General Sports

Baseball Success is a Choice

Strike one, fastball outside corner. Strike two, swinging strike on pitch in his eyes. Strike three, curveball in the dirt…Who’s batting? Cory Patterson of course. Is it a matter of talent or is the problem 100% mental? Everyone keeps talking about how gifted of a player Cory is and how he’s going to be an All Star for a decade when he “grows up”. So what the point in having talent if your mental difficulties just block it and how long do you wait for a player to develop? Is it possibly for a whole team to mentally kill themselves time after time even though they have enough talent to win? By all means, just ask the Cubs.The Cubs have as much talent, if not more, than any team in serious contention for the playoffs. So why do I think they don’t have enough a slight chance of outplaying the Astros for the wildcard? EXCUSES. The excuses start from the manager. Why does everyone love playing for Dusty Baker? Because you’re never wrong. There’s always something that Dusty will bring up as a reason for your individual or the team’s failures to take the blame away from where it deserves to be. Dusty brings up the fans booing LaTroy Hawkins when they should be booing him and his team. If he worried half as much about everything but his team actually playing, the Cubs might be sitting a little better in the standings. When the Cubs played Boston and Tim Wakefield earlier this year, Dusty had a classic line asking how did anyone expected the Cubs to hit him when they have never seen him before. These are professionals that have scouts and Dusty gave up because “they’ve never seen him before”. When a player or a team doesn’t take responsibility for their actions, they can never grow and mature enough to become a true winner. Cory Patterson was babied and now he’s doing even worse in AAA. An unhealthy attitude can be absolutely detrimental for a player and a team.  

On the other hand you have “overachieving” teams like the White Sox and A’s. Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen are proactive people that take responsibility for their own and their teams actions. The positive attitude Ozzie brings to the team is the mental edge that no other team in baseball has. The Cubs might have a more talented roster overall, but the Sox come up with the big hit or play at the right time. This is not simply by chance. The Sox players know that Kenny and Ozzie will do all they can to win, while the Cubs front office has from time to time had other motivations. Kenny went out and got Scott Podsednik, who is the key to their offensive production.  The A’s on the other hand know they are going to win. They have been doing it for years, and just because the team is young, doesn’t mean that tradition is going to stop. The attitude the A’s have comes from the top too, in Billy Beane. He built a team that ended up overachieving because the franchise showed confidence in their young players. These two franchises try to stay as from excuses as they can.

When will the Cubs actually get serious about winning? The attitude comes from the top and ends with the players. The Sox and A’s have figured it out. The Cubs have a chance when Dusty and his $14 Million stops worrying about the fans and stops making excuses for his players because they can’t grow up without taking responsibility for their failures.

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