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View Full Version : Intangibles 101: What is hustle?



jojo
04-21-2007, 09:01 AM
Mention intangibles and there's a decent possibility that an argument will break out concerning their value. Intangibles seem to be a particularly sticky issue that defines *old school* versus *statheads*. Statheads tend to question the value of intangibles and often argue, "if you can't measure their impact, how important are they?". Old schoolers must wonder to themselves, "how can't you measure something that's so easy to see with your eyes?". I suspect both sides view the conclusions of the other side more skeptically as a result.

However, I'm wondering if alot of the issue with intangibles lies in their definitions... Grit, hustle, definsive IQ etc, can mean dramatically different things to different people making a discussion about their worth probably impossible in alot of instances.

Given the link with Pete arguably makes Cincy the mecca of baseball hustle, I'm wondering how members here at Redszone define hustle.

So what is hustle and what are some specific examples that illustrate your definition?

Ludwig Reds Fan
04-21-2007, 09:40 AM
1.Running out fly balls.
2. Running out ground balls.
3. Running full speed on the base paths.

The key word here is "running." Not "jogging." Not "watching." Not "strolling."


If you see some player not going full speed, that, by definition, is the "anti-hustle." And Anti-hustle is just as contagious as Hustle.

RFS62
04-21-2007, 09:42 AM
"Hustle" is about putting the team first, before yourself.

We've come to accept "selective hustle" from our superstars. We overlook the common practice of a hitter standing in the batters box and watching a home run instead of sprinting out of the box, in case it doesn't clear the wall. We overlook it, as long as said player runs hard "when it counts".

Personally, I don't like this at all. I like guys like Scott Rolen. Maybe it is the "old school" in me, but I've never liked showing up the pitcher. When I played, that would get you drilled. Of course, there are exceptions throughout baseball history, but I'd say that was the standard until recent times.

I know your post is about hustle, but it brings to mind a pet peeve of mine. It really galls me to hear baseball phrases like "he does the little things" and "he plays the game the right way" being derided and ridiculed, as if anyone who ascribes to those notions are dinosaurs or don't really understand the game.

In my mind, people who laugh at those terms are the ones who don't really understand the game. Those terms mean something to "baseball men" (another term currently ridiculed).

The players and coaches know what it means. Examples to me are when an outfielder gets behind a fly ball as quickly as possible to have his momentum moving towards the base he's going to throw to, instead of loafing back with his momentum either moving towards the fence or just coming to a stop. It's the "right way to play".

It's when a hitter watches the pitcher when he's in the dugout, searching for any little thing that will help him when it's his at bat, instead of just having a good time and not focusing on each and every at bat to try to pick up something.

It's having your head in the game without having to be told to do so.

It's showing up on time and prepared every day, being a professional. It's a pinch hitter who thinks it out innings before he's called on and goes down into the tunnel to take a few hacks or look at videotape.

It's when you always know the tendencies of the opposing hitter when you're in the field. It's thinking it out before each and every pitch what you'll do if it's hit to you, knowing the situation for both a fly ball or a grounder and being prepared instead of winging it after the play starts.

And you can damn sure bet the players and coaches know who "plays the game the right way". They know it from their prepraration and pre-game routine. They know it from the practice habits they all exhibit.

And you can also bet that there's a wide variance in approaches. This is why veterans are so valuable on a team. They teach the younger players how to conduct themselves as professionals, just as they were taught when they came up. It's a rite of passage that's taken very seriously among the players and coaches.

Show me a stat that takes any of these things into consideration and I'll gladly use it. Show me a baseball fan who ignores or ridicules these things and I'll show you someone really doesn't get it.

westofyou
04-21-2007, 09:59 AM
Hustle" is about putting the team first, before yourself.

http://www.baseballmusings.com/


Update: With a man on first and none out in the top of the 13th, Robert Fick tries to sacrifice. The runner is thrown out a second, but Fick takes his time running to first and he's easily doubled off. If he's running hard out of the box, he's safe. The MASN team is much too easy on that lack of hustle.

They were also the only broadcasting team on EI last night not wearing a suit coat and tie. They are in Miami though.

Deepred05
04-21-2007, 10:03 AM
"Hustle" is about putting the team first, before yourself.

We've come to accept "selective hustle" from our superstars. We overlook the common practice of a hitter standing in the batters box and watching a home run instead of sprinting out of the box, in case it doesn't clear the wall. We overlook it, as long as said player runs hard "when it counts".

Personally, I don't like this at all. I like guys like Scott Rolen. Maybe it is the "old school" in me, but I've never liked showing up the pitcher. When I played, that would get you drilled. Of course, there are exceptions throughout baseball history, but I'd say that was the standard until recent times.

I know your post is about hustle, but it brings to mind a pet peeve of mine. It really galls me to hear baseball phrases like "he does the little things" and "he plays the game the right way" being derided and ridiculed, as if anyone who ascribes to those notions are dinosaurs or don't really understand the game.

In my mind, people who laugh at those terms are the ones who don't really understand the game. Those terms mean something to "baseball men" (another term currently ridiculed).

The players and coaches know what it means. Examples to me are when an outfielder gets behind a fly ball as quickly as possible to have his momentum moving towards the base he's going to throw to, instead of loafing back with his momentum either moving towards the fence or just coming to a stop. It's the "right way to play".

It's when a hitter watches the pitcher when he's in the dugout, searching for any little thing that will help him when it's his at bat, instead of just having a good time and not focusing on each and every at bat to try to pick up something.

It's having your head in the game without having to be told to do so.

It's showing up on time and prepared every day, being a professional. It's a pinch hitter who thinks it out innings before he's called on and goes down into the tunnel to take a few hacks or look at videotape.

It's when you always know the tendencies of the opposing hitter when you're in the field. It's thinking it out before each and every pitch what you'll do if it's hit to you, knowing the situation for both a fly ball or a grounder and being prepared instead of winging it after the play starts.

And you can damn sure bet the players and coaches know who "plays the game the right way". They know it from their prepraration and pre-game routine. They know it from the practice habits they all exhibit.

And you can also bet that there's a wide variance in approaches. This is why veterans are so valuable on a team. They teach the younger players how to conduct themselves as professionals, just as they were taught when they came up. It's a rite of passage that's taken very seriously among the players and coaches.

Show me a stat that takes any of these things into consideration and I'll gladly use it. Show me a baseball fan who ignores or ridicules these things and I'll show you someone really doesn't get it.

I noticed one of todays superstars trying to slide into a base last night. Unbelievable. He looked as though he had never slid into a base his entire career, and I wondered, how did he get this far?

bucksfan2
04-21-2007, 10:16 AM
I would want everyone to hustle but I want it to be intelligent. I dont want players hustling into outs. I want players to run to each base. I dont care if you hit a 2 hopper to 2nd and bust into a sprint to get thrown out but if you hit a chopper to the left side I want you busting it down the line for a base hit. I want hustle to get results. I saw way too many times that Sean Casey busted down the line, flung his hat off, just to be 2 steps short of beating out a double play. I want an outfielder to hustle to get into position to catch a fly ball when a runner may be tagging. I want players going from first to third on a base hit to the right side. I want players to play hard but play within themselves.

Wheelhouse
04-21-2007, 10:43 AM
Never assuming an outcome.

Degenerate39
04-21-2007, 10:52 AM
I looked up Hustle in the dictionary and found this:

http://www.strangesports.com/images/content/16643.JPG

jojo
04-21-2007, 11:02 AM
I guess my definition of hustle is a practical one... i'm not sure it's fully formulated yet but here's what how I teach it to the little leaguers..

Hustle embodies work ethic (best effort) while lack of hustle is a laziness (failure to give your best effort). This definition of hustle then could easily translate into meaningful impact on the game even though it still couldn't easily be measured (though I've been mulling over how to do that for a while now---maybe my defintion of hustle has been influenced by a desire to measure it?).

For instance, it could be argued that an outfielder catching a ball with one hand while runners are on base is a lack of hustle. That probably adds .3 to .5 seconds onto the the ball transfer which, with a Ryan Freel on the bases, may equal giving the runner a 10-15 foot advantage. Over the course of a season, that could add up to maybe ten runs (or a win) considering the potential bases given up and their impact on run expectancy. That seems like an effect that could show up statistically (and it probably does-though specifically measuring/teasing it out would be challenging and involve several assumptions).

Is showboating a lack of hustle? Well arguably yes and no though I tend to think it's hairsplitting to say no because the end result is the same as being lazy...the player isn't giving his best effort (and really isn't that why it's so offensive to the opposition?).

So while EE's famous phantom foul was labeled lazy and Phillips recent showboating triple was excused by Narron, I think Jerry got it wrong on both counts. EE wasn't not hustling (he didn't fail to give his best effort-he just incorrectly interpretted the play). Phillips' play was a lack of hustle...even though Brandon "got the base he was supposed to", he absolutely took away Mark Berry's options. I don't buy the argument that hustle is contextual-either you're working hard or you're not. The logical extension of Narron's argument doesn't fly to me i.e. the cutoff throw wasn't bobbled so Phillips wasn't not hustling but if the throw would've been bobbled, Phillip's would have been guilty?

This raises another question-can hustle ever be showboating? Arguably, Pete sprinting down to first could be viewed as showboating since he's exerting a maximal effort that is absolutely inconsequential. This raises the question, should exerting a maximal amount of effort automatically be ascribed as hustle? Now we're back to a context argument again. I'm fine with his sprints to first.

That being said, it might be possible to value hustle based upon it's true impact on the game. Outfielders catching balls with two hands and players sprinting out of the box (because you just never know) are behaviors that should be highly praised as playing the game the right way because they involve a maximum effort that can effec thte game. Sprinting to first after ball four or sprinting to and from your position between innings perhaps shouldn't be counted as such a positive because it's mostly inconsequential hustle for show.

jojo
04-21-2007, 11:04 AM
Never assuming an outcome.

I just wrote something very similar.....I think you've captured the essence beautifully.....

Redsland
04-21-2007, 12:05 PM
It really galls me to hear baseball phrases like "he does the little things" and "he plays the game the right way" being derided and ridiculed, as if anyone who ascribes to those notions are dinosaurs or don't really understand the game.
I completely agree with your entire post about how people should play the game. Every player should be put himself in the best position to make a play, should watch what his opponents are doing, should be prepared every day and try his best throughout the contest. Players who don't do these things are, in my estimation, either slackers or bums.

That's why I bemoan accolades like "plays the right way" and "does the little things." I expect that behavior from elite athletes at the highest level of competition. So when the best thing that a manager or a coach can say about a person like Chad Moeller or Paul Wilson is that he's a hard-working battler who goes about it the right way, all that manager is saying to me is that the player in question is meeting a minimum level of expectation.

If the player brought anything more to the table, like a fearsome bat or a vacuum cleaning glove or a powerful arm, I know that's the accolade I'd be hearing. Since I'm not, what I hear when a manager speaks in those terms is that, despite his best efforts, this guy we're talking about doesn't actually bring much to the table.

So it isn't "hustle" or "presence" or whatever that I ridicule when it's under discussion. Instead it's the absence of achievement in people about whom "hustle" is all there is to talk about.

Yachtzee
04-21-2007, 06:02 PM
I have no problem with players who "hustle" or "play the game the right way" or "do the little things." The problem I have with those phrases is that managers, and broadcasters too, often use them to describe players who they like, but happen to be subpar players who should have been released to open a spot for someone else. It's like "veteran presence." Those terms are fine if they are used to describe players actually performing on the field. However, I think sometimes those words are used by managers to justify keeping someone they like on the team who isn't producing on the field and playing them ahead of young guys who may be mistake prone, but can hit the stuffing out of the ball. If they're any good, the young guys can learn from their mistakes. But at some point, "hustle," "doing the little things," and "playing the game the right way" just can't make up for diminishing skills.

I'm not saying that you should always play young talent over veteran smarts. However, I think that if your veteran smarts aren't getting things done in the field, you shouldn't be out there. You're veteran presence should still be valuable on the bench and in the clubhouse as a coach. Plus, how is a young talent ever going to get veteran smarts if they aren't out there playing?

Now if a young guy with talent shows no interest in improving his game, that's a different story. Nobody should get a free ride because they have potential to be great.

RFS62
04-21-2007, 09:09 PM
I completely agree with your entire post about how people should play the game. Every player should be put himself in the best position to make a play, should watch what his opponents are doing, should be prepared every day and try his best throughout the contest. Players who don't do these things are, in my estimation, either slackers or bums.

That's why I bemoan accolades like "plays the right way" and "does the little things." I expect that behavior from elite athletes at the highest level of competition. So when the best thing that a manager or a coach can say about a person like Chad Moeller or Paul Wilson is that he's a hard-working battler who goes about it the right way, all that manager is saying to me is that the player in question is meeting a minimum level of expectation.



Yeah, I expect it too.

However, you don't always get it, IMO. What it means to me that you get the most you can out of your ability, both mental and physical. And I believe there are a lot of players, Reds included, who don't.

RANDY IN INDY
04-21-2007, 09:44 PM
"Hustle" is about putting the team first, before yourself.

We've come to accept "selective hustle" from our superstars. We overlook the common practice of a hitter standing in the batters box and watching a home run instead of sprinting out of the box, in case it doesn't clear the wall. We overlook it, as long as said player runs hard "when it counts".

Personally, I don't like this at all. I like guys like Scott Rolen. Maybe it is the "old school" in me, but I've never liked showing up the pitcher. When I played, that would get you drilled. Of course, there are exceptions throughout baseball history, but I'd say that was the standard until recent times.

I know your post is about hustle, but it brings to mind a pet peeve of mine. It really galls me to hear baseball phrases like "he does the little things" and "he plays the game the right way" being derided and ridiculed, as if anyone who ascribes to those notions are dinosaurs or don't really understand the game.

In my mind, people who laugh at those terms are the ones who don't really understand the game. Those terms mean something to "baseball men" (another term currently ridiculed).

The players and coaches know what it means. Examples to me are when an outfielder gets behind a fly ball as quickly as possible to have his momentum moving towards the base he's going to throw to, instead of loafing back with his momentum either moving towards the fence or just coming to a stop. It's the "right way to play".

It's when a hitter watches the pitcher when he's in the dugout, searching for any little thing that will help him when it's his at bat, instead of just having a good time and not focusing on each and every at bat to try to pick up something.

It's having your head in the game without having to be told to do so.

It's showing up on time and prepared every day, being a professional. It's a pinch hitter who thinks it out innings before he's called on and goes down into the tunnel to take a few hacks or look at videotape.

It's when you always know the tendencies of the opposing hitter when you're in the field. It's thinking it out before each and every pitch what you'll do if it's hit to you, knowing the situation for both a fly ball or a grounder and being prepared instead of winging it after the play starts.

And you can damn sure bet the players and coaches know who "plays the game the right way". They know it from their prepraration and pre-game routine. They know it from the practice habits they all exhibit.

And you can also bet that there's a wide variance in approaches. This is why veterans are so valuable on a team. They teach the younger players how to conduct themselves as professionals, just as they were taught when they came up. It's a rite of passage that's taken very seriously among the players and coaches.

Show me a stat that takes any of these things into consideration and I'll gladly use it. Show me a baseball fan who ignores or ridicules these things and I'll show you someone really doesn't get it.

Well said, my friend!:beerme:

rotnoid
04-21-2007, 09:54 PM
When I think of hustle, I think of the $500 I lost to a "blind" guy in a pool hall one night last year. ;)

Sorry, it's all I had. Previous posters have said it much better than I'm able.