The Sixth Inning: A strong bullpen is key

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Today is the sixth inning of The Porch’s baseball series at the start of the 2016 season. Today, we look at the important concept of “A strong bullpen is key”. So, here is the full line-up for the series:

· First Inning: Everyone has a chance!

· Second Inning: Patient pondering, then frantic action!

· Third Inning: The aggressive team is often the winning team

· Fourth Inning: If you can hit….

· Fifth Inning: Many singles are better than one solo home run

· Sixth Inning: A strong bullpen is key

· Seventh Inning: Time to stretch

· Eighth Inning: Rally time!

· Ninth Inning: “It ain’t over till it’s over”

In baseball, the bullpen is the group of “back-up” pitchers that provide relief for the starting pitcher when needed. Why is this group of pitchers called the bullpen? One of the more likely theories goes like this: In the 1800s, a few innings after a game started, fans could get tickets at the box office for a big discount. But cheap tickets came with a, er, catch: you had to stand in a roped-off area off to the side of the field in foul territory. So the fans were treated a bit like cattle in a pen. When this area became the spot where pitchers warmed up, once relievers became part of the game, the name stuck.

Having a designated group of “back-up” pitchers is important in baseball to ensure that you always have a fresh pitcher throughout the game to give yourself the best chance of winning. When your starting pitcher weakens (or tires, or loses effectiveness, or becomes injured), you bring a fresh pitcher into the game. Thus, remain as strong as possible with a strong pitcher in the game. The bullpen pitchers actually finish the game most of the time and the team’s final pitcher is often called the closer.

Similarly, we need to maintain a strong bullpen in our own life or work operations. Having individuals that can pick you up when you become weak, or hurt, or ineffective helps ensure that we stay on pace and on target. Here are some example of having or developing a strong bullpen:

· For leaders, one of our primary responsibilities is to create more leaders that can carry on when we are not present or available

· Having friends that can lift us up when we experience struggles in our life

· Ensuring that every critical function or activity in our work is backed up by individuals that are trained and ready to carry the ball

· Knowing that you aren’t alone when you get that life-changing phone call

· Having redundancy in our operations or on our teams to ensure that critical issues do not shut us down

· Identifying and developing our own backfill (this also helps ensure that we don’t miss on promotional opportunities because there is no backfill for us)

· Serving as that bullpen ace to back-up your own teammate, a friend, or a family member when they need you most

A strong bullpen is often what differentiates a winning baseball team from a mediocre one. Similarly, have our own strong bullpen can make the difference between heavy burdens that we carry alone or that light load shared by many.

Have a great day and thanks for making a difference.

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