The Closer

Talking Baseball

Last Saturday, a neighbor and I were discussing baseball at a block party, when he brought up modern-day managerial strategy for relief pitchers. 

I don’t follow baseball to anywhere the extent that I did as a kid. I’m confident that I can name more players from the 1975 World Series, than I can name current players in all of Major League Baseball:

(Carton Fisk Homers, Invents The Wave)

Still, I find it interesting that there are pitchers that might enter the game for a very short time. “Setup Relievers” may pitch for an inning, or less, prior to the when the managers calls for “The Closer.” to finish a game by preserving a lead.

There are even some contexts in which a relief pitcher might be sent in to pitch to one batter. One freaking, batter! The outcome of that matchup might determine who the next reliever is.

Under current market conditions, some relievers make over $10 million per year.

Popeye Takes The Mound (via GIPHY)

Where’s MY Closer?

I said to the neighbor, “It would be cool if we had similar role players in other professions. Imagine if an editor sent a reporter, working on an investigative article, to the bench, so that a closer could write the concluding paragraph. Or if a software architect benched a programmer before project completion, just so a closer could compile and debug the code.”

That made me think of a recurring source of pain, some unfinished tasks. To myself, I said, “I wish that I could hire a closer to finish my blog posts.”

It’s now Thursday and since Saturday I’ve been been thinking about all those blog post (dozens of them) sitting in a “Draft” state. Sometimes, I think I hear them whimpering about having been ignored for so long.

Having a bunch of blog posts in an unfinished state is nothing new, though as the problem seems to grows larger, so does my anxiety about not completing, or publishing, them.

Though having to face them that day, I felt like it weighed a little heavier. Perhaps it was the realization that no closer was going to finish, or delete them, for me.

After some Major League-caliber fretting, I decided to practice what I’ve long pitched (pun intended) to clients, and employers. I did a content inventory, and then, content audit on myself.

Practicing What I Pitch

I had nearly 40 posts that were in a draft state and developed a quick cleanup framework:

First of all, drafts that were about “current” events were axed if they had no relevance to today’s reality. I had one that contained the phrase “A few days ago…” It was from 2012. It no longer sparked joy.

Next, if I didn’t recognize the topic of the post from the working title, it got a new, meaningful, working title. I can change it to something clever, and meaningful, when I publish it.

Then, if I felt a previous attempt at a topic was overly wordy and reading it evoked memories of tedium and frustration, I axed most of it, except for a few key phrases, or all of it some cases.

Finally, I allowed myself 45 minutes to complete this task to avoid being seduced by Parkinson’s Law – the principle that the amount of time required to complete a task grows in accordance with the amount of time that is available to complete it.

Well, before the bell went off, I had reduced my inventory to about a dozen drafts.

Today (Thursday), a scant 20 hours later, I don’t know what effect my cleanup efforts will have long term.

But hell, I felt leaner and motivated enough to write this post; and have renewed enthusiasm about the topics (Apollo 13, obscure DC Superheroes, my first puppy…) lingering in some of my unfinished work.

At long last, it feels good, rather than painful to be sitting at about my keyboard.

I will be my own setup reliever and my own closer, and save over $10-30 million/year.

Several drafts, representing multiple genres are in queue, and I’m ready to face them.

Batter up!

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