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Nice People Do Finish First

Never kick a person when they’re down because they’ll stay down. Instead, do something to help them up. Whenever you interact with someone find a way to make them feel important, respected, and valued. Making a first impression is very important, but leaving a lasting impression may be even more valuable. To show you how it’s done, here’s some examples from Major League Baseball and how a handful of players and coaches go above and beyond and what we can learn from them. 1. Dusty Baker is a former player (and a really good one) and a highly respected and winning manager. When one of his players is going through a rough stretch, Dusty will call ahead to their most-loved restaurant and order their favorite dish. He personally brings order to them and lets them know he believes in them and that things will turn around. We could easily do the same thing, but maybe one a smaller scale. 2. Sean Casey finished his 12-year career with a .302 batting average—and that’s not easy to do. However, it’s his pure love of the game, enthusiasm, and ability to make everyone around him feel special that earned him two monikers. The first is, “The Mayor.” No matter which team he played for he made it a point to know everyone’s name from the groundskeepers to the clubhouse help. He was also called, "The Nicest Ballplayer There Ever Was or Will Be,” and for good reason. Here’s one example. A rookie player was called up from the minors and hit his first home run. Casey was cheering like crazy and made sure to get the ball back and had the opposing pitcher sign it. 3. Anthony Rizzo is a cancer survivor, and he goes out of his way to help others who are battling the disease and started the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. Having battled the disease gave him a different perspective on things which why he goes out of his way to give back. Roberto Clemente was maybe the most philanthropic Pirates player ever, but Andrew McCutchen is a close second. He works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Homeless Children’s Education Fund and the Light of Life Rescue Mission. We can all do a little something to help out others in need—even the smallest gesture is appreciated. 4. Full disclosure, Adam Jones comes from my hometown of San Diego and as a baseball coach myself I have heard stories of Adam Jones’s niceness. Here’s just one example. Jones wore hand-me-down clothes and borrowed baseball gear so when he went with his friend to the sporting goods store he was surprised when his friend’s father, Steve Ruiz told him to pick out what he needed and he would pay. Adam promised he would pay him back—and he has with his many charity programs that helps kids afford to play baseball. 5. When Mike Trout heard that someone from his old neighborhood (whom he didn’t know) had their home burn down just before Christmas and still he brought gifts for the whole family. What I always thought was the coolest thing any player ever did was play catch with kids between innings. We may not be famous baseball players who make millions of dollars a year, but we can do small acts of kindness that impact people’s lives.

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