baseball and gloveThose of you that know me well, know that I am an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. Yes, I’m still stinging a little bit from this years World Series. 

Growing up in central Illinois, you are either a Cardinals fan, or a Cubs fan. It is one or the other and there is no middle ground. The only thing I enjoy as much as a Cardinal’s victory is a Cub’s loss. But because of that great rivalry, I do keep tabs on what the Cubs are up to. 

They just named Rick Renteria as their new manager last week. As a Cardinals fan, I am a little concerned about the hire, as Mr. Renteria sounds like a servant leader, which if that proves to be true, could mean better times ahead for the Cubs.

Things that I have heard that lead me to think this are the following:

  • Rick called all of the players of his new team the first two days of his hire to start developing a relationship with them.
  • He said that he wouldn’t be the one drawing the attention, it will be the players. He commented, “If the players genuinely believe that I believe in them we have a chance of putting together something special.”
  • Rick said, “I might be naïve, and people think I might be nuts about me believing this club can go out and do certain things, but I feel that way, and I truly believe it, and we’re going to find out.”
  • Another coach said of Rick, “He always finds a way to turn a negative into a positive”.
  • A fellow coach said of Rick, “There is not a player who has come across Rick Renteria and hasn’t gotten better.” He goes on to say, “Guys want to play hard for him!”

Rick was not that great of a player, in fact he had an unremarkable playing career. But notice the pattern in the above comments. He develops relationships, believes in his team, builds them up, and cares most about the well-being and development of his team. He is an optimist. He makes others around him better. This is what servant leadership is all about!

I congratulate the Cubs in hiring what looks to be a great servant leader. Time will obviously tell, as true servant leadership comes through not in what is said, but in what is done on a day-to-day basis. All of us familiar with baseball history know Mr. Renteria has a tall task with the Cubs. This will be a true test of the impact of servant leadership. I’ll look forward to following their progress over the next few years.

I have a funny feeling that the Cards might soon have another formidable foe in the National League Central.

Mark Deterding

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13