In “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell argues that it takes roughly 10,000 hours for someone to master a particular craft. This is a rough number, of course, and other factors are at play, but he cites a handful of examples that fit into his theory.
Other studies have since attempted to debunk the “10,000 Hour Rule,” precisely because it doesn’t take into account a lot of those other factors like inherent skill, the age of the participant and more.
Whether you believe it or not (we’ve certainly been practicing writing/journalism for more than 10,000 hours now, so … wait, don’t answer that), it’s become a reference point in the way a lot of us look at things — a mainstream idea, if you will.
As such, we thought about it in conjunction with one of the more impressive moments from Paul Molitor’s introductory news conference — perhaps the defining moment that shows just how his mind works.
Molitor said he was sitting around one day casually thinking about a life spent in baseball. He estimated that he had been a part of 4,000 games as a player, coach, etc. He then further extrapolated that to be 12,000 hours directly involved in a baseball game — and he did the math further, realizing that equated to 500 full days (24/7) spent involved with a baseball game.
Does that make Molitor a baseball expert? That’s debatable. (And to be clear, he never once referenced the 10,000 Hour Rule). But it certainly gives us some insight not only into just how much baseball he has absorbed in his lifetime — and it’s clear he isn’t just a casual observer of the game — but also just how his mind works.
For better or worse, we have a hard time picturing Ron Gardenhire thinking about all the time he has spent with baseball, let alone doing the calculations out into hours and days.
Gardy certainly knows a lot about baseball (and qualifies for the 10,000 Hour Rule himself), but we imagine him to be a different baseball man than Molitor. Maybe that’s too much to extrapolate from one moment in an introductory news conference, just as it’s too much to say 10,000 hours at anything makes someone an expert.
Molitor will ultimately succeed or fail primarily based on the talent he is given and the way he is able to manage the personalities and egos of men. But we are also looking forward to seeing how his mind works throughout the course of seasons and individual games.