Some players just need to be motivated.
Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland was stellar during the 2011 regular season, compiling a 16-5 record for the club. But he proved to be shaky during Texas' American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, failing to earn a win in two starts while sporting an 8.59 ERA.
Prior to the fourth game of the World Series, Rangers manager Ron Washington gave Holland, who is 25 years old but could probably pass for a starting pitching in the Little League World Series, a personal, impassioned pregame speech. The moment caught the attention of FOX broadcaster Joe Buck who said, "You can almost read [Washington's] lips, they're saying, 'Don't miss over the plate, be aggressive, have fun, but if you're going to miss, miss in. And make these hitters a little more uncomfortable.'"
Suffice it to say, whatever the manager told the young pitcher, it worked.
Holland threw one of the gems of the postseason, allowing just two hits over 8.1 scoreless innings to even the Series 2-2. The lefty felt so good on the mound that he even attempted to plead with Washington to leave him in the game to secure the last two outs in the ninth.
"I was begging to stay out there," Holland said after the win. "I said, 'I'll give it everything I've got. I can get the double play.' When I came off the field my arm hair was sticking up -- not like I have much."
Later after the game, Holland did an impression of what Washington said on the mound before he took him out in an interview on the MLB Network. (WATCH VIDEO BELOW)
Saturday night belonged to a future Hall of Famer in Albert Pujols, who made history by becoming the third player to hit three home runs in a single World Series game. But Sunday night was all about Holland, whose gutsy performance captured the attention of a nation -- at least, the portion of the nation not watching Sunday Night Football -- and earned the undying gratitude of Texas Rangers fans.
They grow up so fast.