Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just Showing Up is a Colossal Waste of Time

In Mr. Arangure's theories as to why the left-handed pitcher usually wins the battle when facing the left-handed batter he offers:

The culprit may be the specialization of pitching, which has filled bullpens with LOOGYs (Lefty One-Out Guys...Javier Lopez of the San Francisco Giants). Their sole task is to get lefthanded hitters out, usually with breaking balls away. Some pitchers, like Pedro Feliciano of the New York Mets, sets up on the edge of the pitcher's rubber closest to first base, then pitches with a deceptive sidearm delivery.

A lefty hitter must either open his stance so he can see the wide release point, or use his normal stance and hope he reacts quickly enough to make contact when he finally sees the pitch.

It is thought that opposing managers can neutralize slugging left-handed batter (Ryan Howard) in close games by using LOOGYs. The same can be said of rightfield Jay Bruce, Joey Votto's teammate.

Even with the preponderance of LOOGYs, some say the failure of lefty hitters is really just a product of laziness. "You have to work on it and do your homework," says Hall of Fame lefthanded hitter Tony Gwynn, who batted .325 against southpaws for his career. "The video is there if you want it. To get better you have to practice. I know it's tough and it's a long season. But for me, I hated to suck."

You hear all of the time how the great ones put in the work. And for some it was something as simple as that classic quote of Tony Gwynn. God bless people like Tony Gwynn. Too much suck-age exists in the world today with people who don't mind doing something for the fun of it. Not thinking for one minute that maybe they are taking away someone elses fun by doing what they do so badly.

If you are going to do anything you have to want to do your best. Practice. Do the work to make yourself better. I'm glad you showed up to practice now break a sweat. Try to catch that popup that doesn't appear to want to reach you so you can do that useless behind the back catch. And maybe on the third or fourth anemic popup you can see that you are getting closer to catching the weakly hit ball. If you just let it land, figuring there was no way you could catch it, why did you show up for practice?

In a team sport, just "showing up" is a colossal waste of time. Because there are those who want to put in the work to make themselves better.

As for the batter hitting the weak pop-ups, perhaps s/he is trying hard not to hit the ball so poorly and s/he's doing everything physically possible to change the ineptitude of his/her bat-on-ball contact results. For that there must be the realization that perhaps s/he should be doing something else.

When you put in the work and are dedicated to making yourself better you generally see some sort of improvement. And any improvement motivates you to continue your efforts into making yourself better. But if you're skills have deteriorated to the point of zero results you may be attempting to do something you just are not able to do.

Why put yourself into a situation where no progress is made no matter what you do?

An exception would be an injury. You do the therapy and it may take a certain amount of time to be able to walk. Heck, some quacks may tell you that you can never walk again. But that's not stopping you. And in all your efforts you continue to fall flat on your face. Yet you still go to church and pray that some day you may walk again and the days become months, months become years and you still feel like some days are better than others. (Those days in which you caught yourself before you bit carpet/tile/turf, etc.).

Then again, this may be the one thing that is keeping you alive. The will and desire are so great that you will not stop trying.

This isn't "just showing up" because that's all about effort. This is your livelihood that has been effected by an injury your body is having a hard time healing from.

But if it is a recreational thing (just to get out and get some fresh air) please, do more than 'just showing up.'

(inspired by ESPN mag article by Jorge Arangure, Jr. in 9/6/2010 edition)

Kevin Marquez