Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ace (Part III)

After ten minutes of trying to figure out what in the world was going on between the two, it finally dawned on me that both Goldie and Jacob "Jack" Booker (the classic breaking ball pitcher and Texas Hold'em prodigy) were talking a different language. A language which included terms like big slick, small blind, the button, limper, flop, American Airlines, the turn, fish hooks, the river, muck, and my personal favorite (given my psychological status). . . the nut hand or otherwise known as the nuts. Goldie spoke Jack's language and was able to build a degree of trust. The two were actually connecting.

Come to find out, Goldie is more than just a poker hack. When he's not in class or out here scouting, he's online playing poker for money. And not just for nickels and dimes either. He's actually pulling in enough to help fund his law school tuition! The things you learn. I wonder what the Georgia bar would think about that?

Anyhow, Goldie's approach was textbook. He started by acknowledging Jack's situation as a tough dilemma. He understood Jack's desire to play professional poker and the commitment it would take to play at that level. Thousands upon thousands of hands. Countless hours of folding and looking for just those two or three hands that will make your evening worthwhile. Once Jack knew Goldie fully appreciated his desire to take his poker playing to another level, Goldie swooped in to give Jack a reality check. He zeroed in on Jack's little league days and his tireless commitment to baseball year-after-year. That now was the time for Jack to get some return on his investment. That he could play poker anytime but that his opportunity to play professional baseball would only be open for a brief moment in time. Certainly he wasn't going to throw away the opportunity that he's spent most of his waking life to obtain.

I swear if Goldie were selling a used car, I'd probably buy it. He was that good. The most under rated part of scouting is sales and Goldie was a natural at it. Sales was and continues to be something that I have to work very hard at. I'm just not built for sales. To me, a career in baseball should sell itself. But that's not always the case. You're always selling the organization, the coaching, the facilities, the teammates, and the overall vision of management.

In the end, Goldie was able to convince Jack that he had to re-dedicate himself to baseball (not that he had to quit poker but instead putting baseball first and poker second), finish up the college season strong, and capture the opportunity that will make itself available during this year's draft. After an hour, he single-handedly turned that kid around. It was obvious to me that Jack's whole attitude towards himself and the game of baseball changed. How long it will last, however, is another story.

I would have left him to his own devices. Let him become a professional poker player. Why convince him to play baseball? A tiger can't change his stripes no matter how hard he tries and I'm not going to risk my job trying to help. I've seen it backfire too many times. Goldie, on the other hand, believes that Jack's potential is too good to pass up and that we should work with him rather than kick him to the curb. But to me, I don't want a gambler on my team who has to be convinced to play baseball instead of the World Poker Tour. It's safe to say that Goldie and I agree to disagree on this one. I'm sure I'll be hearing from DeSear in the near future.

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