers, where he remained until they traded him to the Blue Jays on August 4.
Even after those turbulent months of moving all around the United States and Canada, Martinez didn't miss a beat: In his two months with the Blue Jays, he hit .311/.393/.411 and didn't appear to be at all worn out from his extensive travels. Don't try to tell Martinez the grind of the season is too much, because hearing about his grueling 2000 season will make it feel like nothing at all.
Gabe Kapler, Phillies
As a member of the 2004 Red Sox team that came back from being down, 3-0, in the American League Championship Series to eventually win the franchise's first World Series since 1918, Kapler probably has motivational stories in spades for when things look bleak.
But, he may also focus on how he -- a backup outfielder already with his fourth organization -- was on the field for the final out of that World Series. Here he is retiring Scott Rolen for the first out of that fateful final frame:
If there was a role for a 28-year-old journeyman fourth outfielder on a legendary World Series team, there'll be a chance for every player on his Phillies teams to contribute. His stories of how every player up and down the roster could be involved in a huge moment should help inspire players experiencing a mid-summer malaise.
Alex Cora, Red Sox
When it comes to inspiring players to persevere through the regular season, there may be no manager better positioned than Cora. Throughout his career, Cora seemed to have a knack for finding his way into lengthy encounters, whether a game or a single at-bat.
He played in two of the longest nine-inning games in baseball history. As a member of the Dodgers in 2001, Cora came on as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning of a nine-inning game that lasted for 4 hours, 27 minutes on Oct. 5. On Aug. 18, 2006, Cora outdid himself: He started at shortstop for the Red Sox in a 4-hour, 45-minute game against the Yankees.
But perhaps the greatest feat of endurance in Cora's career came on May 12, 2004. Facing off against Cubs pitcher Matt Clement, Cora fouled off 14 consecutive pitches as part of an 18-pitch at-bat. And, he capped all that swinging off with a home run on the 18th pitch.
Tired during the dog days of summer? Don't give Cora that. Try hitting a dinger on your 15th swing or playing a nearly 5-hour game, then talk about fatigue.