We’ve all heard that long old cliché, “take it one day at a time.” Heck, in 2017, a sitcom of the same name premiered on Netflix and then subsequently on POP (never watched an episode). It’s a mindset that the Rangers are taking and rolling with it in 2021. On Monday, Texas snapped a six-game losing streak with a win against the Yankees. The victory defied a lot of odds entering Monday. The Rangers struggled in series openers, Jordan Lyles came into Monday with two so-so starts, the club lost six straight, and they were up against Gerrit Cole.
28,040 saw Jordan Lyles pitch longer than Gerrit Cole. #StraightUpTX
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) May 18, 2021
That specific mentality starts at the top with General Manager Chris Young. “It’s one of my fundamental beliefs,” Chris told me Monday. “Simplifying complex issues and breaking it down to its most simple form.” Young utilized a mindset throughout his seventeen professional baseball seasons and is passing it down through the organization. “It’s really important that as an organization, we continue to do that as well. If you look at things in their totality, it can be overwhelming.” That said, it’s not an easy task to maintain every single game.
“It takes practice,” Nick Solak told me Sunday. “The challenge and goal every day is to approach each day as a new day and each game as a new game.”
How does that message convey from Chris Young to the players every day? Isiah Kiner-Falefa says it’s also relayed from veterans like Brock Holt and Charlie Culberson. “A lot of our veteran guys, Charlie and Brock, have been so big on that, their impact of just today, worrying about today and not worrying about the future,” Isiah Kiner-Falefa told me. “That mentality they instill is helping us a lot.” I first noticed the mentality after the incredible Rangers win against the Mariners. In asking Isiah about that game the following day, the takeaway was about re-energizing and preparing for that day’s game and not getting overzealous on a fantastic victory. It’s a good technique that not only helps when you’re struggling to win ballgames but keeps you in check when things are going well.
I’d say the catch of the night goes to @HipHipJose5. A vertical leap pulling out of the crouch. @Rangers #StraightUpTX pic.twitter.com/XNPLV5N1IT
— Alex Plinck 🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) May 18, 2021
For Joey Gallo, keeping that one day at a time attitude can be strenuous, but it’s a part of a conventional baseball season. “It’s staying with the process,” Gallo told me after Saturday’s game. “It’s 162 games; it happens. You lose eight straight, nine straight, and sometimes you’ll go on a streak like 8-3. That’s how baseball goes. It’s a part of the season.” Joey pointed out that the club was in every single game, but one, during the six-game skid, “We came up short, and the other team beat us, that’s why they’re getting paid as well,” Joey said.
Look, people get annoyed at clichés. I do too. In this day in age, pressures of the future and past are everywhere. For a ball club learning how to win, sometimes a good cliché is the way to go, and as Chris Young said, keep it simplistic. “In the end, it’s about making one good play after one good play and if we can simplify it, break it down to that, concentrate, and focus on what we can control and go out and know that it is one day at a time and one pitch at a time, I’ll take our chances,” Chris Young told me. It’s a mindset that anyone can apply, not just athletes. Even Disney’s best, and a childhood show of mine, Corey in the House, had a song similar to that platitude.
I ask you if you’re reading this to try that mindset in your everyday life, especially on Mental Health Awareness Month. Take a deep breath, and don’t agonize about tomorrow or brood over yesterday. Take today and run with it. It’s an aspect that I, myself, am trying to affix in my mind. I think Nick Solak said it best, “Today is a new day, you forget what happened, and don’t look forward to what’s going to happen. Be in the present moment of trying to win the game today.” Think of “the game” as life, and trust me, we all can win.
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