Watching the World Series with my wife is like having my own private commentator about the nuances of the game. We mute the blather of the on-air commentators as she explains the chess match on grass and dirt. My wife not only knows more about baseball than I do, she’s better at it.
In a recent game, she explained the value of the utility player. While most of the players specialize in their position – ergo the term position players– they often are only good at one position. However, a utility player is good at all the positions.
Zack Meisel writes, “Utility players don’t pack the powerful punch of a Home Run Derby participant, tote the always-reliable bat of a middle-of-the-order hitter or possess the swiftness on the basepaths of a basestealing bandit. But in a pinch, a manager can breathe easy knowing that his last guy on the bench can adapt to just about any situation he’s thrown into.”
The Value of a Utility Player
Understand how all the pieces fit
Like a good baseball team, a healthy organization needs a good utility player who is good at all the positions- they are the ones that understand better the intricacies involved in all facets. Often, specialists or position players have a pretty myopic view of the organization and believe the world revolves around them. However, a utility player sees the interconnectedness of each position and the value that each one brings.
Can play any role for a period of time
Utility players not only see how it all fits together, they can jump into any role and do it well. This is handy when the specialist is out for a game or two.
Can help coach the position players
Because they know the roles and responsibilities of each position, they can assist the position players with well-timed coaching.
Provide balance to the organization
Position players and specialists can be prima donnas, but a good utility player – also known as a versatility player- gives the organization an overall sense of balance.
A well-rounded utility player helps the General Manager and the coaches sleep better at night. They make the organization more cohesive and less vulnerable.
And on occasions, they hit a homer, steal a base, and strike out the opposing team to retire the side.