Lessons from military translate well into baseball

Soldier speaks with Alderson, Wright about leadership values learned in Army

Lessons from military translate well into baseball

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has a lengthy resume filled with experiences that have helped shape his career as a baseball executive. Among them is his time spent in the military.

"It was a time when I learned a tremendous amount," Alderson told U.S. Army Major Brad Davies in an interview at Citi Field that was part of Above and Beyond presented by U.S. Army. "It was a structured environment, but one that promoted individual initiative and, I think, rewarded action over inaction. I've tried to follow those principles during my time as a civilian and professional life."

A self-described "military brat" who traveled where his father's career as an Air Force pilot took him as a child, Alderson grew up to be an ROTC member at Dartmouth College, and he eventually joined the Marine Corps. When he finished with the military, he enrolled at Harvard Law School.

In addition to Davies' time with the U.S. Army Reserve, he also works for the Boeing company, where he is a superintendent for F-15 and F-18 final assemblies in St. Louis.

"It really helped shape my own philosophy when it comes to leadership," Davies said of his own military experience. "I think oftentimes, I hear people confuse leadership and management. … They're really two different things. Is somebody going to follow you, or are they just going to do what you tell them to do because you told them to do it?"

Davies also spoke to Mets captain David Wright about his role with the Mets. Wright is in his 11th season with New York, and he has been a seven-time All-Star. He was named the team's fourth captain during Spring Training last year.

"The biggest thing for me is you have to get to know everybody -- we've got 25 guys in there -- on an individual basis and kinda know what makes them click, know what gets them going," Wright said. "Some guys don't mind that tough love, where you get on them a little bit, and some guys prefer to be pulled aside downstairs, one-on-one."

Alderson said many of the lessons he learned and the interactions he had while in the service have helped him to manage the Mets.

"You've got to focus on the mission," Alderson said. "You've got to make adjustments. There's no question about that. But ultimately, you've got to keep in mind what's most important. And there's no better place to learn that than the military."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.