How to Make Decisions in The Heat of Battle

Published on June 3, 2012

Friday night Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter for the New York Mets in the 51 year history of the club.  Santana, the Mets Ace, was out all of last year recuperating from arm surgery.

During this gem of a game, Santana’s pitch count was rising.  Normally, a manager does not want to see a pitcher throw more then 110-120 pitches per game.  In the eighth inning Manager Terry Collins visited the mound as Santana was well over 100 pitches.  He wanted to make sure Santana was okay.

The predicament Collins faced was does he leave Santana in to pitch a no-hitter risking the pitcher’s long-term health?  Does he take the risk to let the pitcher ride the moment because it was important to the fans, players and management of a beleaguered ball club?  Or, does he pull the pitcher and save him for the season and not risk potential long-term injury?  This was the classic decision of whom do you look out for?  The positive short term impact on the  various constituencies or the long term  success of the organization as a whole.

How would you like to be in this situation and forced to make that decision?  At times like this, there is no place for a leader to hide.  You just have to do whatever you can to assure you are making the best decision.

Collins decided to let Santana finish the game.  After 135 pitches, Santana throws the no-hitter and everyone is celebrating.  The next day, Collins is still fright with worry if he made the right decision.  Time will only tell.  In fact, Collins was already implementing a back up plan to give Johan Santana an extra day or two off before his next start to recuperate from this experience.

In my opinion, Collins made the right move.  The reason I say that is he only made the decision after he thought through all the pros and cons and talked to all concerned parties.  Once you do that and then make the decision, at least you took all issues into account.  What scares me is when people make decisions without thinking about all the ramifications and impacts.

In the heat of battle, decisions need to be made and sometimes made fast.  However, don’t let your emotions guide your decision.  Like Terry, look at all of the issues and then go with your gut.  Time will dictate the outcome.

And, always have a back-up plan just in case!

Today Santana is the talk of the town and Collins made the right decision, for now!