Before the Texas Rangers opened their first full squad workout of spring training Tuesday morning, manager Jeff Banister held his annual team meeting with players, coaches and support staff.
Besides introducing faces to the new players in the major league clubhouse, Banister reminded the players of the meaning of the “86400” and “The Game Knows” slogans on the front and back of the workout shirts he had made up.
The front of the shirts read simply: “86400.” “The Game Knows” runs across the back.
There are 86,400 seconds in a day, Banister said, and “They go by very quickly. Don’t waste any of them.”
“Very simple message,” said Banister, who nevertheless invoked Socrates’ famous quote “An unexamined life is not worth living” as inspiration.
“Socrates talked about evaluating and reflecting on your own life and where you’ve been and how you take inventory,” he said. “I thought about how do we take inventory on what we do each day. It’s a lot of seconds but they go by very fast but how are you preparing and utilizing them on a daily basis to play a game that you’re very skilled at?”
The message on the back, “The Game Knows,” is a reminder to the players that they’re “all in this game together.”
“It’s a reflection of how you play is what you put into it,” Banister said. “It’s just a reminder that great teammates challenge each other and they lead by example. Our guys are great at that. They prepare extremely well, they work hard.”
Banister’s message also included a reminder to his players that spring is about baby steps.
“We didn’t’ say this was go time. Go time is when you get the flyovers and you’re standing on the foul lines and the stands are full,” he said. That’s go time. Right now, it’s get ready time and get better time.”
He also reminded them of a mission unaccomplished.
“The reality is we haven’t completed our ultimate mission. That will always be the goal for us. But we can’t do that today, we can’t complete it today,” he said. “If you’re a team that looks back on what you’ve done in the past you don’t really pay attention to what’s right in front of you.”