What Is Greatness?

By Jonathan Massey – 


I think greatness is something that is universal. We all want to be great. Some of us want to be great employees, managers, leaders, or bosses. Some of us want to be great parents, spouses, siblings, friends, family members, sons, or daughters. Some of us want to be great baseball players. 


I think most of us would like to be great in multiple areas of our lives. 


I also believe that achieving greatness is something that is often misconstrued because people don’t understand what being great really is. The best definition of greatness I’ve ever heard comes from Andy McKay, a coach with the Seattle Mariners:


I really like the way Andy phrased it because it truly describes the two most important things it takes to be great.


First, you must be consistently good. The first fallacy I see players believe is that great players are great… all the time. The truth is, most are simply good on a regular basis. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Clayton Kershaw are probably the greatest pitchers of my generation, yet none of them would throw nine shutout innings every single time they pitched. In their primes, you could count on them to throw six to seven innings, have one to two earned runs, and you could expect that for 24 of their 33 starts during the season. They were just good on a regular basis. So, the first step to being great is understanding that you have to be good regularly. 


Second part is a “long period of time.” I know when I was playing, I would ride the emotional roller coaster often. I’d pitch well and “ride the high” … and then if I gave up four runs in the first, my whole season would be ruined. So often when we judge ourselves, we have recency bias (only looking at what we have done recently), but the reality is that one good start or one bad start doesn’t make or break a season. One bad season or one good season doesn’t make or break a career. It’s about what you do over the long haul that matters. 


I’ll leave you guys with one of my favorite “Wolforthisms” (what I call Coach Wolforth’s life quotes): 


“Whether you were the best kid in the tournament or the worst kid in the tournament, show up Monday morning ready to work.”


I love this quote because, to me, it really goes hand in hand with Andy’s definition of greatness. How do you be consistently and predictably good? You show up every single day ready to work and get better. You don’t dwell on your past successes or failures. You are simply always trying to improve. 


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Important TBR Updates


  • There are still a couple spots available for our Final Winter Elite Pitchers Boot Camp next weekend February 17-19, 2024 (final camp until May). You can visit our website to learn more and register.


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