Dr. D doesn't mean this post as harshly as it will sound. :- ) He's in a cheerful mood, but wishes to simply describe a looming problem as it floats across his addled mind.
The incoming commissioner? I don't even know his name, but have seen him on TV and already have a queasy feeling about him. Hey, Mojo, is "shyster" a pejorative term? Or is it just a category within the profession, like the "Inane Shtick Peddler" category within blogging? All I mean by it is, a seedy lawyer who will manifest, ah, moral flexibility. That's probably wrong.
And for all I know, the guy could be a tremendous human being. Dr. D's first impressions of a pixilated image can be off the mark, as you might have noticed.
On TV last night, New Commish smiled that oily little smile, and Dr. D shivered a little (like Dash when waking up with his sister snuggled next to him). New Commish mentioned Selig's 20, 30 years of labor peace but sort of curled his lip a little, "He was more of a one-on-one politician."
Great start there...
At Bill James Online there was an entertaining back-and-forth about Commish's proposal to "think about" outlawing the shift. Bill wrote one of the most acid replies you'll ever see from him. He compared it to a general he once got a memo from, threatening to take away leave privileges if Soldiers reported sexual diseases at the infirmary.
Bill started with light, rather than heat, as you always have to ...
- It's illegal to punish one Soldier for something another man did
- This would only lead to men refusing to get treatment for deadly diseases
- It's illegal to prevent Soldiers from seeing their families...
- ... especially for something so out-of-proportion
- THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ANYBODY COULD DO ABOUT IT
The memo was rescinded before noon of its first day, but before it was, they had to treat it as the order it was, discussing it straight-faced, posting it, and so forth.
Having lit the room, Bill was free to toss in the heat. His moral of the story was: it's amazing how OUT-OF-TOUCH that some high-ranking authorities can get.
BJOL applied this to the commissioner's ideas on outlawing shifts: How does it happen that the "ruler" of baseball makes such an out-of-touch suggestion? Are you going to propose a rule that Kam Chancellor can't hit as hard as he wants? (Oh, wait.) That you can't put an Ichiro-fast player in right field? That Aroldis Chapman has to keep it under 100 MPH?
How does a baseball "lifer" even propose that a defensive strategy is so effective that we have to forbid them using it?
Anyway, Bill has come full circle on shifting, like Einstein finally admitting that the universe is expanding after all.
In fact this week, he worried that at some point --- > LH pull hitters will either learn to bunt, or will never make the major leagues. Dr. D would love to see it so. Let me read that last paragraph again.
Soul Searching?, dept.
My own reaction to "shifts" has always been that --- > it is an affectation for Justin Smoak to refuse to bunt. It's annoying. Dave Henderson will say on TV, "It's his job to knock in runs." That is just about as infuriated :- ) as Dr. D can become over a silly baseball game, that cleanup hitters' egos get so cumbersomely in the way.
Bobby Fischer wrote one (1) chess book. He started it with one (1) quote, unremarked.
On the chessboard, lies and hypocrisy do not survive long. The creative combination lays bare the presumption of a lie; the merciless fact, culminating in the checkmate, contradicts the hypocrite.
A Manual of Chess (London 1932)
Which is true, every single word of it. It's like an algebra equation: politics are impossible within it. Ego is not possible when you're canceling fractions. Neither is ego possible when making a chess move -- not one that wins, anyway.
Chess training helps you face your own personality flaws. Does that sound weird? Golf is that way also. Maybe PGA-Keith will chime in. Sometimes to lower their golf scores, serious golfers have to change their personalities, at least on the course.
NFL players talk about "soul-searching." The Seahawks, when 3-and-3, had to adapt their personalities to become champions again. The hot fire of top-flight competition refutes the presumption of a lie.
You can blog on baseball, you can criticize GM's, and you can maintain any personality you want. But before you ever actually shoot 72 on a golf course, you're going to have to examine your attitudes first.
A left-hand hitter's refusal to bunt against a shift, that is a lie and that is hypocrisy. The merciless shift, culminating in an easy 4-3 assist, contradicts the hypocrite.
In 2012, the Mariners' lineup was loaded with such hypocrisy:
- Justin Smoak was murdered by the shift if anybody ever was
- Michael Saunders spent years trying to get his "chi" going somewhere other than 1B foul territory
- Dustin Ackley was yanking his head off the ball down the 1B line
- Seager, to a certain extent
- Others, to a lesser extent
Ken Griffey Jr. was guilty of this, and Ted Williams, and Barry Bonds, and others. It was still morally* dubious, the way it is morally dubious for the aging Kobe Bryant to turn the Lakers into his personal vanity show. The way it is morally dubious for Neon Deion to care so much about his own reputation vs. Richard Sherman's, and so little about how fast and instinctive the Legion of Boom is while playing in position.
In 2015, the Mariners have virtually excised this demon. There are only two left-hand batters left who swing hard for RF -- Dustin Ackley is workin' it -- and their scattercharts seem like nothing to worry about:
Logan Morrison doesn't hit me very much as a Me, Myself and I athlete, and Brad Miller is positively the anti-narcissism poster boy. He should be on a Logo ...
It probably doesn't mean as much to you, Gentle Reader. :- ) But Dr. Detecto is VERY sensitive to EVERYTHING athletes do, that puts their personal glory ahead of team success. And he is blinkin' glad to see the Mariners evolving towards Robinson Cano.
Drew Brees was asked last night: Could you make a case that Russell Wilson is the best QB in this Super Bowl? Brees, measuring his words carefully: "I think that Russell Wilson cares about preparation and cares about his team." You get it? It rubs off. Wilson's a winner, not a narcissist.
That is the way with Robinson Cano, and with Felix Hernandez, and with Lloyd McClendon, and with the two kiddie shortstops, and with Mike Zunino, and with WBC-san, and with James Paxton, and with the bullpen party, and (it seems) with Austin Jackson. Do you think Nelson Cruz is that way?
I didn't start out a Lloyd McClendon fan, particularly, but I like where the M's heads are at.