Yu Go, C.J. - The Ugly


=== The Ugly ===

We are told that when the Rangers win things, which is often, that they drink sparkling apple juice until Josh Hamilton (AA) and C.J. Wilson ("Straight Edge" Taoist with no alcohol or girls on the road) have showered, dressed and left the locker room.  Then they break out the beer and champagne.

We are told that the other 23 Rangers are glad to do this.  I am here to tell you that the first I have ever heard of pro sports athletes being glad to do any such thing.  Any sport, any era.

C.J. Wilson went on ESPN, after signing with the Angels, and stated that every single Ranger in the locker room was his good friend.  That he'd never seen a baseball team that gets along the way the Rangers do.  etc. etc.

Guys who have never competed in sports sometimes --- > scoff at the idea of sports psychology.  They imagine that it is just as easy to perform well, whether you are ticked off and resentful and pessimistic and griping about the guys around you.  They imagine this simply because they've never been there.

Guys who don't like one another can play well, sure.  But an optimistic, happy attitude is a major factor in sports performance.  The Soviet Union, in the 1950's, had the first scientists to document this.  Chess grandmasters take it as an axiom that you can't play well if ticked off, upset, annoyed, etc.  You just can't concentrate.  You can't get in the Zone if you're unhappy.

C.J. Wilson was apparently a type of Dan Wilson element in the Rangers' locker room, and it played well.


Hideki Matsui's contribution to the Yankee locker room was, reportedly, to increase the presence of pornography in it.  

I don't know what Yu Darvish's tastes are -- IceX and Taro can speak to this -- but he has a rep for posing nude for magazines and telling authority off and stuff like that.  

Objectively speaking, whatever you believe about Straight Edge lifestyles vs. chasing skirts on the road, the personality swap of Yu Darvish for C.J. Wilson has some potential to change the personality of the Rangers' locker room.

If you listen to sports history, you will hear dozens of stories like this.  "I don't know what happened last year.  We didn't have Boomer around and it seemed like we really missed him."  Happens all the time.  One or two guys leave, and the personality of the team just morphs.  

I know you don't believe me, so am going to convert you with two words.  "Steve Hutchinson."


You might remember Danny Fortson converting the Sonics from a 55-loss team to a 55-win team in one season.  Larry Bird turned the Celtics from like a 63-loss team to a 63-win team as a rookie.  If you L-I-S-T-E-N you will hear baseball people talk about this, too.

Sabermetricians watch a team collapse from 92 wins to 67 wins and :: shrug :: well, nobody can explain that, so why bother.  Back to the spreadsheets.  It chaps my hide when they do it.


Even Ichiro, a total pro, was never liked much by fellow players in Seattle.  That wasn't his fault.  Japanese players tend not to be.  You remember Typhoon Irabu becoming the Fat Toad pretty quickly.  You remember Daimajin being received very coolly not only by Mariners, but by other AL players, who perceived him as (unjustifiably) arrogant.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa was popular, exactly because he adopted an American way of speaking and joking around.  Whether Yu Darvish will do this, is another question.

Yu Darvish would be well received in some cities and cultures.  I don't like his chances to be received well in the state of Texas, nor by the heavily Latin population there.  ... Nolan Ryan will like him, anyway, if he throws 230 innings.

In Seattle, or with the Dodgers or Red Sox, Yu Darvish would have been as popular is his ERA allowed.  Texas?!  What are you thinking, Nolan?


=== Dr's Prognosis, Dept. ===

On a roto team, if you swapped out C.J. Wilson for Yu Darvish, I'd shrug, "okay, hope it works out for you.  Could get you a bonus; we'll see."

On the Texas Rangers, if you won two pennants and then swapped out C.J. Wilson for Yu Darvish, I'd wish you good luck.  That is the very last thing you wanted to do.



Dr D



G-Moneyball had made the point that C.J. Wilson was not a net improvement to our rivals, as a group.  Had strongly agreed with this interpretation.  A lot of the gain that C.J. would give the Angels, he'd give back by beating the Rangers for us.
Since the Rangers swapped out Wilson for Darvish, though ...
1.  Doesn't bother me about the Rangers.  It just gives them a real good chance to mess up the Zone they were in.
2.  Does bother me about the Angels:  the division is improved by one Titan.
Four scary teams in the AL now, rather than two.  The M's goal has to be, to become the 5th scary team.
They can do it, if they spend.  Which Zduriencik has said, that the owners have committed resources that are 'exciting.'
Gimme one Prince Fielder main course with a side order of Gio, please.  And I'll be ordering dessert as well.

benihana's picture

Since I think the whole Japanese style "posting" system of free agency is horrendeously outdated and unfair, I'd love for the Rangers to punk the system.  
They hear that Toronto, New York, and other AL competitors are high on Yu.  They are flush with cash after their recent trips to the "World" Series.  They bid high, win the exclusive negotiating rights, then proceed to absolutely low-ball Darvish for the next 30 days.  Competitors spend their allocated money.  Yu reverts back to Nippon-Ham.  Rangers laugh at the rest of the AL. 
I'm honestly surprised that it hasn't happened more often, it costs the winning bidder nothing if they can't reach agreement with the posted player ala Oakland and Iwakuma. 
The AL West landscape is certainly changing, Heyman's tweeting that we made Prince an offer - interesting times, interesting times.
- Ben.

IcebreakerX's picture

Bet's on Rangers lowballing the heck out of Darvish and him going back to Fighters for another year. Then he gets the unrestricted FA and can bank like everyone else.
Darvish is only 25 (4 months younger than Felix) and in good shape. He's not an arrogant fatty like Matsuzaka (listen to yo' doctor & trainers!).
In terms of makeup, Darvish reminds me more of a soccer star than pitcher. Good looks, tall, ripped body, etc. which is common in soccer, but not in baseball. The nude-ish photos, etc. seem to be much more common in soccer too. I'd look at it in that light more than anything else.
In terms of the rookie incident with smoking and pachinko... Regular kids do this all day long in Japan and never get in trouble. There hasn't been much on any personality issues recently either, especially after his rise.
However, Darvish is also involved in a messy divorce right now, which may also cause him to stay. Depending on how that swings and if he signs this year, there's a possibility that Darvish's MLB salary might also be included in any allimony/settlement with his wife. And that could be a huge amount of cash. The wife, Saeko Darvish, also has custody of their sons.


That does shed a different, and much more optimistic, light on Darvish's style.
And we know that Darvish can definitely bend it like Beckham...

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