Pitch & Catch: Throwing Strikes with Robust Education

Two Dealer Week educators to deliver soul-stirring keynotes.

Imagine this. You put on baseball catching gear and squat down on your toes 60 feet 6 inches away from a hard-throwing pitcher on a mound of dirt. Your goal is catching his 102-mph fastball and arsenal of sliding and sinking pitches while framing each one to get the desired “strike” call! Yes, your role is to overcome the obstacle in front of you (the hitter). Sounds easy, right?!  

pitcher getting ready to deliver ball from mound
The author pitching in a 50+ baseball league in Minnesota. Photo by Joe Korkowski.

Chances are you don’t know what it’s like to wear catcher’s gear with a facemask. But you do share their desire to overcome challenges and win. Some of you may be baseball fans; others not. However, two terms even a casual fan has heard referenced are “opener” and “closer.” Having a substantial opener and a dominant closer can help you win and win frequently.

That’s our goal when it comes to serving you at Dealer Week. No, this isn’t a baseball blog. It is a blog about you receiving a robust education from knowledgeable educators and doing your absolute best to capture the valuable insights and tools they’re throwing you to help you improve and grow so you can win as an individual and as a team.

Let’s explore the MRAA’s Dealer Week 2023 closer and opener.

The Closer
Let’s first talk about the closer. In baseball, a closer is the pitcher who comes into the game when the leading team needs to get an out to preserve the victory. When the pitcher succeeds, they earn a save, and the whole team wins. The all-time Major League Baseball saves leader is Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees legend and MLB Hall of Famer with 652 saves. Only two pitchers in history have more than 600 saves!

Dan Thurmon, Dealer Week 2023 Closing Keynote

Regardless of their stats, the thing that makes these end-game pitchers so formidable is their ability to outlast, outgun and outwit the competition in the most distressing situations. They often shut the door on their team’s anxiety and their opponent, literally saving the game for their organization.

For Dealer Week 2023, we have our own closer. The Dealer Week Closing Ceremony on Dec. 7 will feature Dan Thurmon. Dan is as impressive as they come, a speaker who delivers with energy and artistry. While his session “Positive Chaos: The Path to More Certainty & Prosperity” could easily be a title for an elite pitcher’s autobiography, it’s designed to help marine dealers like you improve. Much like a stellar pitcher who has mastered the ability to throw the ball with impeccable skill, dealers will discover how to adopt “momentum, trajectory and alignment” as metrics for growth.

This is one closing ceremony and performance you don’t want to miss.

The Opener
An opener is a relatively new term in baseball. Bob McCann’s hometown team, the Tampa Bay Rays, made it popular by using an “opener” to begin the game instead of using an traditional starting pitcher. It was usually someone they trusted to give it their all, even if limited to only a few innings of work. Should they do their job effectively, they will get out the other team’s top hitters and let the next pitcher in line continue what they started.

Ryan Estis, Dealer Week 2023 Opening Keynote

It just so happens that for Dealer Week 2023 in Tampa, we also have our own opener in Ryan Estis. His brilliant session, titled “Adapt & Thrive: Leading Growth in the New Economy,” will kick things off Tuesday, Dec. 5. While Ryan will not try to get you to strike out or hit into a double play, he will strike a few chords of inspiration as he leads you to double down your efforts to face change and transform your dealership for future success by implementing the right mindset.

Tossing a Gem: Dealer Week Education
As you can see, having an opener and a closer makes perfect sense for baseball teams, much like it does for Dealer Week.

These two elite speakers strongly complement our impressive list of education hosts and subject matter experts who are also tossing pro-level insights to you and your fellow Dealer Week attendees. When you bookend the world-class education offered at our four-day annual conference with these two poignant speakers, it will have lasting effects on you and the entire dealer community that push our industry to reflect, recalibrate and grow.

Can’t make it to Dealer Week in Tampa? Learn more about participating in Dealer Week Online.