baseball gods productions

Thoughts about baseball, from the perspective of sports psychology and the role of sports in society. It includes team and player analysis, predictions, and what I think needs to be changed in Major League Baseball. Brought to you from the heart of baseball, Brooklyn, by baseball gods productions.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pretty vs. Gritty part two

I ran into an old friend (a Yankee fan) yesterday, and he said he'd read the Mets were grittier than they used to be. He thought that they'd be in great shape when the parade of injured stars comes back in the next few weeks. I agreed that the Mets would certainly be adding more talent than any other team over the next few weeks, even if only half their guys actually make it back. But what happens when you add pretty to gritty? Does the grit rub off on the stars, and make the whole team tougher, or does the pretty rub off on the gritty role-players, and everyone goes back to the way the Mets have played the past two Septembers: full of stars and no toughness at all?

Then the Mets go out and play a crappy game against the Phillies, losing to a guy who hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2007. Okay, so the team used to be about a 3 on the grit scale of 1-100, and then they went up to about a 22. Much grittier, but in the scheme of things still way behind the Phillies (were a 90, now maybe a 55?) and the Marlins (always at least an 80, even though they kick the ball around a lot). Even the Braves have a good chance to end up ahead of the Mets this year, since they have always beaten the Mets in the player development and player acquisition departments.

When teams get in the mode of waiting for stars to return, they often slump once the guys get back in the lineup, because the guys who have been carrying the load subconsciously ease up. The returning stars haven't gotten their timing and confidence back yet, and suddenly the whole team is spiralling down again.

The key players for the Mets over the next few weeks will be Johan Santana, David Wright, Francisco Rodriguez, and Ryan Church. The current leaders will need to step up and keep it up while the team transitions back into the star-studded, underachieving team of the recent past.

Most importantly, they need Santana to get back to his dominant self that we haven't seen in many weeks. I just think he has to be injured for his slump to go on this long. He doesn't look right at all, his velocity has been down, his strikeouts down, walks up, and his temper has been flaring up an awful lot. The team rarely plays well behind him (true since he joined the team), and it seems to be getting to him.

Fair or not, he has the team on his back, and he needs to do some heavy lifting, with help from Wright, Church, and Rodriguez. If the team expects Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, Maine, Perez, Putz, and Wagner to dramatically improve the results right away, they will be sorely disappointed.

Caroms Off the Wall

About the red hats: give each team a choice of a red, white, or blue hat with the red/white/blue logo, if you absolutely must have these stupid patriotic hats for Memorial Day, July 4th, and whatever else the marketing gurus come up with.

The Mets looked like Phillies or Soviets or Red Chinese. Bad!

© Judy Kamilhor 2009



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