Esprit De Corps
Houston 12 (and counting), M's 0


Esprit De Corps

noun - is-pree da kor 

:: Feelings of pride in being a member of a group; a feeling of enthusiasm, loyalty, and devotion to a group among members of that group

Dr. D, in one of his other writing gigs, so happens to be collaborating with a U.S. Airborne Ranger on the nature of challenge and commitment.  We trust you can fill in the blanks on that one.  The attitudes of pride, of camaraderie, of confidence, they're elusive.  Rangers believe that they are the best in the world at what they do.  I think they're right.  Try not to tick them off.


Every time you see another game like Sunday's, it makes you wonder that much more.  The 21-year-old Lance McCullers was taking his warmups, chatting easily and laughing with his catcher in a way you would never see Taijuan Walker do.  "GO OUT THERE AND COMPETE!  YOU GOT A 97-MILES-AN-HOUR FASTBALL, NOW PITCH LIKE IT!"  

Roenis Elias, as he started the game, seemed to be swimming through slop.  His first four pitches seemed nowhere near the plate, his first couple outs were rifle shots to outfielders.  The position players seemed to be moving as if in a dirge.

It was weirdly zombie-like, and that was before we read this little gem from Daddy-O:


Reportedly McClendon in a team meeting told them, among other things, that if they can't get the job done they will find someone who will. It's a good, standard kind of management line, but any fool who steps back and looks at the last decade plus would have to ask the obvious question: "When in the last ten plus years has this team demonstrated the ability to find players who can get the job done? What makes you think on this sinking ship that suddenly you can do so?"


:: taps chin ::

Usually -- not always but usually -- a 2nd-level manager walks in and starts yelling like that after --- > he has sat down with his 3rd-level manager and they have agreed that it's the grunts' fault.  His boss has empowered him to kick tail and take names, to get things turned around.

Gotta say, this is Zduriencik's low point for me.  From 2008 to here, the date June 14 2015 is the most pessimistic I've felt about the man.


As a completely separate issue, I always h-a-t-e-d the type of coaching that growls at a rookie pitcher, "He's trying to take your salary from you.  Man up."  I mean, if you're a football guard, that could help.  But a baseball player?!  You "psyche up" as a baseball player, you go out swinging hard - and miss.  It's a surgeon's game, a game for golfers.  You coach boxers differently than you do golfers.

Lou used to rage at rookie pitchers, too.  But then, he was never known for getting much out of them.  Sometimes Lou's shtick worked, and sometimes it didn't.  It was the right place, right time in the middle 90's.  It was wrong place, wrong time a lot, too.

It was back in the 1960's that John Wooden taught the world that good coaching consists of 10% "why" and 90% "how."  Taijuan doesn't need to want it more.  He needs the right idea out there.  And he needs to believe that it will work, when he does it right.  And he needs to enjoy being a Seattle Mariner.  Not a ballplayer, a Seattle Mariner.



He's got a saying, Jack Z does, "talent wins."  He believes that, and it makes sense.  What he means by that is, if he has to sacrifice other things for talent, he'll do so.  Those other things are, like, being good family men, having good makeup, being resilient, having baseball intellligence, and so forth.  Zduriencik simply believes that if you stockpile more talent than the other guy, then you'll be fine. 

And that's fair enough.

But right now, you'd have to say, the evidence is coming in on the other side.  Pat Gillick's touch for a roster composition, Tony LaRussa's knack for pointing his finger at the right player in the right role, Tommy Lasorda's infectious joy for the game of baseball, none of it is mixed into all this "talent" and ... it shows.

Baseball hot dogs apple pie and Chevrolet,

Dr D




In my latest response to your previous thread, I just said I thought it was time to make the change in the front office.  I like McClendon as a man, I do.  However, he's not a winner as a manager.  Sorry.  I don't know if the next guy will punch better buttons, but I do think the psychology of this team will change for the better.

How do you tell a pitcher he has to "want" it more?  What does that mean?  Now try super-duper hard, kid?  Huh-uh.

If you're two seasons into a kids career and he doesn't want it....then you'r 1 season too far.  But often "wanting it" is confused with "doing it."  When Taijuan or Elias (being young) look good, then Manager says they were "focused" and "had the right mental stuff" for that game.  When they struggle....well it is because they didn't take The Skip's advice and "want" it more.

Did Felix not "want it" yesterday?


Did the Manager "not want it" enough today.  His charges sure were flat.  Has he nothing to do with that?

You get the picture.

It's time.  McClendon isn't working out.  This team is treading water....and some of the personel decisions (and I'm sure Mac had something to do with them) haven't worked out.

Some have, mind you.  But, in the end, this is a flailing, poorly constructed lineup.

I've said before that Bloomquist would be not terrible as a manager.  Move him out and into the Manager's office. I don't know if he would be The White Rat from day one.....but he wouldn't be any worse than what we have. Is there anybody in the dugout who would do a better job?  Jewett has AAA managerial experience....but he's the Skip's guy.  They go way back.  Wouldn't be a change.  Donnelly? Probably a great guy.......but something different?  IDK?  

HoJo or Van Slyke would likely be different, I think...

But they came in with Mac, too.

Make decision now...before the plane trip to the left coast.

BTW, neither Jones or Guti is in the lineup today.  Facing a lefty, so it may make sense that Jones is out.  Hicks (of all people) pinch ran for Guti in the 11th inning on Friday.  Guti hasn't played since.  I wonder if he's tweaked again.  Again.  Again.  Again.

And on cue.....(considering my post in the previous thread) O'Malley homered vs. the lefty today.  Romero with a double.

Dollars to donuts we have somebody new fly to meet the team in Frisco tomorrow.

And they may shake hands with a new manager.








Sadly, I like Mac, his time may be short. With their latest lackadaisical, no response performance (except poking the 'Stros 8-1) it appears change in the dugout might shake this crew up. They have collectively tuned Mac out this year and the results are putrid. Not that listening to him would help. Almost everyone has regressed or maintained replacement level performance compared to last year. The exceptions are too easy to identify : Seager, Cruz, Felix (is he finally cracking?), Austin Jackson (really?), Carson Smith, Montgomery? Who else? Seth Smith is a great replacement and he needs help. I can't imagine Z being terribly patient with results this year.


Right. There is no way they let Jack pick another manager, is there? And if not, then do you trust him to make big mid-season trades? 


Agreed, if indeed things continue as they have been and Lloyd is fired.

The bigger question is, should that happen, will Howard and Kevin be the ones hiring a new GM. I certainly hope not.

IceX's picture

There was no way Elias was going to perform well today after the chewing out LLoyd gave him after his last start. Which was a successful start.

When it comes down to it, with a team composition like this one, I don't know if you really needed a hardtack manager.


In each profession, there are standards of excellence that the workmen adhere to.  An electrician takes pride in mounting systems in convenient locations, in labeling his wires, and so forth.  A realtor takes pride in his persistence, his showmanship, his photography and technical savvy, and his knowledge of the market. 

An elite soldier has his own standard for excellence in soldiering.  There is his persistence, his calmness under fire, his proficiency of execution of his missions, his teamwork and so forth. 

But, in one respect, all trades, and soldiering are easier than baseball.  Here it is:  It is easy to claim that your unit is the best in the world at something, when you don't compete head to head with the best in the world.  An Airborne Ranger doesn't fight with other special forces units, he fights with pirates and drug dealers and terrorists.  He is not fighting against soldiers of his same caliber. 

In this way, everyone who is roughly in the same leage as the elite soldier is the best in the world. 

But in sports, there can be only one. 

And if you're not Connor McCloud of the clan McCloud, you are going to lose your head sooner or later.

His Winningness, the wrestler of wrestlers, Cael Sanderson, (excepting the other GOATs of course) blogs often on this subject.  He refuses to hold any of the wrestlers he coaches accountable for winning or losing.  "They can't control that".  He eschews the national rankings "they're for the fans" and he will never admit that he cares about winning. 

What he does care about is process, fighting spirit, clutchness, cruelty, and in smart play.  The sorts of things that Kyle Seager calls "grinding" and McClendon calls "killer instinct".  Sanderson had his talents, but he was a surpassing grinder.  He scored most of his points during small lapses in judgment or concentration from his opponent.  They tackle toward the edge of the mat, he sprawls, they stand up expecting a leisurely circle toward the center of the mat, and he counter tackles, scoring a couple of points.  Sanderson would then worm underneath them and worm them upside down for some more points.  At some point, there was a collapse.  Either the opponent could completely give up and lose in a landslide, or he would lower his expectations, from winning, to not losing very badly. 

The thing is, that most baseball players are grinders.  A surpassing grinder is a Kyle Seager or Felix Hernandez, men who choose excellence in the face of team futility.  Kyle Seager would foul balls off an opponent all day if he could, even if he was down fifteen points.  He's just mean like that.  Hernandez is the same way.

I don't think that you can coach a Kyle Seager to make him a better grinder.  He just is what he is. 

In the same way, you can't coach toughness on a Justin Smoak.  He is what he is.

If the Mariners upper managers have failed at anything, its not having a quick enough hook to recognize a weak fighting spirit and to replace him with someone else.  But, this does not seem like a huge team failure, because the organization has spent its money on grinders.  There are a shortage of people with an excellent fighting spirit.  Its not like you go to Tom MacNamara and tell him to draft tougher guys.  He is already doing that. 

The problem is with keeping Dustin Ackley too long because you can't get a good trade for him, or playing Willie Bloomquist at shortstop because you owe him $2 million bucks, or keeping Rodney in the closer's role because he is a veteran.  The Mariners don't cut bait very easily, and this places them at a tactical disadvantage to the Orcs and the Angels, because those teams can mulch half a roster in three weeks. 

In baseball, the best GM with the best players, and the best farm system have problems with winning.  Look at the Red Sox.  Bad random stuff happens so often, you just pray that your team gets a slight reprieve. 

When a manager or general manager loses too much, unless there is something clearly identifiable as the root cause of their failure, then they shouldn't easily be replaced, or the team just starts to look incoherent like the Marlins. 

Anyway, good shtick as always Doc.  This post took a couple of days to digest. 





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