Posted by expitch
I was going to post this yesterday, but I wanted to give it some thought and get a better idea as to where you are coming from. Your quote about anticipation is a good lead-in.
I think Mac was cheating in order to snag 2nd base. He was anticipating stealing 2nd. That was his job. To try and get into scoring position. Little to lose with two out and him on first. I pointed out his likely lack of knowledge of the pitcher's move. Now, Gardenhire damn well knows why Tito made that move. So, the element of surprise was never there. That's another thing Mac had against him.
He gets picked off. Goes back to the bench and either gets a pat on the back by his coach acknowledging the situation and the effort - or he hears: "You didn't do your job. Never, ever! get picked off in that situation!".
So, next time he won't risk getting a good jump when he can't read a
pitcher' s move and the opposition knows he's gonna run. And he takes off but just gets nabbed. The result is the same. But no "mental lapse". Had he been able to get a better jump...
Ells bunts on the first pitch. Why? He's anticipating a fastball. Reasonable considering it's fool-hearty (for the pitcher) to risk falling behind in the count to the potential winning run - who is fast as all get-up.
The 3rd baseman is playing in respecting Jake's speed. The rate of success rests on the element of surprise. Now, if he takes pitch one, he's down in the count with one more legit chance to bunt. If he misses the pitch, the element of surprise is gone.
He pops out. A better bunter lays it down. He has yet to incorporate it into his game, so his in-game bunting experience is brief. Or perhaps it's his inability to square up pitches. Just like a better base runner may have not been picked off, which is reflective of ability/experience. He picks the wrong pitch. Mental lapse?
Or playing the percentages and anticipating wrong?
He goes back to the dugout and gets a pat on the back for trying.
Or he hears "How the hell can you expect to lay that pitch down?".
Personally, I don't think the term"mental lapse" applies when referring to anticipating a play or a pitch to bunt or hit. He's thinking. He's trying. So where's the mental lapse?
To me, a mental lapse is throwing to the wrong base. Or getting picked off because of poor alertness (like Jake tonight at 2nd). Trying to cheat is one thing. He possesses the speed Mac doesn't. Thus, he has more margin for error.
When a pitcher crosses up his catcher because he forgot the signs change with a runner on 2nd - that's a mental lapse.
Yes, the game is cerebral. And if a player is anticipating something, he's using his head. We have both played this game. We have both pitched. We have both been coached. I think UR take is based on being coached by a hard-azz approach. One who expects more...always.
Is this the right way? Well, managers like Dick Williams and Leland and Manual and Martin are/were quite successful. So, it's hard to argue with an approach wanting players to keep improving. But it also puts much added pressure on them.
I never got back into the game beyond playing because I can't treat people like that. And I suppose I would have been a poor coach as a result. But my guys would enjoy the game.
Baseball is big business, which means decisions are made accordingly.
I know where you are now coming from. It's a matter of expectation.
I think it's unrealistic to think players will measure up to standards set too high.
I can't blame players for physical mistakes or taking a wrong mental approach.
Nor can I sight a perceived cumulative breakdown and prove anything.
I think it's best to keep it individual and acknowledge every aspect of the given situation before saying "He didn't do his job". That's my take.