Two real-life anecdotes, and then some source material. Then, the happy ending. Relax your shoulders and jaw. Baseball is for fun. We insist :- )
Roenis Elias wound up and fired the first pitch at 10:41 PM last night, DVR time. Dr. D's shoulders and jaw clenched. That can't be. ... Elias wound up and threw again. Same thing: he both fell off toward third base, and didn't finish the pitch, and had the body language of a guy who had just fought with his wife for two hours. About what happened to the money that was here the other day.
Elias didn't fall off the mound like Bob Gibson. He fell to 3B with the air of a juvenile delinquent heaving a brick through a window and then walking off in disgust. Here's the 93 MPH, catcher, and if something good happens so be it.
It took exactly five pitches, and SLAM all of a sudden Dr. Deluded understood what Lloyd McClendon meant. Change the culture. Baseball is seldom an emotional experience for Dr. D any more, but those first five pitches left him shocked, and saddened, and alarmed. You can imagine what this morning's news did to him, in convergence.
This is a kid who needs a new attitude. Such attitude can be provided in two minutes' bake time, like a McDonald's cookie. What you'd have to do, though, is change his environment. As a great philosopher said, your environment is not your wall-to-wall carpeting and it is not your health plan. Your environment is the people.
Second anecdote is from Win Forever.
Pete Carroll talks about two youth football programs that he visited one day. The first practice he attended was "correct." The drills were set up properly for the age group. The coaches knew their material thoroughly. The practice was perfectly competent. The kids were being taught football.
The second practice ... "I knew before I shut my car door that this would be a different practice." The energy, the optimism, the attitude were all extra-class. The coaches took joy in the game and in the children. The program was a winning one, and "it wouldn't have mattered what players they had. The results would have been the same."
Carroll's chapter on Coaches. It's a revelation. The Seattle Seahawks do not get leadership from Kam Chancellor* or from any of their players. They get leadership from Carroll, and he relies on his coaches for true day-in, day-out leadership. The problem with using players for leadership, you understand, is Kam Chancellor.
Anyway, the city of Seattle has had two contrasting franchises presented to them. It's as clear as laying diamonds on black velvet. One franchise is vibrant, hopeful, joyful, directed. The other is sour, frustrated, somehow corrupted in a way that is hard to articulate. It's not just SSI's opinion. Eric Wedge and Tony Blengino, asked their opinions of the problem, went right to the point. The personality of the Mariners organization is self-inhibiting.
I don't know why baseball bloggers consider baseball to be --- > a sport that is unique, a sport subject only to mathematics, a sport that is outside the province of sport psychology. I suppose that to a man with a hammer, every problem is a nail
Premise 1. You certainly can impose vision and personality onto a sports franchise. Proof 1. The current Seahawks. Premise 2. The Mariners are a sports franchise. Conclusion. You think you can take it from here?
Kevin Mather can take it from here. He said little about why Zduriencik was fired, but he did say two things. These two things cut through the fog like the horn of an ocean liner:
1) He said that he believes that Zduriencik's system, his leadership, his vision, were not going to take the Mariners from point A to point B going forward. (It was nice to hear him say that Point B was winning multiple championships.)
2) He said that the new GM would be given full reign to clean house, and that the new house would have a different attitude.
For Dr. D, Kevin Mather's statements had excellent coherence and clarity. He said just a few things, and they were exactly the things that Dr. D wanted to hear. We don't know that Mather will find the GM to impose a Carroll- or Beane-like unified vision, but we do know that he is on point here.
Postscript: Lloyd McClendon's (real-world) street cred just took a Kam-sized hit. Over the final month, there is chaos and uncertainty in the M's locker room. There are times that "chaos and uncertainty" are preferable to "stability." That's when "stability" means "bad things happening predictably."
The cream rises to the top. Will be interesting to see who plays well going forward, starting tonight.
* "When we do get leadership from players, it's an advantage we're happy to have, but we don't rely on it."