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Patience Not Always A Virtue In And Of Itself

Since 49.9% of you couldn’t hear the radio broadcast of the World Series, 49.9% of you refused to because you don’t like Joe Morgan, and then there’s me and Soaker, I wanted to share one bit of analysis that seemed worth repeating.

While Jon Miller was marveling at this new invention he had never seen called a "curveball!" (that was just for the Jon Miller critics – I love the guy), the commentator who shall remain nameless quoted Terry Francona discussing the difference between the Red Sox hitters’ approach and the Oakland A’s hitters’ approach. I’ll paraphrase it, as accurately as it can be conveyed by a journalist irresponsibly citing third-hand information he heard a week ago.

Francona basically said the Red Sox believed in being patient and waiting for their pitch, just as the A’s did, but that Red Sox hitters would swing at the first pitch, or any pitch, if it was their pitch – after all “their pitch” is precisely what they were waiting for. No matter what the count, Red Sox hitters were looking to swing at a good pitch to hit. Francona said when he was with the A’s, the A’s organization seemed to preach patience for the sake of patience, as if seeing more pitches was better in and of itself. As the Red Sox hitters were being patient, killing the ball, and winning the World Series, I couldn’t help but think their philosophy might be a tad wiser – especially because it wasn’t just David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez using their superior ability to make this philosophy work, it was hitters up and down the lineup taking the approach I really believe in. See…

…Imagine you’re at a supermarket. You’re scanning the cereal section, looking for Corn Flakes, because Corn Flakes are what you really want. There are dozens of cereals lined up in row after row, so you figure heck, you have to start somewhere and you turn your head to some random spot. Your gaze happens to fall upon “Corn Flakes”. You say, “Hmm, Corn Flakes – just what I want, “ and then look a little to your right and see Raisin Bran, go down a row and see Honey Bunches of Goats – sorry, Oats – and next to it, Frosted Flakes, and then you look up and see Corn Flakes and put it in your shopping cart…

…Are you out of your mind? If you’re looking for Corn Flakes and the first thing you see is Corn Flakes, you don’t need to keep looking! Especially if by looking, you let the pitcher get ahead 0-1 all the time, and…What was I saying? Oh right, cereal. Did you notice how many tough two-strike pitches Big Papi and Manny spoiled off before eventually getting hits – pitches that guys like Cust and Chavez and Swisher routinely take for called third strikes? Lessons here, lessons there, lessons lessons everywhere!