by Tracy Johnson
If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve probably heard of Sid Bream. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you still may have heard of Sid. But Sid’s story has an application for every radio personality It’s about finding and using your platform.
Bream played for four teams in his 11 year career between 1983 and 1994. Never a fast runner, Bream’s mobility was affected by five knee surgeries to the point that he was one of the slowest runners in all of baseball.
Yet Sid is most remembered for a play that was defined by base-running: The Slide.
On October 14, 1992, Sid was playing for the Atlanta Braves. In the National League Championship series against Pittsburgh (Bream’s former team), he capped a Braves comeback after trailing 2-0, when he scored the winning run from second base in the bottom of the 9th inning. The victory sent the Braves to the World Series.
Fair or unfair, that one moment has defined Sid’s career. It’s been named one of the greatest moments in baseball history, and will be forever etched in the memory of Braves fans.
The circumstances that led to that dramatic moment are interesting. The details form the story that has become Sid’s platform to this day.
Going to the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, the Braves rallied. In the process, Bream drew a walk, making him the potential winning run at first base.
Most baseball experts claim that the dreadfully slow, gimpy Bream should have been replaced by a faster runner. In fact, this oversight was one of the few mistakes Braves manager Bobby Cox made.
Sid tells his story of what led to the moment When Sid Slid:
To this day, Sid signs thousands of photos of that slide each year, inscribing each with a favorite scripture verse. And he continues to tell the story of that moment with pride and humility. He realizes the platform he has been given, and is making the most of it.
He believes that he would not be remembered had it not been for that play.
There’s no doubt in my mind. There are a lot of players who have played since the time that I was in baseball, and you don’t remember a whole lot of them. You’re hoping to have some kind of a remembrance, whether it’s an all-star performance or a World Series performance, or something like a Kirk Gibson, a Bobby Thomson or a Bill Mazeroski, or something to that degree. Fortunately for me, I didn’t do the difficult part. It was Francisco Cabrera. He did the tough part. All I did was have to run.
I’m grateful. I’m thankful to the Lord that he allowed it to happen. With my speed at that time, anybody who was on the bench, pitcher or not, probably could have been in the dugout by the time I got to home plate. But Bobby Cox decided to leave me out there. There are people who say there was nobody on the bench, but there were pitchers on the bench. I don’t understand other than the fact that God had all that worked out. He gave me that opportunity and I’m thankful for it. Obviously, that play, along with my faith, has created a platform for me to be able to go out and do some public speaking.
I’ve come to know Sid over the past few years through the Atlanta Braves fantasy camp each January. He’s the model of integrity, positive reinforcement and leadership. And he’s influencing thousands every year by embracing the opportunities he has been given.
There are lessons here for air personalities in radio, particularly in Christian radio.
One of the biggest misconceptions in broadcasting is minimizing the role of the air talent. Managers and owners tell personalities they should put all the emphasis on their audience, that the radio station is “not about you” and discourage personalities from sharing their lives in a way that calls attention to themselves.
Some personalities have even told me their PD or manager have told them that they “just aren’t important. You’re only here to play the music and push forward the station’s position.” This is particularly true at many Christian radio stations.
How short-sighted. And how sad.
Personalities with a gift of communicating on an emotional level should be encouraged to use their platform boldly and with pride. Yet, we have a tendency to back off. After all, isn’t the listening experience about the audience? That’s at the heart of my presentation It’s Not About You-It’s All About You.
Your audience has a passion for those personalities. They want to feel connected. They’re as much of a hero to your listeners as Sid is to baseball fans like me. Hiding those gifts is ignoring the power of your platform.
Like Sid, you should not hide your gifts or your opportunities in a false humility. Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.
Obviously talent must be trained, coached nurtured, encouraged and developed.
But make no mistake: Radio listeners connect to the people on the air through their stories and relatable content.
They may love your music and your purpose. But it’s air personalities that separate good stations from special stations. You have the opportunity to affect lives in a deep, meaningful way by using your platform to become a celebrity with a radio show. Not just a DJ.
One play transformed Sid Bream from a very good baseball player to a legend that will be forever famous. He recognizes that gift, embraces the fame and uses the platform for the purpose to which he is called. He’s not just a former baseball player.
He’s using his platform.
Contact Sid Bream via his website here.
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