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A filthy, nasty change-up

June 25, 2014

It puzzles me how I sometimes can’t remember something that happened last week, but retain a vivid recollection of an event from 40 years ago. Here’s one of them. I “dug in” to the batter’s box during tryouts for “Babe Ruth League.” That’s when 13 year olds used to playing against 10 and 11 year olds now face kids up to 15. Everything was different, starting with the diamond itself. The distance between bases increased from 60 feet to 90. A home run trot would require a poke of over 320 feet, when a mere 200 foot fly would let you “touch ‘em all” in Little League. One seeming advantage for a young hitter entering the bigger diamond is an extra 14.6 feet to react to a pitched ball. It wasn’t. My first experience opened my eyes to faster fastballs, knee-buckling curveballs that looked headed for my head, but swooped down over the plate. They were bad, but the most confounding pitch for me was the “change-up.” They call it the change up – for a reason. From the batter’s perspective, it looks like a fastball is coming, but the pitcher’s grip on the baseball results in a much slower speed, and for me, an embarrassing early swing and miss. I remember it seemed unfair. At the professional level, change-ups sometimes come with significant movement downward, and left or right. Pedro Martinez was known for his “filthy” changeup that broke down and away from left-handed hitters. Yep. Unfair.

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Pedro2

Just as I was unsettled by change as a 13 year old, change really doesn’t get any easier as adults unless we plan for it. I’ve written a bit about change management here, and these 10 Myths About Change Management provide insights on how not managing change can derail any kind of project. For the implementation or upgrade of a Kronos workforce management system, managing the change for end-users is a key to success, and we’ve got some great people that can help.

Back in the batter’s box, I learned to stay on my toes, and be open to any possibility. As Pedro occasionally served it up, change can be nasty, too. Better be prepared.

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