Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Extra Innings

Just so we have an understanding. I don't normally read the comments, much less respond to them. No different from when I played. I never read the papers. Ignored the radio. Didn't watch the news (yes...they did have television back then). And never even heard a peep from the fans although I'm sure they were screaming all sorts of stuff in my direction.

But the last comment that was posted Tuesday evening caught my attention. Don't ask me why I even read it. Like I said, I normally don't. And going forward, I probably won't. But the "anonymous" comment was truly an intelligent thought followed by a very perceptive question. So perceptive in fact, that it almost seemed like it came from a professional. Such a simple thought and question but loaded for bear. Almost like the questions I get from . . . the Doc!

I mean really Doc . . . proding me from the comment line? You didn't think I would notice? But that still doesn't change the fact that your thought and question have intrigued me. So, I thought it might serve me well to respond. Forgive me if I go Jerry McGuire.

You're right in an absolute sense. Just, "do your job, watch them, grade them, file your report and move on." That's my basic responsibility to my organization. But what about my responsibility to the game of baseball itself? Baseball is more than something that just sustains me. The game is a part of me. It is who I am. Just like a fingerprint. My identity. And if part of me is in declining health, I notice it. I feel it. It brings me down.

Those kids didn't "suck." Quite the contrary. That draft-and-follow pitcher is a real flame thrower with terrific tools. He's got a great future ahead of him, IF he can truly respect, appreciate, and approach the game like a professional. His level of mental awareness was more centered around himself rather than the game. A growing problem among younger players. And as more and more players adopt this approach, the face of the game will slowly start to contort and morph. It already has. This is just something that I've seen over the last ten or so years and the potential ramifications disturb me.

I would also say that the parents aren't helping matters. They're pushing their kids harder than ever. Of course, they are very aware that the stakes are higher than ever. But if little Johnny is out there simply playing for a top dollar draft slot, I've got news for him, he ain't gonna make it long term. Compared to ten years ago, I see more kids today with better physical talent but their mental approach to the game is much weaker. You can have a personal trainer, a batting coach, the best agent in the world, and a lock on all five-tools, but if your mental approach is nowhere centered on the game you can expect to join the growing list of guys who cashed in their fat bonus check and walked away without ever coming close to their potential.

And management isn't at all innocent either. It all starts at the top. The teams with the highest payroll are looking to fill their roster with the top individual players in their respective positions. But why don't they win every year? Perhaps because they're enough players still around that get it and respect the game and the team more than their own individual recognition and status. But as more and more big league players decide to adopt or buy into a mental approach centered around themselves (even though that approach wasn't what got them to the Big Show to begin with), the game will become more diluted for lack of better words, and the best individuals will start to win more pennants no matter.

Once a majority of players think that the game needs them more than they need the game, that will be a very sad day for me and an even more sad day for baseball. That is what I'm worried about.


Anonymous not your doc said...

Thanks for the kind words about my comment. Be assured, I am not your doc. Nor am I a doc. But when you say you won't read comments from now on, I have to wonder: did my comment anger you? Why?

You say you are defending the integrity of the game -- and the game is part of who you are. Are you really defending only the game? Or are you defending part of yourself and your life?

And don't most young kids in almost every profession lack the sense of perspective and total committment that only comes after repeated kicks in the butt that go so deep the cleats come out of your mouth?

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear cutter -

would you please explain what you mean by "your mental approach is nowhere centered on the game"

what IS it centered on?

and what is it you think it SHOULD be centered on?

if you want to succeed in the ML how could you get there or stay there without committment?

lisa gray

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're losing a lot of readers.. and I'm about to be one of them.

You need to update more often... not once every two weeks.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miss your daily posts. Bummer.

12:58 PM  

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