Why You Never Give Away an At-Bat

Last night my Texas Rangers lost to the Minnesota Twins 13–6. I turned the game on during the 5th inning and saw my team was already trailing by 10 runs.


Ten runs is a huge amount in baseball. In fact, only a few times in baseball history has a team overcome a 10-run deficit to win the game. It would be very easy at that point to call it a night and start looking toward tomorrow if you were losing.

In baseball, maybe more than any other sport, great players know the importance of every single at-bat. It doesn’t matter if you’re up 10 or down 10, a great player won’t mail it in at the plate just to get through the inning. They’ll work the count and do everything they can to get a hit.

As former MLB National League MVP Keith Hernandez shared on the James Altucher Podcast, great players battle every at-bat.

“It’s very easy to give at-bats away. You’re 110–120 games into a season, it’s the last at-bat. Great players want that at-bat and to get a hit. Average players will mail it in. You never give up an at-bat.”

Keith Hernandez

Hernandez was taught at a young age that the difference between an average player and a great player is one extra hit per 100 at-bats.


Based on averages, only 30 hits per season separate a .250 hitter (average) and a .300 hitter (all-star).

The difference is that the .300 hitter never went up to the plate looking to mail it in — they always wanted to get one more hit.

Show Up Every Day

This example by Hernandez is a perfect illustration for the importance of showing up every day and doing your best. A batter’s season can change from average to great due to 5% of their 600 at-bats. One at-bat during the middle of the season — during the middle of a blowout win/loss — may not seem like much, but that 1 at-bat is massive over influencing your average. If you quit on one at-bat, you rob yourself of the chance to get closer to hitting .300.

Same goes with your career.

It’s easy to mail it in on a Friday. Or on the day before your vacation. Or heck, even the day after you get back from vacation. It’s easy to go half-way through the motions when you don’t feel motivated. It’s easy to do half of your reps in the gym and leave early.

That’s easy.

Rarely does doing the easy thing make you better. And neither does sticking to the easy, convenient path help you to excel and stand out.

Doing your best every day does.

What’s one difference between an average sales year and a great one? Picking up the phone and making calls every day, even if you don’t feel like.

What’s one difference between a promotion and being passed over yet again? Showing up every day with a positive attitude to do your best, even when it’s been a tumultuous year.

What’s one thing that sets you up for success in your career beyond just this year? You guessed it. Investing in your learning and growth while continually showing up every day.

  • It doesn’t matter the weather.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’re motivated.
  • It doesn’t matter if you hate your current role at work or not.

What matters is what type of attitude you show up to work with and what type of effort you put forth. What matters is not “mailing it in” on a day you could be using to get better.

(Hint: this is every day.)

A Competitor never “mails it in” on a work day, a training day, or another day they’re blessed with life! Because one day is crucial during a season of life. It can be the difference between (yet another) ho-hum average year — and a great one that hit their goal of “hitting .300” — be it in their career, their health, or their relationships.

Competitors never how they feel, how far they’re down, or what the score is cause them to give away an at-bat in work or life. They show up and do their best every time.

I help organizations cultivating a WINNING mindset to build an empowered team and win at work. If this sounds like a focus that your team members and company needs, I would love to discuss my workshops and keynote options to determine the best fit for your organization. Click here to start the conversation.

Chief Encouragement Officer for @CompeteEveryDay | Keynote Speaker | I teach people how to #Compete so they can win their work, workouts, & life.