Tagged: Psychological Game

Mister Rogers Mind Games

Could this be a latter day Tiger, Kenny Rogers, game?

One of Cobb’s most devastating approaches to baseball and perhaps the one that left the most lasting impression was his psychological intimidation. One part of that particular program was to nurture his image as a monster that both he and the media were creating. The more horrible that opponents thought that he was, the more that he felt that he could manipulate them to his advantage. For example, it was a good thing that opposing fielders thought that he sharpened his spikes.

Cobb’s Psychological Tactics

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Mister Rogers Excuses Himself to Wash His Hands

FOX Sports - MLB - La Russa: ’I don’t believe it was dirt La Russa: ’I don’t believe it was dirt’

LaRussa broadcasts to the Tigers he doesn’t believe a word of it. On the other hand, he doesn’t complain too loudly. Why? Jason at Baseball & the Boogie Down Bronx points to a clue. Remember, we’re talking about the same LaRussa that managed both Canseco and McGwire in Oakland, and never suspected a thing.

Of course controversy sells newspapers, and tickets. But the great circus here is the lies. No one’s story matches up. Ultimately baseball protects its own.

So why isn’t Rogers as hated as that other "cheater", Bonds? How much evidence do you need for a cheat? The same clump of dirt, in three different games? A head three hat sizes too large? And are some accomplishments so much more significant than others that fans will accept skewed results for one, but not the other.

Maybe Mister Rogers will have his own reality show on ESPN next year.

Spring Training

What a great spring!

Some fans didn’t care for the World Baseball Classic, but I loved it.  It was delightful to see a ballpark filled with oriental characters.  Baseball and cherry blossoms are suited for one another.  Moreover, the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Taiwanese play the game the way I like to see it played.  I am a huge fan of small ball.  It is the minutiae of the game which holds my attention. 

Those who think baseball is boring simply don’t understand the game.  A skilled batter is not simply attempting to hit the pitch.  He is attempting to hit the pitch with purpose.  Sometimes the intent is to hit into the gap, or behind a runner.  Occasionally the purpose is to wear the pitcher down. At other times the purpose is to probe weaknesses in the defense, or to discover what the pitcher will throw in a particular situation for future reference.  Often an at bat has multiple purposes, and varies depending on how the at bat unfolds, which is obviously dependent on what the pitcher, who also has his objectives, throws. 

Like the batter, the pitcher may be setting up his opponent for a future encounter.  I read once how Greg Maddux gave up a home run in a game which was out of reach simply to set up the batter for a situation down the road where the game was still in contest and he could do the unexpected.  Pitchers are sometimes tuning their control, finding out which pitches work for them.

So both the pitcher and the batter are pursuing subtle objectives with each at bat.  At no time is this more true than during spring training.  A pitcher might throw a dozen curve balls in a row, simply to work on his curve ball.  Competition is put aside for the sheer mechanics of the game.  And thanks to MLB, which has embraced the possibilities of the Internet better than any other sport in my humble opinion, everyone can now immerse themselves in the minutiae of the game that is the spring training experience.  –amn