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An open letter to Zack Britton from Ted Lasso

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“You might have the yips, but it’ll be alright, bud.”

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Brit — Can I call you Brit?

It seems that just like our Dani Rojas, you’re experiencing a case of the y-word. Y’know what I mean, though I suppose since I’m writing this, it’s okay to put the full word down on paper. Or screen. You get the point.

Anyways, it seems that you’re experiencing the case of the … yips.

*shudder*

Yeah, it’s caught my notice. Pitches can’t find the strike zone — ball after ball avoiding the strike zone as if repelled with a magnet or somethin’. Your guess as to where that fastball is going is as good as anyone’s.

But hey, that’s just a part of sports, isn’t it? You’re one of the world’s most talented athletes, and all of a sudden the most basic fundamentals of your position feel impossible.

Take our ol’ second baseman Chuck Knoblauch for example. One heckuva ballplayer. Rookie of the Year, Gold Glover, World Series champ, four-time All-Star. He hit .292 and 18 home runs in 1999, but all of a sudden, that short throw to first felt like trying to hit a target strapped to a donkey stung by a bumblebee. In a 2000 game against the Chicago White Sox, he made three throwing errors in just six innings, and even hit Missus Olberman in the face.

Yeesh.

Now that I think about it, he never did actually recover from that one.

But hey, how about Steve Sax? Now there’s another second baseman, who in 1983 couldn’t for the life of him throw to first. His case of the yips was so bad that even the fans behind the first base dugout began to wear batting helmets as protective gear. It lasted all the way to the All-Star break when his ailing father told him the only thing missing was his confidence. Sure enough, Sax built up his confidence in practice and eventually, those yips disappeared for good. He signed with the Yanks in 1989 and for two seasons led the AL in fielding percentage for second basemen.

So yeah, you’re not alone. But ain’t that somethin’? Even when you’re struggling, you have company, because you’re a living, breathing human being, and nobody’s perfect. And when you said that this is the lowest point of your career, even that was a beautiful thing, because what it means to me is that you care. You want to please your family. You want to please your team, your managers, your coaches, and the owners. Heck, you want to please the millions of Yankee fans around the world, all because baseball is life.

But you don’t need a dying father’s words of wisdom to pull you out of this little slump, because you already have the belief of everyone else around you. All you need now is to please yourself, because, at the end of the day, you’re the only person who has to live with yourself one hundred percent of the time. So make yourself proud, because everyone else around you already is.

Sure, after a disappointing outing you can stick yourself under the shower while still in your uniform (I recommend using soap), but no matter what, your family, your team, and your city, all got your back. They know that you’re still the same ol’ Brit that they love and trust to bring it home.

So remember:

Even though baseball is life, baseball is also death.
And baseball is baseball, too.
But mostly baseball is life!

Your friend,

Coach Ted Lasso