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redsmetz
03-02-2007, 11:59 AM
Nice column from the Post's Lonnie Wheeler today. It sounds like Votto's taking notes.


Vets pass along wisdom, work ethic
Column by The Post's Lonnie Wheeler

SARASOTA, Fla. - This is the way wisdom and work habits are passed along in the national pastime. I don't know whom Carl Yastrzemski admired as a kid, but he grew up in New England, which gives Ted Williams the inside track. George Brett's model was Yastrzemski. And Jeff Conine came up with the Kansas City Royals just in time to see Brett ride off in a whirl of dust.

"Talk about a guy who was an absolute star who played the game like a utility guy," Conine said Thursday. "He played as hard as he could all the time, and I noticed and respected that a lot. When he got his 3,000th hit, they asked him, 'George, how would you like to walk away from the game? Would you like to hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth?' And he said, 'Nah, I'd rather hit a ground ball to second and bust my butt going down to first base and have people realize that that's the way I play the game.'''

Conine, for one, realized it, and picked up on it, and has played that way for what is now a 20-year professional career. He has, in fact, played that way to such a conspicuous extent that Jerry Narron, when he was managing the Texas Rangers and Conine was a member of the Baltimore Orioles, once went out of his way to track down the conscientious veteran and tell him what a pleasure it was to watch him compete.

The link there is that, to Narron, the epitome of such a player was Brett himself. "There are a lot of guys in this game who like to consider themselves pros, but there are very few of them who really are," said the Reds' manager. "I'll never forget, when I was a coach with the Orioles and we played against Brett in the last year he played, he hit a fly ball to right field, and at that time George had a pair of pants that zipped up the inside so he could have a knee brace on. It was a day game and about 95 degrees in Baltimore, and he hits a routine fly ball to right field and he was standing almost on second base when the ball was caught. He didn't have to do that. He's going to the Hall of Fame and the whole bit. That's the kind of thing that makes you proud to be part of the game."

Narron is not the only guy in the Cincinnati clubhouse who has appreciated Conine from a distance. Scott Hatteberg was playing in Oakland when Conine came to his attention as a guy who did things the way they ought to be done. "I've always been a big fan of his," said Hatteberg, who this year will surrender first base to the newly acquired journeyman (who also plays a respectable outfield) when the opponent pitches a left-hander. "Just the professionalism, the knowledge of the game, the things that don't show up on a baseball card. He's just a self-made, blue-collar guy, and it's refreshing to see."

Hatteberg could be described along similar lines, and it is he and Conine whom the Reds' future first baseman, dark and handsome Joey Votto, is learning from this spring. At 23, Votto admits to having much to learn, even though he led the Southern League in batting last year and was named its Most Valuable Player.

He's a native Canadian, and that's not to imply that Canadians are slow on the uptake. It's just that, when he was growing up in Toronto (such a Blue Jays fan that "when Joe Carter hit that home run to win the '93 World Series, I was running up and down the stairs and going crazy") and decided at age 15 to give up basketball and quarterbacking to concentrate on baseball, "It was really, really easy. Guys were throwing 75 miles an hour," Votto said. "It wasn't very hard at all."

Then he signed with the Reds out of high school, and suddenly it was very hard. "I'd never seen anybody break 85 miles an hour, and I had guys throwing 95," recalled the left-handed slugger, who at Chattanooga last year matched 22 home runs with 24 stolen bases. "I think I was 1 for my first, I want to say 30.

"I didn't worry too much. There was the occasional down, but that's being 18. Then I hit a game-winning home run - it might have been my second hit - and I hit it pretty good and it was off a pretty good pitcher, and from there I thought I had a good shot."

And he does. At 6-feet-3, 200 pounds, his swing is possibly the purest in the Reds' farm system. His learning curve points straight at Cincinnati.

But it's not there yet, and he understands it. There's Hatteberg. There's Conine. And who knows where Junior Griffey will be playing this or next year?

"You have to be realistic about the situation," said the fast-learning Ontarian, "and I think I'm doing a pretty good job with that. It's tough to be patient, especially being in the clubhouse around these guys. I know I don't have a place, but it makes me wish I did."

In the meantime, Votto enjoys the advantage of observing Hatteberg, a former catcher whose career took off when he adapted to first base at the age of 32. And Conine, a former national racquetball champion whose body, at 40, looks 30.

It wasn't planned that way, necessarily. That's just how baseball renews itself.

"I think it rubs off when guys play the game the right way," said Narron. "And I think it rubs off when guys don't play the game the right way. Any ballclub that has their best players playing it the right way, running balls out, everybody else falls in line. Guys can rub off positive and they can rub off negative."

In this case - if Votto makes sure to get the full effect from Conine and Hatteberg - the exemplary veterans might, perhaps sooner than they wish, find themselves passing along the position they share. So goes the game.

osuceltic
03-02-2007, 12:06 PM
"I think it rubs off when guys play the game the right way," said Narron. "And I think it rubs off when guys don't play the game the right way. Any ballclub that has their best players playing it the right way, running balls out, everybody else falls in line. Guys can rub off positive and they can rub off negative."

I found this Narron quote very interesting. I know it's not a popular opinion around here, but I believe with Narron on this. And I think it's an issue on this team.

Roy Tucker
03-02-2007, 12:24 PM
Nice article. Thanks for posting. :thumbup:

Man, Conine must have a nice body. First Marty, now Lonnie. Conine groupies.

Always Red
03-02-2007, 12:53 PM
Nice article. Thanks for posting. :thumbup:

Man, Conine must have a nice body. First Marty, now Lonnie. Conine groupies.

sounds like how Harry Caray used to go on and on about how good looking "Rino" was (Ryne Sandberg). I lived in Chicago back in the mid 80's and it was really over the top wierd.

Team Clark
03-02-2007, 01:12 PM
I found this Narron quote very interesting. I know it's not a popular opinion around here, but I believe with Narron on this. And I think it's an issue on this team.

Ask the Tigers and White Sox how well it works? Works pretty damn good. :thumbup:

BRM
03-02-2007, 01:18 PM
Ask the Tigers and White Sox how well it works? Works pretty damn good. :thumbup:

So, playing the game the right way must mean having dominant pitching and hitting lots of homeruns. Both of those teams struck out alot too. ;)

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 01:47 PM
Like was told to me about playing the game the right way, "If you don't get it, you don't get it."

BRM
03-02-2007, 01:48 PM
Like was told to me about playing the game the right way, "If you don't get it, you don't get it."

I was just kidding around. I get it. Or, I think I do at least.

TOBTTReds
03-02-2007, 01:57 PM
Playing the game the right way is only described about guys who don't do anything very well. I'd rather have Manny than Conine, even though Manny will be Manny, while Conine plays the right way.

BRM
03-02-2007, 02:01 PM
Playing the game the right way is only described about guys who don't do anything very well. I'd rather have Manny than Conine, even though Manny will be Manny, while Conine plays the right way.

What? You mean talent is where the rubber meets the road? Who woulda thunk it? ;) :p:

Jr's Boy
03-02-2007, 02:10 PM
"I think it rubs off when guys play the game the right way," said Narron. "And I think it rubs off when guys don't play the game the right way.


Classic Narron.

Jr's Boy
03-02-2007, 02:13 PM
"There are a lot of guys in this game who like to consider themselves pros, but there are very few of them who really are," said the Reds' manager.


Jerry how many do the Reds have?

BRM
03-02-2007, 02:15 PM
"There are a lot of guys in this game who like to consider themselves pros, but there are very few of them who really are," said the Reds' manager.


Jerry how many do the Reds have?

I'd guess three in Jerry's mind: Conine, Hatteberg, and Castro. He may put Junior in that group, I don't know. Some of the aging vets in the bullpen may count as well.

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 03:03 PM
Playing the game the right way is only described about guys who don't do anything very well. I'd rather have Manny than Conine, even though Manny will be Manny, while Conine plays the right way.

I don't know, man. I've heard that term used with a lot of great baseball players. Your definition only fits what you want it to.

Johnny Footstool
03-02-2007, 03:08 PM
nm

lollipopcurve
03-02-2007, 03:09 PM
Playing the game the right way is only described about guys who don't do anything very well.

Disagree. Did you read Narron's anecdote about George Brett?


"I think it rubs off when guys play the game the right way," said Narron. "And I think it rubs off when guys don't play the game the right way.

I agree with Narron. Every workplace has a culture.

dougdirt
03-02-2007, 03:10 PM
Well I sure dont see Albert Pujols busting his butt down to first base on a grounder to the second baseman....but that guy does everything well. Narron enjoys seeing someone hustle when it doesnt really matter. Yeah, there is that time when twice a season a guy may have reached on an error because he was not hustling.... big deal.

Mario-Rijo
03-02-2007, 03:35 PM
Yeah, there is that time when twice a season a guy may have reached on an error because he was not hustling.... big deal.

Tell that to Bill Buckner!

Marc D
03-02-2007, 03:47 PM
The key part of that quote to me is "has its best players playing the game the right way"

I completely agree that every workplace has a culture and the right one does improve performance. My issue is when we put too much stock in playing the right way and turn a blind eye to talent.

Good attitude/hustle/scrapiness whatever you want to call it cannot overcome a large talent gap.

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 03:51 PM
Well I sure dont see Albert Pujols busting his butt down to first base on a grounder to the second baseman....but that guy does everything well. Narron enjoys seeing someone hustle when it doesnt really matter. Yeah, there is that time when twice a season a guy may have reached on an error because he was not hustling.... big deal.

That's a pretty lean definition of playing the game the right way.

dougdirt
03-02-2007, 06:22 PM
That's a pretty lean definition of playing the game the right way.

Well in Narrons mind, taken from quotes, playing the game the right way is laying down a bunt, moving runners over, not making errors regardless of how bad your range is and hustling.

More often than not guys who have to do those things, simply dont have the talent to start, otherwise they arent laying down bunts, they are swinging away becuase the manager has faith that they can get a hit. Hustling only does you so much good, but hustle wont get you to first base if you cant hit. The thing is, all of the guys who Narron says "play the game the right way" for the most part are poor players.

Chip R
03-02-2007, 06:29 PM
I don't know whom Carl Yastrzemski admired as a kid, but he grew up in New England, which gives Ted Williams the inside track.

Picking nits here but Yaz grew up in Long Island.

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 06:50 PM
Well in Narrons mind, taken from quotes, playing the game the right way is laying down a bunt, moving runners over, not making errors regardless of how bad your range is and hustling.

More often than not guys who have to do those things, simply dont have the talent to start, otherwise they arent laying down bunts, they are swinging away becuase the manager has faith that they can get a hit. Hustling only does you so much good, but hustle wont get you to first base if you cant hit. The thing is, all of the guys who Narron says "play the game the right way" for the most part are poor players.

Reading minds now? Playing the game the right way, to some of us, means far more than that.

WMR
03-02-2007, 06:54 PM
He has, in fact, played that way to such a conspicuous extent that Jerry Narron, when he was managing the Texas Rangers and Conine was a member of the Baltimore Orioles, once went out of his way to track down the conscientious veteran and tell him what a pleasure it was to watch him compete.


::sinking feeling::

dougdirt
03-02-2007, 07:10 PM
Reading minds now? Playing the game the right way, to some of us, means far more than that.
Not reading minds, reading quotes that Narron has made. What you think 'playing the game the right way' and what he thinks may be completely 2 different things. What he says about playing it the right way is exactly what I said.

pedro
03-02-2007, 07:12 PM
I didn't realize Conine got 500 + ab's last year. That's frightening.

edit : 489 ab's

RedEye
03-02-2007, 07:41 PM
Does Narron actually speak during these interviews, or does he have a tape recorder in his pocket that just plays back the same platitudes ad nauseum?

dsmith421
03-02-2007, 07:43 PM
This Conine thing gets more and more nauseating.

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 08:09 PM
Not reading minds, reading quotes that Narron has made. What you think 'playing the game the right way' and what he thinks may be completely 2 different things. What he says about playing it the right way is exactly what I said.

Playing the game the right way takes preparation. It involves working on the things that you don't do well, as much or more than the things that you do well. Ability and talent may get you to the top but it takes character to keep you there. It involves knowing the nuances of the game and being able to do the correct things, instinctively, when a situation calls for it. You can only successfully execute those things if you work at it and study the game. Fundamentals. Repetition. It means continually learning and having a head and a heart for the game and respecting it. It means staying hungry and striving for perfection. It involves knowing your role on the team and accepting it and being prepared and ready for when your time may come. It involves taking the talents that you have and putting them into the team and working to make yourself better. The best way to improve the team is to improve yourself. It means staying mentally focused and aware of the situation. It means playing hard all the time, and pushing yourself. It means respecting your teammates and coaches by showing up on time and putting in the extra work. It means working on bunting, hitting the cutoff, advancing the runner, backing up the bases, taking the right angles, and working on the little things that it takes to play your position, beyond the time you spend in spring training. It means doing it every day, even when you don't feel like it. Big things are accomplished through the perfection of minor details. Yeah, it involves hustle, taking the extra base and not dogging it. It means disciplining yourself so others won't have to. It means wanting to be the best that you can be, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you work harder. Practice makes perfect? No. Perfect practice makes perfect. Cal Ripken Sr. often told his players during practice, "Gentleman, it's like a bank. You can't take anything out if you don't put something in."

I really believe that Jerry Narron, a man who has spent a life in baseball, understands these things and that his idea of playing the game the right way goes much further than your simple quotes.

dougdirt
03-02-2007, 08:18 PM
Playing the game the right way takes preparation. It involves working on the things that you don't do well, as much or more than the things that you do well. Ability and talent may get you to the top but it takes character to keep you there. It involves knowing the nuances of the game and being able to do the correct things, instinctively, when a situation calls for it. You can only successfully execute those things if you work at it and study the game. Fundamentals. Repetition. It means continually learning and having a head and a heart for the game and respecting it. It means staying hungry and striving for perfection. It involves knowing your role on the team and accepting it and being prepared and ready for when your time may come. It involves taking the talents that you have and putting them into the team and working to make yourself better. The best way to improve the team is to improve yourself. It means staying mentally focused and aware of the situation. It means playing hard all the time, and pushing yourself. It means respecting your teammates and coaches by showing up on time and putting in the extra work. It means working on bunting, hitting the cutoff, advancing the runner, backing up the bases, taking the right angles, and working on the little things that it takes to play your position, beyond the time you spend in spring training. It means doing it every day, even when you don't feel like it. Big things are accomplished through the perfection of minor details. Yeah, it involves hustle, taking the extra base and not dogging it. It means disciplining yourself so others won't have to. It means wanting to be the best that you can be, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you work harder. Practice makes perfect? No. Perfect practice makes perfect. Cal Ripken Sr. often told his players during practice, "Gentleman, it's like a bank. You can't take anything out if you don't put something in."

I really believe that Jerry Narron, a man who has spent a life in baseball, understands these things and that his idea of playing the game the right way goes much further than your simple quotes.

Narron may have played the game, but he was really really bad. His lifetime OPS was .588. I understand there are little things in baseball that need to done, both in game and practice situations.... problem is the guys that Narron continues to put in the position to do those things.

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 08:22 PM
Sparky Anderson was not a great player. Is Narron Sparky? No, but playing the game well does not compute to being a good manager. It's pretty obvious that you don't like Jerry Narron or his managing style. Your avatar says it all.

WMR
03-02-2007, 08:27 PM
Sparky Anderson was not a great player. Is Narron Sparky? No, but playing the game well does not compute to being a good manager. It's pretty obvious that you don't like Jerry Narron or his managing style. Your avatar says it all.

It does often, however, lead to placing an inordinate level of value on aspects of baseball not nearly as important as actually being a great baseball player with superior athletic abilities and the ability to get on base and generate runs. That's what's troubling about Jerry's man-love for a player like Conine. He'll do "the little things" well, but is he truly a good ball-player when stacked up against his peers?

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 08:32 PM
It sometimes, however, leads to keeping those players who do have the superior athletic ability on track by demanding that they work hard. There is nothing wrong with wanting players on your team who can accept their role and will continue to work and stay ready when you may need to call on them to execute. Having the correct blend is important. Young players with loads of talent don't always want to accept being a role player and, a lot of times, struggle in those types of roles. Some of the best coaches I ever had were older players whom I respected and learned from.

WMR
03-02-2007, 08:35 PM
I don't disagree with that, in theory. The important thing is to have a manager that, although he may preach "the little things" etc. etc. (which I'm perfectly fine with), doesn't allow his predilections for those characteristics to cloud his judgment when utilizing the players on his roster.

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 08:43 PM
That's a fair assessment.

dougdirt
03-02-2007, 08:44 PM
I don't disagree with that, in theory. The important thing is to have a manager that, although he may preach "the little things" etc. etc. (which I'm perfectly fine with), doesn't allow his predilections for those characteristics to cloud his judgment when utilizing the players on his roster.

I bolded a very important statement. I think that Narron does allow that to happen more than it should, and it is 1 reason I dont like him as a manager. That and the fact he used 140 different lineups last season... how is someone supposed to have any stability with that?

GAC
03-02-2007, 08:49 PM
Some of the best coaches I ever had were older players whom I respected and learned from.

Amen brother. :thumbup:

OnBaseMachine
03-02-2007, 09:24 PM
Impressive Votto might not be far away
First baseman draws raves for bat, improving defense
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Canadian Joey Votto's lumber of choice as a kid was usually a baseball bat, not a hockey stick.

Votto, the Reds first base prospect, always felt more comfortable on the diamond than on the ice around his native Toronto.

"I took a girl skating once, I fell all over the place and she laughed at me," Votto recalled. "That was actually my first date. She was laughing at me at the school the next day. When you're in the seventh grade and not skating so well, it gets around the school. It's a big thing."

Fortunately for the Reds, Votto hits much better than he skates -- which could have the 23-year-old poised to be Cincinnati's next big thing.

Ranked the organization's third-best prospect by Baseball America, Votto showed the makings of becoming a complete hitter for Double-A Chattanooga last season. Besides having 22 home runs and 77 RBIs, he led the Southern League with a .319 average, 162 hits, 78 walks and several other offensive categories.

The Southern League named Votto its Most Valuable Player. The Reds named him their Minor League Hitter of the Year. He also particpated in July's MLB All-Star Futures Game.

"There is no such thing as perfecting your game," Votto said. "But I try as hard as I can to do to get the fundamentals right, run the bases properly and listen to my managers and play defense. I want to clean up my game. There's always something to improve. It drives me crazy and it's frustrating some days when you think you have it and the next day, you don't. It's an ongoing struggle."

With Scott Hatteberg and Jeff Conine set to play first base for the Reds, it's unlikely that Votto would skip an entire level and start 2007 in the Majors. He is expected to begin the season with Triple-A Louisville.

In his second big-league camp, Votto impressed early on during live batting practice against Reds pitchers. Not only was the 6-foot-3 left-handed hitter able to drive the ball with some power, he smoothly hit the ball well to left, center and right fields.

"That's just batting practice. But to be able to hit the ball the other way out of the ballpark shows you he's got the chance to hit a little," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "If he keeps improving and making adjustments, he's got a chance to be a pretty good player."

Drafted as a catcher in the second round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Votto was moved to first base early on in his development. He's still learning the fine points of the position and made defense a priority when he played winter ball in the Dominican Republic after last season.

"One thing I did last summer, I called him and told him to work on his defense as much as his offense," Narron said. "My understanding is he's been working hard defensively."
That phone call came out of the blue for Votto, who was sleeping when Narron dialed him up. But it proved to be a confidence boost to know the Reds manager was paying close attention to his development.

"I missed his call, and I called him back and I was surprised," Votto said. "I said, 'Who is this?' he said, 'Jerry.' I said, 'Who's Jerry?' Then I was like, 'Oh, yes sir.' It made me feel good. When someone is paying attention to you while he's busy doing his job, it's nice to know. He's telling you he thinks you have a good chance."

During morning fielding drills, the Reds' first base trio of Hatteberg, Conine and Votto dutifully take ground balls and often work through situations. Each practiced scooping short hops or making throws to second base. In the various drills, Votto looked just as comfortable as the more polished veterans.

Votto says he prefers to listen more and talk less when around Hatteberg and Conine, two of the more respected veterans in the game today. Hatteberg, 37, has liked what he has seen from Votto the past two springs.

"He's one of those guys with unlimited potential," Hatteberg said. "He has got huge power. It seems like he's doing a great job of having an idea at what he wants to do at the plate. He's not just a one-dimensional power guy. He wants to hit for average. Defensively, I'm learning from him, too. He's very smooth over there. He's got a lot of skills in all aspects."

The stars could align well for Votto this time next year. Both Hatteberg and Conine are signed only through this season, although the club does hold a 2008 option on Hatteberg.

"I assume he'll be here shortly," Hatteberg said. "I saw him for a few at-bats last year. I know he had a great year at Double-A. I saw his face on the diamond screen I think more than my teammates as a 'player on the rise'."

It'd be realistic to think that another good year could have Votto in the Majors when September callups are promoted. Until his time comes, he plans on leaving his mark at big-league camp for as long as possible.

"I'm going to take advantage of the situation I'm in right now," Votto said. "I'm standing around Jeff Conine and Scott Hatteberg every single day listening to them and their stories and watching them go about their work. I have Ken Griffey Jr. in center field. Alex Gonzalez, one of the best defensive players in baseball, is at shortstop. I'd be a fool not to pay attention, watch and learn and add it to my own game. That's where I'm at here."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070302&content_id=1822555&vkey=spt2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

RANDY IN INDY
03-02-2007, 09:30 PM
Seems Joey Votto gets it.

dougdirt
03-02-2007, 09:39 PM
Seems Joey Votto gets it.

He really does. He wants to be the best he can be, and he really works on it. A prime example is what he did last offseason in hiring a personal trainer to help him improve his training and his speed. On top of that, he is 2-2 today with a double. Seriously, one of the most underrated prospects in baseball. If he hadnt been hamstrung with that 'take the first pitch' rule in 2005 and performed to his abilities we are talking a top 20 prospect for the Reds. He has some serious talent.

RANDY IN INDY
03-03-2007, 07:31 AM
I really believe that Votto and Bailey could make an impact at some point this season. I'm anxious to see Votto play in a couple of spring training games.

GAC
03-03-2007, 07:38 AM
I really believe that Votto and Bailey could make an impact at some point this season. I'm anxious to see Votto play in a couple of spring training games.

Isn't it nice to be hearing of young prospects in the Red's organization that actually have a chance of success in the majors and are being recognized. Whether it's a Bailey or Votto.

The kid I'm enjoying following is Jay Bruce.

RANDY IN INDY
03-03-2007, 07:44 AM
It's been a while, hasn't it?

redsmetz
03-03-2007, 09:23 AM
Picking nits here but Yaz grew up in Long Island.

You're right, but I'm surprised by that because I've always had the sense that he grew up a Red Sox fan. Does Long Island have a more New England feel to it? I've regularly heard folks refer to him as a classic New Englander.

Spitball
03-03-2007, 02:10 PM
You're right, but I'm surprised by that because I've always had the sense that he grew up a Red Sox fan. Does Long Island have a more New England feel to it? I've regularly heard folks refer to him as a classic New Englander.

Interesting thoughts. For most of his career, Yaz lived north of Boston in the suburb of Lynnfield. He had a pretty good New England accent and was the visible face of the franchise. However, growing up in Massachusetts, I was quite aware that Yastrzemski was not really accepted by the fans until that incredible 1967. The honeymoon with the New England fans lasted only a year or two before he was the whipping boy again for most of the frustrated fans.

Later in his career, Yaz stopped bringing his family to the park because of the booing, and then moved bitterly from the state a year or so before he retired. I would guess anyone calling him a "classic New Englander" was merely making an assumption.

Note: I edited the original post because I had to finish that one up in haste. My wife had suddenly announced that she was getting ready to disconnect our old computer and the router that was connecting my laptop. Geesh, the timing!

vaticanplum
03-03-2007, 03:47 PM
You're right, but I'm surprised by that because I've always had the sense that he grew up a Red Sox fan. Does Long Island have a more New England feel to it? I've regularly heard folks refer to him as a classic New Englander.

No, Long Island feels much more like an outgrowth of New York than new England. Queens and Brooklyn are both technically part of Long Island, actually. Lots of Mets fans there. Many Yankees fans too. I don't think you start hitting Red Sox country til you hit mid-Connecticut.

Spitball
03-03-2007, 06:31 PM
That and the fact he used 140 different lineups last season... how is someone supposed to have any stability with that?

Certainly 140 is a lot of line ups; however, it isn't a total managerial crime. Managers typically use more than 100, and Terry Francona used more than 140 line ups on the way to a championship season in 2004. Jim Leyland, Ron Gardenhire, Tony LaRussa and many other successful managers have a history of employing a variety of different line ups.

Many manager like to employ variations to their line ups for several reasons. They play the hot bat or one with success against certain pitchers. They may put a defensive improvement at third if they feel pitcher/opposition will result in lots of balls pulled that way. They may want to keep the starters rested and the reserve players sharp with semi-regular play. Ask anyone who watched Don Zimmer blow a huge lead over the Yankees in 1978 when he didn't use the Red Sox bench. The regulars wore down and the bench players, not having played much all season, were not ready to play competitive major league baseball.

Besides, I don't like the "stability" argument for keeping a set line up. Griffey has his stability in the third slot no matter what. Why create that situation in other slots? If a lead off batter is slumping, does he continue to bat lead off for the sake of stability? Isn't it better to go with a hotter bat leading off and let the slumping batter work it out lower in the order?

You might not like Narron, but I don't feel the "too many line ups" argument is truly valid. Besides, there were a lot of trades and injuries, not to mention slumps, that played a great deal into many of those line up changes.