The Walt Whitman quote seems to work for Cito Gaston's conversations with reporters over the last while. Most of the time I don't worry about people contradicting themselves because, well, if you talk about anything enough you will contradict yourself. Including baseball managers. It really doesn't do anyone any good to hard and fast rules since managers are dealing with people who all have their own personalities. That's true of Cito too. The other day, talking about batting orders, he gave conflicting reasons for batting guys where he intends to.
Adam Lind batting 3rd:
"I've preached it a lot and I've lived by it too, I like to keep people comfortable," Gaston said on Monday. "I played this game and if you're not comfortable where you are, sometimes you don't perform.
Which seems fair...but then Lind only hit 4th in 4 games last year and hit .294/.294/.471, not enough of a sample to tell anything about. Cito was clear that he hadn't talked to Lind about the move this off season. Maybe if he talked to him he'd say, "I'm fine, I'll hit where you tell me, whatever is best for the team". Maybe if the manager didn't remind everyone that he didn't like hitting fourth then it might all work out.
On Vernon Wells batting 4th:
Fourth? You're looking at center fielder Vernon Wells as the cleanup man to open the year. Gaston said he doesn't want to "tear down Vernon's confidence." He went on to say, "We need him to come back and be himself. It's all about trying to get the best out of people and trying to put them in a place where they're comfortable."
Similar, but why not build up Lind's confidence if you think cleanup is the glamour spot in the order. I'm not a big fan of the idea of putting a guy in a spot to show confidence in them because if you 'show confidence in one guy you are showing a lack of it in another guy. Put in the guy that you think will do best and forget about comfort and confidence..
Then on Jose Bautista hitting leadoff:
"Devon White didn't want to be a leadoff hitter. I said, `Devon, it's just one time.' After that it was all right. I never asked him to act like a leadoff hitter, like to go up there and walk. (I said) go up there and be aggressive and he did that and he was great."
Which seems to be the opposite of what he said about Lind. I don't know. I believe this a lot more than the other. I believe if you tell a player he is going to do X, tell him he can do X and then leave him there to do it, he will get comfortable (within reasonable limits). Same as I believe if you put Lind in 4th and tell him he can do the job he will. But if you tell him he's not good enough to play 4th, he'll likely prove you right too. The same as I believe if you told him he could play left, I'm sure he'd learn to do ok, but if you tell him he can only DH then what is the incentive to get better.