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Are We Missing More Than Offense?

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non se•qui•tur (n.)

1. An inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence.
2. A statement that does not follow logically from what preceded it.

Nothing will make you lose credibility faster than pointing to an event in baseball and drawing a desired, but erroneous conclusion from it. Sample trigger words include, ‘gritty’, ‘hustle’, ‘fire’, and ‘Ozzie’.

Knowing this, it would have been awfully irresponsible of me to title yesterday’s wrapup: ‘Manager Ejection in Fifth Leads Team to Rally in Ninth’, as tempting as it might have been. It’s certainly been done before, and it probably sounds a little better than: ‘Awesome Closer Stupidly Hangs 0-2 Pitch to Rookie, Basically Handing Over the Save to the Other Team’.

Funny game, baseball. In other sports, you can watch your manager get kicked out of the game arguing a call, or watch the other team take cheap shots at your best player, and use these actions to fuel the anger and passion necessary to play at another level. With the proper motivation, other sports can play just a little bit better.

Baseball is not always exempt; we see pitchers being fired up all the time, sometimes resulting in ‘a little something extra’ on the ball. Yet it seems to me that the art of hitting isn’t something that relies intensely on player emotions. No matter how angry the A’s offense might become, it still won’t translate into bat speed or hitting competence, and as good of a story as it may seem, Geren getting tossed--even while saving the game in the very real sense that it kept Chavez in it--had nothing to do with Buck’s homerun in the ninth or the Piazza/Johnson run in the tenth.

Yet, what is it about a manager getting ejected that brings such a sense of satisfaction to the players and fan base alike? I know for me, this was high on my list of frustrations with Ken Macha. I hated when Macha refused to argue a call, or seemingly stand up for one of his players, or basically show any emotion at all at a perceived injustice on the field. And, interestingly enough, my frustration had nothing at all to do with the fact that I though it would make a tangible difference in the game. I don’t think Chavez, brimming with righteous indignation, was going to be able to ‘hit one for the gipper’ off anyone that pitched last night. I don’t think it logically follows that offensive performance somehow increases with an increase in passion and fire.

Yet even by that token, I would say that passion and fire are part what this A’s team is missing, and it was nice to see even a brief glimpse of it last night. But why? Is passion and fire, coming from the top down, a necessary ingredient for a winning team? Does it matter--either in the long or short run--if a manager never moves from the bench, or if he ‘Sweet Lou’s’ it up all over the place? And taking it a step further, do we miss more than Milton’s bat on the field?

Thoughts to ponder while we wait for the game to start, as the A's go for the sweep in Fenway. That's right; I said it.

Game time 4:05 PT.

Poll

How do you feel about emotion on the baseball field?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Our team performs better with passionate players/managers.
    (77 votes)
  • 61%
    Getting fired up helps in certain situations, when needed.
    (194 votes)
  • 13%
    Our players are what they are, and getting fired up won't help.
    (44 votes)
  • 0%
    Our team performs worse when fired up.
    (2 votes)
317 votes total Vote Now