Rickey Henderson has returned to Oakland in the role of 'special instructor.' The supernatural Hall of Famer spent the week dispensing his knowledge of the Force to the beleaguered team in an effort to pull them out of the basement of the AL-West. There was one young padawan, however, who received personal coaching from the Jedi master. Last Saturday, Rajai Davis was given individual attention from the legend, who helped him learn how to master base-stealing techniques. Below is an excerpt from the discourse between the master and the apprentice.
Henderson: I am wondering, why are you here?
Davis: What do you mean, why am I here? I'm here to play baseball. I hope to learn a lot from you. You're one of the greatest players ever!
Henderson: Baseball not make one great. But help you, I will.
Davis: What do you think I need?
Henderson: You four seasons have I watched. Never your mind on where you are. Hmm? What you are doing. Hmph. Silver Slugger. Heh! MVP. Heh! A Baseball Player craves not these things. You run flat-footed. How you get so fast, when everything you do is flat-footed?
Davis: Flat-footed! What are you talking about? I stole 41 bases last season! Oh, I don't even know what I'm doing here. You're wasting my time.
Henderson: I cannot teach you, you have no patience. Eighty bases can you steal next season. But listen you will not.
Davis: I'm sorry. I know I can do better. But how do I steal more bases?
Henderson: A player's strength flows from the Force. Balance you need. About running you must unlearn what you have learned. On your toes you must run.
Davis: My toes? Okay, I will try.
Henderson: No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Davis runs and falls.
Davis: Oh no! I'll never be able to run right!
Henderson: So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
Davis: Master, running bases is one thing. Stealing them is totally different.
Henderson: No! No different! Only different in your mind. A good kid you are. Heart of a base stealer you have. Now, the base, feel it. On your toes, run! Concentrate...feel the Force flow. Yes. Good. Calm, yes.
Davis tries again.
Davis: Hey! This works!
Henderson: Such a little thing, changed you already it has. A base stealer you will be. The biggest thing is fear. That must get out of you -- fear in going out and taking control of the bases and changing the game. But beware: Anger, fear, aggression. The Dark Side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.
Davis: Thank you, Master Henderson. To get another perspective from a guy who has proven his success at this level in the major leagues is a great opportunity. I don't know how many teams get this chance to bring back guys who are in the Hall of Fame.
Henderson: Rajai the Force runs strong in you. Pass on what you have learned.
Davis: I will, Master, I will.