Top Level Performance Takeaways from MLB All-Star Pitcher, Russ Ortiz
Play • 1 hr 27 min

This week on THE GURU you are in for a real treat! Howard Falco is welcoming on his first guest of the show, former Major League Baseball all-star pitcher, Russ Ortiz!

In 1998, Russ Ortiz made his debut for the Giants as a reliever and became one of the National League’s premier starting pitchers just a year later. In 2010, 12 years later, Russ retired at the highest level in the game. Some of the key highlights from his career include being the starting pitcher for a total of 241 games, achieving 108 career wins, and striking out over 1000 batters. And perhaps one of the most impressive statistics in his career was that in over 1480 innings of work on the mound, he only committed 4 fielding errors! Any aspiring pitcher would be thrilled if you told them this would be their career.

Nowadays, Russ is focusing his attention on his other passions; family, his golfing apparel company (2GG Apparel), and giving back to charities.

In this episode, Howard and Russ take a deep dive into Russ’ career and explore the specifics of what made him so successful in what he did. Russ shares the key mindset pieces he learned from a young age that propelled his career forward, the key tipping factors that got him to a place where he could compete professionally (beyond raw talent), and the key lessons he learned in regards to taking your game to the next level. Russ also explains the mental edge that separated him from his opponents, top-level performance strategies, and some of the most important lessons he learned late in his career that had the biggest impact on his game.

Don’t miss this week’s conversation to get a peek inside the mind of a former Major League Baseball all-star pitcher!


Key Takeaways

[:49] About today’s episode with Russ Ortiz!

[3:35] Howard welcomes Russ to the podcast.

[3:59] What drove Russ’ competitive spirit? Did he always have this same dream, even from a young age?

[7:51] Russ shares a key realization in his baseball journey early on: a calm, clear mindset leads to fewer mistakes and that you should work from an offensive, strategic place; not a reactionary, emotional place.

[10:50] Russ speaks about his journey from playing in high school to being picked up by Oklahoma as well as some of the key lessons he learned.

[12:50] Russ reflects on his college team where they won a college world series in his junior year.

[13:54] Key players in Russ’ journey and success.

[14:20] Russ shares when he made the switch between throwing and pitching and how he came to understand the ‘next level’ of the game.

[16:16] The importance of mindset and mental strength.

[16:49] Important lessons Russ learned in crafting a successful career and becoming a star pitcher.

[23:22] Why you need more than talent on the field to be successful; you need that mental edge.

[27:37] The fine line of the ego in sports and doing what is best for the team rather than what’s best for you.

[31:58] Key mindset pieces in playing a team sport at a high level.

[33:04] Where to find Howard’s books, I AM and Time in a Bottle, online.

[33:59] After Russ got drafted out of Oklahoma, what did that first game feel like? And how did he prepare mentally to take his game to the next level?

[40:18] Did Russ ever have any doubts about facing anybody or find himself intimidated by a particular hitter?

[43:24] The importance of respecting your opponent.

[45:04] Did Russ feel any extra pressure after becoming the ace for the Giants? What did he learn in that first year?

[49:19] The needed work, love, respect, and passion that is crucial to maintaining your success as an athlete.

[54:19] Key takeaways for top-level performance: having a macro view, being continually curious, and embracing vulnerability.

[55:45] Did Russ always believe in himself? How did he get to this place?

[1:01:48] About Howard’s online private coaching sessions.

[1:02:35] Russ shares what it was like to pitch in the world series.

[1:06:05] Russ elaborates on a belief of his about how your faith in succeeding has to be greater than your fear of not executing.

[1:12:15] Russ shares an important lesson he learned late into his career: whoever adjusts fastest wins.

[1:15:55] Key aspects of competing at the highest level.

[1:16:13] Key highlights from Russ’ career

[1:17:37] Russ’ shares his best pieces of advice for young athletes.

[1:23:05] What life looks like for Russ, now 10-years retired!

[1:25:26] Does Russ still watch the game?

[1:26:03] Howard thanks Russ for sharing his incredible insight on today’s podcast!


Mentioned in this Episode

Russ Ortizs Twitter: @OURuss

Russ Ortizs LinkedIn

2GG Apparel

I AM: The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are, by Howard Falco

Time in a Bottle: Mastering The Experience of Life, by Howard Falco


About Your Host | Howard Falco

Howard Falco is an author and expert on self-empowerment and mindfulness. He is a mental strength coach to college and professional athletes and those looking for next-level results. His books are: I AM: The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are and Time in a Bottle: Mastering The Experience of Life. His work offers the deepest and most powerful awareness available on self-creation and the mindset for optimal success.


Stay Connected!

To find more episodes or learn more, visit:,, and Howard's Foundation for the work can be found here -

Connect with Howard on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram


More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu