AWSI: More Proof Points on ‘What’s Essential’ …


It’s the pull quote everyone who knows of “The Little Prince” gravitates towards:

What’s essential is invisible to the eye…

For sure, this is a good one that can be interpreted a number of ways depending on the context. For our post, we are going to take you on a little adventure that covers discoveries we made that tie together two different sports and Maslow. Please read on to see how the connections were made.

First Stop — The Businessman in “The Little Prince”

In his wanderings the Little Prince struck up a conversation with a very (VERY) busy and serious businessman about the stars:

“Yes, that is true,” said the Little Prince. “And what will you do with them [stars]?”

“I administer them,” replied the businessman. “I count them and recount them. It is difficult. But I am a man who is naturally interested in matters of consequence.”

“If I owned a silk scarf,” he said, “I could put it around my neck and take it away with me. If I owned a flower, I could pluck that flower and take it away with me. But you cannot pluck the stars from heaven . . .”

“No. But I can put them in the bank.”

“Whatever does that mean?”

“That means that I write the number of my stars on a little paper. And then I put this paper in a drawer and lock it with a key.”

“And that is all?”

“That is enough,” said the businessman.

So hold onto that. This businessman’s focus is on matters of consequence and numbers that he locks away in a drawer. Essential?? Read on…

For both of those guys, I felt strongly about their character, both on the field and off. It’s hard to put certain specifics on what you’re looking for other than your ability to foresee what a guy will be. I don’t know if analytics, height, weight, speed can judge that.”

That quote appeared in a Sports Illustrated article about Khalil Mack (cover story in the MMQB issue), where Reggie McKenzie, GM of the Oakland Raiders spoke about finding both Khalil Mack and Derek Carr by looking away from the Power 5 schools (University of Buffalo and Fresno State respectively).

Khalil Mack SI MMQB

And what kind of guy WOULD Mack be?

In Mack’s words:

Here’s the thing about going to a small school versus going to a big school. There are still opportunities, and you’ve got to make the most of them. Whether it was against Ohio State or Miami [Ohio], I was going to make the most of that opportunity.”

Another interesting part of this article was the Maslow “hierarchy of needs” reference that mentioned how Mack has vaulted beyond basic and psychological needs and is on the path to self-actualization.


And speaking of psychology, perhaps the writer of the SI story was inspired when he was told by Mack that his favorite class was Psych 431, an upper-level course for psychology majors that explores how the body responds to psychological processes.


They talked about the value of a challenge versus a threat. When you go into a test prepared, you feel like it’s a challenge, and you can do it with confidence. When you’re not prepared, you go into the test thinking you’re going to fail, and the stress goes to your stomach, and you actually do fail because of that.

We like challenges. How about you??

[BTW. On Sunday his relentlessness paid off and he registered his first sack of the season (other teams have been keying on him, but he kept at it). Inspiring for sure!]

In the draft room, we will always spend more than half the time talking about the person rather than the player… What are their backgrounds, their psyches, their habits, and what makes them tick?”

“And we would ask our scouts to provide three detailed examples of how these young players faced adversity on the field and responded to it, and three examples of how they faced adversity off the field. Because baseball is built on failure. The old expression is that even the best hitter fails seven out of 10 times.”

Thus said Theo Epstein who became the Cubs’ president of baseball operations in 2011 after nine seasons as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox.

Theo Epstein NY TImes

Under Epstein, the Cubs have gone from bottom-dwellers to World Series favorites. They lost 101 games in Epstein’s first season, but this year, won 101 games with five games left to play.

We read the Sunday Times piece about Epstein and it made us a fan all over again. Heck, we already “heart” Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, who had this to say about Epstein:

“He really does listen to the human side of all this — it’s not just numbers, by any means. He gets it that there’s a balance between the sabermetric world and the real world. These are human beings and not computers.”

[Note: Google “Sabermetric” and you find this with Theo Epstein’s picture and a caption: “Theo Epstein, general manager of the Boston Red Sox, has embraced sabermetrics, hiring Bill James as a consultant.” ]

We liked the close of the piece, where Epstein remarked that no matter what happens in October, “this is more of a beginning than an end.”

Regarding the Cubs opportunity, he said:

I saw it as a chance to recreate what I experienced once before [he said without mentioning the Red Sox]. A chance to do it again for another city that really deserves it. There was something pure about that.

Also this:

It is a wonderful chance to do something meaningful… [Theo Epstein paused ever so briefly, then added] Again.”

Cool beans, right? And there’s more…

#SCMF — Big Papi and Theo

We did some digging to confirm what we heard from former Boston Red Sox pitcher, Pedro Martinez about David “Big Papi” Ortiz who was playing his last regular season game for the Sox having announced his retirement.

David Ortiz ESPN

In a nutshell, Big Papi had hit a low point, being released by the Cleveland Indians in 2002. Pedro heard, pulled out his phone and made the call to Theo to get a favor — sign Ortiz.

And they did — the Red Sox signed David Ortiz to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.

The rest is, as they say, history. Check out the Players Tribune write-up if you want to learn more, like why Pedro was so insistent…

Big guys never have the hand speed to turn on a pitch like that. I throw the inside cutter to big guys every single time. You’re the only one who’s ever hit a home run off that pitch. You’re coming with me to Boston, homie. — Pedro Martinez

Let’s circle back to Maslow — What we can be, we must be…
[10-minutes from Brian Johnson is well worth it!]

Some cool notable quotables:



That’s a Wrap!

We feel that proactively seeking the story behind the story (in your #SCMF wanderings), will unveil many unique and enlightening “invisible to the eyes” possibilities. They are like hidden treasures that are energizing in a way. We encourage you to enjoy the process! And, please let us know what you find.


—The Gang

Bonus Content

In case you missed it, here’s a funny ad featuring the retiring David “Big Papi” Ortiz.

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