In honor of baseball returning, finally, I hope, I wanted to bring back one of my favorite episodes over the last few years with Tripp Keister from the Washington Nationals organization.
I also want to state for the record, as Bill Simmons from the Ringer gets rightfully dragged this week on social media. Not all people from Boston are racist idiots. I’ve never liked Bill Simmons, always found him snarky, smug and elitist - and I see lots of people saying things like “he’s from Boston, what do you expect?”.
Well, I judge people by their actions, not where they are from or what they look like, so don’t lump me in with that clown because we share an area code.
But let’s get into something a little more positive.
Since the day we started this podcast I have had fans ask repeatedly – please get someone in player development.
This has been one of my big failures to date – I’ve struck out a ton. I’ve likely requested interviews with 30 different people in player development, which resulted in 29 very polite no thank you’s.
Dior Ginyard, Senior Player Manager for the NFLPA was my one success, and if you ask me one of our best interviews to date, primarily because player development is a very interesting subject. Helping elite athletes develop as people, serving them so they can be the best version of themselves on campus, or in the minors, or in the big time.
As you likely have noticed I’m a little obsessed with the development side of people in general. That path from student to professional is fascinating to me – the steps people take to find their true calling and to master their art form. The influencers who have guided them, the tough love that drove them, the micro-decisions that have resulted in massive change.
All of this fascinates me, which is why I, like you, wanted to have more guests in player development.
This week's guest, Tripp Keister, is the single-A manager of the Potomac Nationals. He’s the winningest manager in Potomac Nationals history…but you know what it says on his LinkedIn account: that he works in player development.
Not that he’s a master of double switches and pitch counts, but that he’s in the development of the young men that come through his dugout.
And they all do.
As the manager of the Washington National High A team, most if not all of their top draft picks and prospects start with Tripp.
This again fascinates me.
Think about this for a second, Tripp is managing a bunch of 18-year-olds embarking on their future, not just on the field but often in their first times away from home, their first time having to manage their own lives!
This makes me wonder – how is that any different than Mike Judge managing the inside sales staff of the Cleveland Browns?
Is it the same? Is management, management? Is motivation and technique and evaluation and discipline the same whether you are developing high powered athletes or entry-level employees?
I found my conversation with Tripp fascinating, and his overall approach to developing young men into really good, productive people. Success is different for everyone, some will reach the majors, some won’t, but I think they’ll all look back and remember the influence of Tripp Keister.
Let’s get into it – here’s Tripp Keister... (listen in to the Work In Sports podcast!)