Image by Getty Images via @daylifeLast week, New York Yankee Mariano Rivera set a record with his 602nd career save. Of course, in baseball, it seems like there is a record for just about everything under the sun, and Rivera finally did get his day in the sun. You see, he has a thankless job. When Rivera comes in as the relief pitcher to close the game, he doesn’t get credit for the win – the starting pitcher does. The batters who scored the runs and made the hits get credit for the offense, and the outfielders that make spectacular catches and infielders that make the double plays get credit for the defense.
The relief pitcher has a very unique job. He has to maintain the lead, and the win.
In short, his job is to not screw up.
The relief pitcher is the closer. The strategy has been set and executed. The game has been played. It’s time to hold the course.
But not screwing up is never as easy as it seems. It can be very hard to stay the course. It’s hard to stay levelheaded under pressure. It’s hard to execute someone else’s strategy. It’s hard to resist the urge to change things.
Whether it’s sports, politics, or business, the new leader coming in when the team is already ahead has perhaps one of the toughest roads ahead of them – to not screw up.