There's something to be said about humility. In the athletic realm, though, it can really bite you, well, you know where. One of my favorite all-time MLB figures once said "Nice guys finish last" (and there's a pretty darn decent M's blog that's inspired by that phrase). However, there are always exceptions to that Axiom. Not all nice guys finish last, and, conversely, you don't have to be a jerk to finish first (see Gehrig, Lou, etc...).
It's pretty clear that George Sherrill is a humble guy. I had a chance to meet him myself once, and I'm pretty sure that most everyone else who meets George would say the same thing. In Doug Miller's front-page article on the M's web site today, you also get a taste of this. Miller touches briefly upon George's path into the majors, and calls his story "...that of a true baseball vagabond."
The way I see it, and one of the things that actually draws me more into that story, is that George has taken a road that isn't all that well-traveled. He's had to endure different trials, and has had to clutch ever tighter to his dream of becoming a major league pitcher. He's had to have a little more focus, and walk a little further down the path. Having shared several hour-long phone conversations with his brother, I do know that George's statement about his family is ever so true. I'm quite certain that indeed the one thing George has been given in life is a strong family to support him through his vagabond adventure, be it baseball or otherwise. Baseball certainly hasn't been handed to him on a platter.
What is humility, though? If you look it up in the dictionary, one of the entries equates it to "a lack of false pride." Humility isn't putting yourself down to make others look better. Humility doesn't completely reject a compliment. Humility is recognizing what you've been given, and making the most out of it. Humility accepts the compliment and says "Thank you!" and looks for opportunities to compliment others. Humility and pride are certainly not entirely antonyms. Humility, like the dictionary says, is a lack of false pride.
George Sherrill has the talent to compete in the big leagues. He knows this. He has to know it to be up there in the first place. However, he also recognizes that he still has to earn his spot on the team. It's nice to hear that Hargrove, albeit in a passing quote (prefaced by a disclaimer that he can't allow himself to become "emotionally attached" to guys like George), at least vaguely recognize how George can get righties out. That's one point, I suppose, added to the Free George Sherrill campaign bucket.
And, again, while Spring Training stats are basically meaningless, I can't help but notice that the reasonably consistent LHRP I cheer for currently has a double-digit ERA, as well as more home runs surrendered than strikeouts (he gave up another longball today). It's hard to really read much into that, as all it really could mean that George is fine-tuning certain pitches (that's definitely true), and he's using ST to shake some of the bugs out. Still, there's a part of me that sees George fighting for his spot, and being a bit discouraged by his performances. Being completely human, I'm sure there's some sense of this.
If I could say one thing to George directly (and he actually has read this site once), it would be to encourage him to remain humbly confident. Keep working on what you need to work on, and leave the rest up to those who make the decisions. You've got what it takes to be there, and I'm confident you'll reap the rewards of your hard work.
Let guys like me scream for you.