Parasiliti: Teamwork fuels Suns' success

June 16, 2013
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

Things aren’t what they used to be.

OK. That’s not a profound statement. Everything is in a constant flow of change, Municipal Stadium notwithstanding.

Nothing stands still in the world of business or in the sports we watch. Changes are dramatic, no matter how far you look back.

Graduates of 2013 will be facing a completely different world compared to this guy, who left high school in 1976 and sneaked out of college in 1980.

Today’s lessons are already obsolete. The ones this guy learned have fossilized.

In the new world of computers and profit margins or the one of home runs and dominant lineups, one old method has been lost … but not forgotten.

It’s called teamwork. In these times of questionable economy and even more questionable decision-making, the idea of working together has never been more important.

Business and sports are all about strategy, a game plan that needs everyone to work together to cultivate success.

To me, the best example of that kind of teamwork — at least on the sports side — is the first-half play of the Hagerstown Suns.

Hagerstown plays a brand of ball that harkens back to the good old days when baseball was the national pastime. The Suns, under manager Tripp Keister, have assessed the sum of their parts, considered the factors needed to turn a profit and used the strategy effectively.

They don’t carry briefcases, but their approach to their jobs could be successful in any venue.

In this case, the Suns have been in the business of winning games.

A business couldn’t ask for anything more.

I was talking to a very good friend in the business community. She was frustrated with how individualism had hampered production.

My friend made the assessment that everyone seemed to be out for themselves. The focus hovered around personal comfort and gain instead of the success of the whole team.

I, of course, immediately compared it to athletics. You can guess which one of us is smarter.

My friend would love to have her team play like the Suns have this season.

Each Suns player accepts his role and performs to his strengths. They readily pledge they will do anything for the team.

There is verbal communication, but have proven no one has to utter a word to get a message across.

Older folks will remember that these were skills that helped the Mom and Pop shops of the 20th century that were eventually replaced by the conglomerates of the 21st century. It’s also a habit that is often overlooked nowadays.

The bond of working together has been lost in these two worlds. Business is all about technology and models to map the terrain. Sports tend to let single achievements write the script for TV highlights.

Because of that, the trademarks of these products have begun to pay the price. Businesses have become so big, they dwarf consumers. Individualism in sports fractures support.

The smaller focus and the lack of individual stars are why the Suns are so refreshing. They play blue-collar baseball that allows everyone to contribute and gives every fan something to enjoy.

Great individuals don’t always make champions. Good teams can, if they work together.

Most of the time, success is just a matter of getting back to the basics.

That’s where the Suns are at their best. Hagerstown has been extraordinary by being ordinary. The Suns don’t have any Bryce Harpers this season. They are just a bunch of guys named Tony, Brandon, Stephen and Khayyan who work well together.

It’s a formula that kept Hagerstown near the top of the South Atlantic League standings for the majority of the first half. Statistically, the Suns are middle of the pack, but their numbers don’t reflect their efficiency.

They’ve added some excitement and intrigue to a sport that many deem boring by playing situational baseball. They run aggressively, steal bases and bunt to create opportunities. They pitch and play solid defense when in the field.

Those talents have become fossilized in today’s game.

By definition, the Suns could be a throwback to simpler days.

There was a time when this would be defined as being cleverly inventive or resourceful to successfully design something.

It was called American ingenuity.

It was how business got off the ground. It’s how the Suns remained in contention.

Thanks to that teamwork, this is one thing that never changed.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at

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