Monday, July 07, 2008

The Answer May Be in a Smile

Like so many other fans, I was totally disgusted with the manner in which the New York Mets fired manager Willie Randolph. First, speculating about it for so long in the media ("twisting in the wind") and then, rather than terminating him in New York, having Willie take the trip to California where he led the team to victory and then, firing him ... at 11PM Pacific Time (that's 2AM in New York). Can you imagine! We all know what should have been done – the corollary of what was done. There have been endless articles about it. There's not much more to say.

While I periodically disagreed with his managerial moves, I continue to wonder how much was Willie's fault - and the tone he set - and how much was the poor chemistry among the players which produced all the errors, poor pitching, lack of hitting, etc. Without being in the locker room, I will never know.

What I do know is that in photographs and interviews, this is a team (and I mean each and every one of them) that rarely smiles. It hit me about a week or so ago in the midst of all the "Willie tumult" when Carlos Beltrán hit a home run and broke out in a big grin as he cleared the bases. Previously, I never saw him do that. "Wow." I said to myself, "what a great smile!" And we know that David Wright and Jose Reyes have poster boy smiles. But poster boy or not, this generalization about not smiling applies to almost all of these guys. You rarely see them smiling when the camera is focusing on them during games (okay, I can understand that) - but not even in still photos in the print press - even when they win.

One can conclude that they may not be happy, that they are a downbeat bunch. Think of the impact an occasional smile would have on the fans and perhaps on the players themselves. It's an image advantage. It stimulates attendance. It's contagious. It changes attitudes toward oneself and each other. It possibly could have an effect on the team's won-loss record. The Mets need a shot in the arm ... or maybe a tickle!

After all, despite the ho-hum first half, the Mets are only 3 ½ games out of first place. They could turn it around in no time.

But I bet it's not going to happen without smiles.

Most of us believe that happiness is the result of a lot of things: good health, happy home life, a fat wallet, a World Series championship. But according to a study spearheaded by Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, people aren't happy because they are successful. They're successful because they are happy.

I've personally found that smiling forces optimism and confidence and that the latter two breed success. So how about it, guys?

Technorati Tags: New York Mets, Willie Randolph, Carlos Beltrán, David Wright, Jose Reyes, smile, happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky, University of California, success, business, communications, public relations


Blogger Robbin Goodman said...

It's a chicken and egg argument. They will smile when they win, as they did last night when they blew a 10-1 lead to win 10-9 and take 3 of 4 from Philadelphia, closing the gap to 2 1/2 games behind the leader. For me, a big issue is the big payroll -- many of these gentlemen are simply complacent. Some of the more exciting moments lately have come from the bench players who have been summoned to daily play because of injuries.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 8:54:00 AM  

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