Sunday, May 15, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays (L5-4) Season 22-15

Rainy days and Mondays get me down.

The roof came on, the Sox came off the track, beaten among other things by Miguel Olivo with three hits, a home run, and an infield single scoring a run from second, as the Sox lost at Seattle 5-4. From an 0-27 streak to 'man of the match', so it goes for Olivo.

Tim Wakefield took the loss, not pitching so effectively as courageously.

In the 'Manny doesn't care' department, he ripped the cover off the ball, including a three-run dinger (his 4ooth) and narrowly missed tying the game with a shot to right center that the redoubtable Ichiro tracked down.

Ichiro (as noted by Jerry Remy) is worth watching every day, and one has to wonder whether he will someday be enshrined at Cooperstown.

The infield, after showing some signs of life, went 1 for 15 and continues to drag the offense down.

Editorial comment. It has become fashionable to criticize the critics (of anyone and anything) as lacking credibility because they 'never played the game'. Certainly, only an elite few achieve the status of playing major league baseball. Those who do occasionally commit the mental errors of Little Leaguers (forgetting how many outs there are, failing to back up bases, missed signs, etc). They also (so we hear) occasionally stay out to late and don't always take care of themselves in the way that might affect optimum performance (alcohol). The critics might call this unprofessional baseball.

It's hard to imagine mere mortals understanding rocket science like the 'double switch', crossover step, cutoff man, 'cutter', 'circle change', indicators and signs, hitting behind the runner, bat speed, arm 'angle', baserunning speed versus acumen, take-out slide, inside-out swing, and the ethos of 'playing the game'. It's throwing the 90 mile-an-hour fastball, fielding the hot corner, and identifying and reacting to the round ball with the round bat in 0.4 seconds that we can't perform, not our ability to understand the problem.

Fans and critics alike demand mental and physical effort, and find it difficult to tolerate less than maximal effort. Players argue that fans don't appreciate the grind of the 162 game season, travel, night games, time away from family, living in hotel rooms, injuries, et cetera. Maybe we do; this explains why hitting .300 makes you an All-Star, the best pitchers seldom have career winning percentages of .600, and why fans pony up their hard-earned money to watch their idols.

You don't hear many fans criticizing the Variteks, Nixons, or Ortizes of the world, because they always feel they're getting 100% from these players. In fact, the critics generally are criticizing outcome measurements, rather than effort, the former being far more random than generally accepted. As long as fans are expending the emotional resources and dollars to idolize their heroes, the players will have to accept the criticism. No different from most professions, except we don't have the million dollar paychecks, the television cameras and the paparazzi. Right? Vive la difference.

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