Sometimes the Best Thing to Do is Leave Well Enough Alone
M att Harvey was taken aback when Dan Warthen had just informed the ace pitcher for the New York Mets that he was being pulled from the lineup to allow a different pitcher to pitch in the ninth inning of the fifth game of the 2015 World Series. The Mets were leading by a score of 2-0 against the Kansas City Royals after a strong performance in which Harvey seemed almost unstoppable. He was in a groove, throwing pitches as hard in the eighth inning as he did in the first inning; and he was automatically ready to continue that momentum into the ninth inning.
That momentum was interrupted by Terry Collins — who is the manager of the New York Mets — when he instructed his pitching coach to break the news to Harvey. “No way. No way. I’m not coming out” was what the cameras reportedly caught Harvey saying in the dugout to Collins before the ninth inning started — and with the game and the World Series on the line, Collins went against his gut feeling and relented to Harvey…
…but by that point, the stride which Harvey had been enjoying had already been disrupted. A shaken Harvey walked one batter in the ninth inning; and another batter had hit a double off of him before Harvey was pulled out of the game. Eventually, the damage was done: the New York Mets lost the 2015 World Series to the Kansas City Royals.
The lesson here is that sometimes the best thing to do is leave well enough alone. I watched portions of the game on television, which included the tension in the dugout caught on camera; and although I cannot prove it, I firmly believe that the momentum had already been disrupted by the mere announcement to Harvey that he could not have his chance to pitch a complete game in the World Series.
That is not to say that Harvey should be absolved of fault — nor am I saying that the blame could not be spread all around the team, its managers and its coaches. However, I am focusing on one component because Harvey never did recover from being jolted by that news — and it showed when he took the pitcher’s mound in the ninth inning of what unexpectedly became the final game of the 2015 World Series.
I am discussing that one particular incident in the World Series here because when I saw that moment in the dugout before the ninth inning began, I had a number of thoughts race through my head pertaining to leaving well enough alone in relation to travel, miles and points — especially when things are going well. Could this apply to the Department of Justice of the United States in approving the merging of major airlines in recent years? Could it apply to how airlines are handling their frequent flier loyalty programs; constantly changing the rules and policies — usually to the chagrin of their members? Could it apply to how security is implemented at airports around the world? Could it apply to the renaming of airports?
The answer will always be that it depends on your point of view; and if you are actually involved or affected, the side of the issue on which you fall. Anyone can basically create an argument for or against anything and justify it with historical examples, reasoning and rhetoric.
For example, are consumers better off or worse off because airlines in the United States are stronger as a result of all of the mergers? Well, some might contend that a stronger airline means a greater chance that that airline will survive — unlike the many airlines which had declared bankruptcy before the mergers. Others might say that the consolidation of airlines in the United States has led to practices which are unfriendly to the consumer because the consumer has fewer choices.
Is it true that elite level status members of frequent flier loyalty programs who spend lots of money annually on airfares might believe that the programs have improved — unlike those who spend little money and find it significantly more difficult to attain elite level status? There have been many arguments pertaining to this issue — one of which is that elite status levels are now more exclusive because fewer people are earning it; while others express how frequent flier loyalty programs have been decimated over recent years to the point where loyalty is no longer worth the time and effort.
Another contentious debate is whether or not airport security in recent years actually contributed to safer travel for passengers — or is it merely what some people call “security theater” designed to give the impression of improved security at a high cost considered to be little more than a substantial waste of money?
As for the fourth example: unless you were involved in the process and benefited financially from it, does renaming an airport actually improve anything for anyone?
There can be an argument from a different point of view: what if there were no mergers of airlines in recent years; or if frequent travel loyalty programs were simply left alone; or if airport security remained unchanged after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001; or if airports simply kept the names which they were originally given from the beginning? Does the old cliché of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” apply to any of those questions — or, perhaps modified for airlines some years ago: “If they are broke, fix it”? Would things be any better? Would they be worse?…
…and what if Terry Collins never instructed to Dan Warthen to inform Matt Harvey that he was being removed from the game in the ninth inning? What if he simply let Harvey pitch in the ninth inning of that fateful game? Would Harvey have continued to pitch the way he did during the eight previous innings of that game, most likely resulting in a win of New York Mets in three outs in Game 5 and sending the 2015 World Series back to Kansas City for Game 6?
We can speculate and surmise to our hearts’ content; but the truth is that we will never know, as we cannot turn back the clock and have a “do-over” to find out…
…but when the results of decisions are perceived as unfavorable, it is quite easy to believe that sometimes the best thing to do is leave well enough alone — despite whether or not implementing those decisions were the right things to do at the time…