This series/season hasn’t gone the way we thought/hoped it would. Some thoughts:
Changing the Culture:
In the off-season, a lot was made of how they wanted to change the culture. We wanted to be more professional, whatever that means. The players were having too much fun. There was the Barrio. There was the home run jacket. Storylines that came from my father’s generation. We have heard it for years. We heard it with José Bautista and friends. We heard it from Jerry Howarth when José Reyes smiled after having a bad game. It is one of those arguments that I’ve always rejected out of hand. In my dad’s generation, work was work; you weren’t supposed to enjoy it, and baseball was work for the players. Funny enough, he came around on the celebrations for home runs and players enjoying themselves on the field late in life.
Now, of course, we are watching other teams have fun. Of course, it is hard to have fun when you are beaten 10-0, but maybe we could have kept the home run jacket.
Defense Over Offense
Part of the off-season makeover was a change from poor fielding sluggers to better fielding fast guys.
Every year, there is a new idea on how to win. When I was young, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series with a bunch of guys who could steal bases. After that, everyone wanted base stealers. The Yankees, in particular, traded hitters to get faster players. Surprisingly enough, in Yankee Stadium, that didn’t turn out to be a winning philosophy.
Last year, we lost in a 3-game playoff because:
- In game one, the Mariners pitcher had a terrific game.
- In game two, a ball fell between the infield and the outfield. If is was hit a tiny bit better, Springer would have caught it, and a tiny bit worse, Bo would have caught it.
And we decided slugging doesn’t work.
Vlad Not Being Vlad
Of course, if Vlad was having a decent season, none of the above would matter. We’d be easily in a playoff spot. There are a lot of suggestions on why he isn’t:
- Wrist/knee issue. He hasn’t looked right. It isn’t tough to figure there might be something wrong. It’s a possibility.
- Lost his friends/mentors in the dugout. Much was made of Lourdes Gurriel being a great teammate, great at helping his teammates. And He and Teoscar were very tight. Sometimes it is good to have a Co-worker to bounce things off of, to laugh with, to help make the long work days shorter. I spent a weekend ‘working’ with an old friend who I just got along with. We mesh very well. Together, we are better than either of us apart (even if we maybe stayed up too late and had maybe a little too much to drink). So I can understand it being an issue.
- Getting off to a slow start and trying to make up for it in every at-bat/trying to carry the team when things weren’t going well for the team. There is likely a special pressure when you are ‘the man,’ and the team isn’t performing.
- And, of course, the above-mentioned change of culture. Vlad seems like someone who does better when he’s having fun. The idea of being more professional.
Lack of Urgency
I truly don’t know what urgency looks like on the baseball field. It isn’t like hockey or football where you go hit someone to get your teammates up on the bench. I don’t know what the baseball equivalent of that is. If you don’t hit, it is hard to show energy. The unfortunate thing with losing is you must say, ‘well, we’ll do better next series’. There isn’t much more you can do.
The ‘we are going to be more aggressive’ thing is about all you can do to show urgency, but it is hard to be more aggressive on the basepaths when no one gets on the basepaths.
Fire Them All/Trade Them All
Well, I don’t want them trading guys when they have a bad year. Selling low is a bad thing. The same folks who want them all traded would complain about what you get for them. We wanted Gurriel traded last year, and then we had complaints about the return.
Fire them all? Fans always want managers/coaches fired. We had fire Gibbons/Manoya/Schneider. I don’t see the point, but sure. OOTP Baseball: I fire pitching coaches/batting coaches often. I don’t know that it does anything. And firing the last half dozen managers hasn’t really done anything.
Losing is Frustrating
Is it ever. I’ve said ‘Don’t let your sports team control your mood so often this year it auto-fills when I type it.
Anyway, use the thread to vent, if it helps.