Sunday, March 8, 2009

Trying Too Hard Never Works

Henry Schulman, the San Francisco Giants' beat writer had a little ditty a couple of days ago that was poetry. Here, take a looksee... One root of Eugenio Velez's improvement might be confidence, a word so overused in sports it borders on cliche, but an undeniable necessity for a professional athlete.

I can think of a couple more examples of people trying too hard and not doing so well. One (last season) was Giant lefty, Jonathan Sanchez. The other, Jeff "Don't Bet (On)" Novitzky, a federal agent.

Because Sanchez is a pitcher he has more to contend with than any position player. I'm speaking of the varying interpretation of strike zones by the guys calling balls and strikes every time young Jonathan toes the slab?

And because most pitchers have an excellent idea what a strike is they have to fight through the inconsistencies of some umps when it's their turn to call balls and strikes. I don't know about the memories of the umpires but you better believe if Sanchez fumes at any point in the game, that home plate umpire will remember.

If Sanchez can overcome this part of his game, either by channeling his emotions in a manner that doesn't put them on visual display for the bad-strike/ball- interpreter behind the dish, or those lingering around the bases, from seeing any displeasure or disgust during the ballgame, this may go a long way in his not getting squeezed as much as the umpires were inclined to do last season.

As a pitcher YOU HAVE GOT TO keep it in the back of your mind that it only takes one of those guys, to remind his partner about the last game so-and-so pitched.

Jeff Novitzky was an anonymous IRS special agent working drug & fraud crimes in Silicon Valley. Then his investigation into BALCO blew the lid off of steroids. But...

Judge Susan Illston, who presided over the BALCO trials, called Novitzky's actions a callous disregard for constitutional rights. All 3 judges who reviewed the raid instructed Novitzky to return the records. Instead, the slimy Novitzky kept the evidence, reviewed the results and received clearance from an appeals court to pursue 103 major league baseball players who, those records revealed, had tested positive for steroids. (That investigation is pending aonther appeals court decision expected later this fall.)

A record of Novitzky's interrogation of BALCO founder Victor Conte, in which Novitzky wrote that Conte admitted to giving Bonds steroids even though Conte denied the report. But the story all but convicted Bonds in the court of public opinion long before he could be tried in a court of law. Novitzky, like all sleaze bags, denied he was the source of any leaks.

Novitzky went out of his way to get Barry Bonds. I'd say he tried anything he could. The guy tried too hard and now he looks the fool. No matter how much we think the harder we try the better results we may get, fact is trying too hard is the ingredients for failure.

(thanks to Jon Pessah of ESPN mag for the info on the Barry Bonds case)

Kevin Marquez