Ignore A Major League Mistake, And You'll Strike Out Every Time

An early-season baseball game, an unfortunate sunflower-seed-throwing incident, and leadership lessons for every company for every day.

Are you a company executive, leader, manager, or perhaps even in the lofty "C" suite? Now that I have your attention, listen to me. I will try to make this as clear as I possibly can for you:

You can no longer "sweep things under the rug" and keep them "in house" or "internal." Those areas no longer exist in your company. They are gone. For good.

Case in point: At a recent Houston Astros and Oakland A’s baseball game in Houston’s Minute Maid Park, Oakland A player Josh Reddick threw a handful of sunflower seeds into the face of an Astros employee while she was doing her job—throwing T-shirts and prizes to the crowd from the top of the dugout. A job she does solely because of her love for her home team and the game of baseball.

This Houston Astros employee and baseball fan sent a letter to the Oakland A's Director of PR Bob Rose and asked for an apology from Reddick. All she received was the assurance that it would be "handled internally" and not a word from Reddick or an apology from anyone with the Oakland A’s.

Fast-forward a few days later. I am sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room for an annual checkup. Running late as doctors do, we patients are left to either entertain ourselves or talk to each other. As the conversation jumps around, the subject of companies who ignore customers and problems becomes a topic of discussion. That is when one woman tells the story of her daughter and a recent incident at a baseball game, pulling out a rough draft of the letter her daughter wrote to officials with both teams.

Please take the time to read the draft of her very well written letter.

So, company executives, leaders, managers, and baseball teams—you would be well served to realize that everyone has a voice now and you never know where the story will journey. When you do try to keep "incidents" in the team locker, they will find a way to home plate whether you authorized it or not.

Update: Reddick tweeted today that he had no idea the Astro employee wanted an apology. If he had, he would've "happily given one."

[Image: Flickr user Paolo Gamba]

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13 Comments

  • Guest

    Dayna,

     

    It is also important to point out to our Houston based company
    executives, leaders, managers, and baseball teams that safety is of the utmost
    importance. When you have employees running back and forth atop a dugout it is
    very dangerous when foreign objects are thrown in their path; which could cause
    them to slip or fall. Imagine the consequences of a fan that threw something at
    the batter during a pitch. The Astros owe it to Major League Baseball, their
    fans and employees to preserve the game as a gentlemen’s sport and the common respect
    for others. Thank you for bringing these Health, Safety, and Security issues to
    the attention of the MLB and other corporate entities. I’m confident they will expect more professionalism from their highly
    paid staff members.

  • Dayna Steele

    Thanks for your note. Note sure she is getting any support for this from either organization...which was the entire point of this piece. Companies need to step up and do the right thing, not only for customers but for employees as well.

  • marc zazeela

    Dayna,

    Sadly, boorish and disrespectful behavior is fast becoming acceptable in our society. We see it at all levels. Our countries leaders, heads of big corporations, professional athletes, etc., are all guilty. In fact, there are some who glorify it.

    We are fast becoming a society of people who care nothing about anyone or anything other than gaining attention. Look at me! Hence our national obsession with reality TV.

    We are setting horrible examples for our kids who will grow up to emulate the behavior they witness from their idols. True that athletes don't have to be role models, but they should learn to be  respectful.

    Treat others as you would have them treat you. Very simple.

    Cheers,Marc

  • Dayna Steele

    Thanks for commenting Marc. I don't think Josh is a bad guy at all, but he do do something thoughtless. You just don't throw things in someone's face. I took issue with the fact that his organization did not let him know she was upset and ask him to talk to her. That's all she wanted.

  • marc zazeela

    Agreed. Everyone makes mistakes and has lapses in judgement. Bigger people have no problem admitting the failure and doing what is necessary to try and make it better. 

    How difficult or painful is it to apologize? A little kindness buys a whole lot of good will.

    Cheers,Marc

  • Jim Middleton

    Since when is it OK for a grown man to throw ANYTHING in the face of a young woman, accidental or otherwise, and not immediately apologize? And based on recent baseball fan 'highlights' I've seen, I feel compelled to say it's also not OK for wives to throw beer in their husbands face.

  • TM

    Dayna,

    Maybe you should get your facts straight before you write articles regarding a topic you know very little about. Josh Reddick is probably one of the most sincere and genuine players in all of major league baseball. He was interacting with a mascot when the 'incident' happened and it was, wholeheatedly, all in fun. This young woman ended up in the way and it seems she used this as her opportunity to make a statement.

    I worked for a Triple-A team in high school and college, as a young female at that. Players interactive differently, not necessarily poorly. Was it unfortunate? Yes. But if this is what happens every time some unfortunate accident happens to this young woman, than I feel sorry for her.

    The Oakland Athletics probably saw what most of us rational human-beings did, an unfortunate incident with absolutely no malice and no ill-intent. Shame on you for blowing something like this out of proportion! It looks to me as though you are the only one looking to give stories like this any kind of voice.  

  • Dayna Steele

    My facts are straight and I have been contacted by Josh Reddick. What he did was wrong - you don't throw anything into anyone's face. Period. And he did. He upset her and he scared her. Both the Athletics and the Astros are to blame for not addressing this immediately. The A's blew her off completely and did not let Josh know how he had affected her. The Astros should have called him on it as well and arranged an apology before the next day's game.

  • Ted Birkhahn

    Dayna,

    You make great points but I am not surprised at all by the reaction -- or lack thereof -- from the Oakland As. Sports leagues and their franchises have always acted "above the law" as most will do almost anything to protect athletes from anything that threatens to derail their performance on the field.

    I completely agree that sports teams and their superstars can no longer deal with issues by keeping them in the locker room. Like many corporations, they should proactively communicate how they're handling the incident and what they're doing to prevent it from happening again. Thanks to social media and the growing influence of the consumer, I do hope teams will no longer opt for sweeping things under the rug.

  • Dayna Steele

    Thank you for taking the time to reply Ted. I have heard for Josh and he is sorry. he was merely 'playing around.' That does not excuse the A's of the Astros for blowing her off. If the A's had let Josh know how upset and humiliated she was, he could have offered a private apology and averted this story.

  • Guest

    Exactly. He did not and would not intentionlly do that and if he knew it happened and the lady was upset he would of immediatly apologize  and this would be over and she would feel better but now that it was not told to Josh and has gone public and this was the way he had to find out he now has stories and someone slandering his character by going public as you know everyone likes to instigate drama and have someone to point the finger to. Soon someone needs to be apologizing to Josh.
     

  • Dayna Steele

    The Oakland A's should apologize to Josh for not letting him know immediately that she was upset. This would all have been a moot point if the organization had not blown her off. Josh is a great guy and I have already gone on record immediately letting people know he jumped on this ASAP with an apology - which she appreciates.