Mental Lapses

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    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]Baseball is a game in which there is time to size things up.  Among other things, a player can try to anticipate what might happen next and get ready for it. Pitchers and batters are constantly engaged in this kind of give and take. All batters guess to a certain extent, and thus risk getting fooled. But the alternative is not trying to figure out how they are being pitched, and thus not being able to make adjustments.  They may say that they go by "see the ball, hit the ball,"  and maybe some do; but by and large they are -- and should be -- engaged in the mental side of batting. Anticipation is a large part of baseball, whether it's a baserunner looking ahead, an outfielder getting set to make a certain kind of play, an infielder positioning himself and deciding where to go with a ball in case of this or that. Players who do this are the ones who make the best decisions in the spur of the moment. Their heads are always in the game. It's also true that "things happen."  Occasionally what may look like a mistake in fact couldn't be helped. But, given the nature of baseball, this situation is eccentric. Even so, some players are better than others reacting to it.  Call it momentary instinct or an ability formed by the habit of constant preparation. It's "there when needed." Yogi's great crack applies. "This game is 90% mental. The other 50% is physical."  Or words to that effect. I believe in taking a very strict approach to mental discipline. In both directions, good and bad, one thing leads to another. Baseball is, above all, a game of good and bad habits. And they are infectious. An entire team can be affected for good or for ill.  Heads-up baseball breeds more heads-up baseball; the reverse is also true.  At all levels.  As someone pointed out, the game is played by humans, who are not perfect. Duh. But striving for the perfect is  going to produce the best results. The striving is, course,  dependent upon knowing the right way.   My coach said, "Play the game right, and the score will take care of itself." Things don't always turn out this way, but the principle is sound. 
    Posted by expitch[/QUOTE]

    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.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    Harness, I wrote a response that for some reason hasn't showed up.  I disagreed with you, again, about the pick off and the bunt try. But  most of all I corrected your wayward supposition that my coach was  hard nosed. Anything but. He was an amiable perfectionist. Rod Dedeaux was a sensitive, gentle, personable man. He never ranted, yelled, or criticized in public. He was, above all, a great teacher and psychologist. I tried to follow his lead when I coached.  
    Sounds like you might have had a different experience. Were you put off by a hard-nosed coach in college? Why do you think that a gentler approach would have resulted in failure if you had "gone on in baseball"?  Did you have a chance to go on and turn it down? Gone on from what level? Terry is not  hard nosed, and is successful by any reasonable standard. Neither was Alston, nor Joe McCarthy, nor Joe Torre. Scioscia is not one. I could name more. 
    We will never agree on the specific plays and issues discussed in this thread. I am willing to let it go at that. But I am curious to hear about your experience and training. I might then gain a better understanding of your attitude.
    BTW, I recently attended a USC baseball alumni banquet. Players in attendance ranged from teams in the 1940's until the end of his career. I guarantee you that players don't talk about a hard nose the way those men talked about Rod. Mostly there were funny stories and remembrances of times when he "pulled one out of the hat."   
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    What makes you think that Ellsbury was relying on the element of surprise? The third baseman was playing in. Though Ellsbury doesn't bunt a lot, the threat is always there. Actually, it might have been more surprising if he had bunted with one strike and when he got a better pitch to bunt.
    BTW, the jump and the first few steps are more important than the lead in base stealing.  
     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    To answer UR last question, bunting for a hit always conveys an element of surprise. Obviously more so with Papi! But Jake has less margin for error with the 3rd bagger on the lip.

    I assumed you had a tough coach from UR other posts. My bad. I played in a couple of independent leagues after high-school. Had some good coaches; some not so good. Approaches varied. But the part I miss is all the cutting up we used to do.
    I really do miss that.

    I got sick (colon disease) and wasn't able to continue.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]To answer UR last question, bunting for a hit always conveys an element of surprise. Obviously more so with Papi! But Jake has less margin for error with the 3rd bagger on the lip. I assumed you had a tough coach from UR other posts. My bad. I played in a couple of independent leagues after high-school. Had some good coaches; some not so good. Approaches varied. But the part I miss is all the cutting up we used to do. I really do miss that. I got sick (colon disease) and wasn't able to continue.
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]
    I'm really sorry to hear that illness cut short your baseball career. That's a killer for someone who loves the game, as you obviously do.  
    Shenanigans are a big part of being on a baseball team. Rod had a red wig that looked real. He could comb it five ways. He'd plunk it on you when you were least suspecting -- on the road in your sophomore year. I got it in the club car of a train from SF to LA.  It looked just real enough to draw the attention of the other passengers.  That was the point.  Afterwards, he said, "I think that pretty woman is interested, tiger. She kept looking over." The rascal. He called everyone "tiger."  

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from SoftlawRedSox. Show SoftlawRedSox's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

     But the part I miss is all the cutting up we used to do. I really do miss that.

    You are still doing it, as a lifelong idle minded mendacity.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from billsrul. Show billsrul's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    To get back to this thread originally, what one may call a "mental lapse" may be called "playing the percentages" by another.  For instance, if there's a bloop hit between an infielder and outfielder, should the runner go (and give up the double play if caught, but gain an extra base if the ball drops) or stay (avoiding the double play if the ball is caught, but giving up the extra base that could have been gained if the ball drops)?  This is somewhat of a "percentages" thing, but if the runner "guesses" wrong, it's almost always called a "mental lapse" when it really might not be.  The same is true of a decision like Ellsbury's to bunt....
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from maxbialystock. Show maxbialystock's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    OK, let's try this.

    If players are never picked off, never caught stealing, never doubled up on a line drive or blooper that is caught, or never caught trying to score from 2d on a single or from 1st on a double, they are playing passive baseball.  That is unarguable fact.  Drew, for example, rarely takes a chance of any kind.  A ground single to right with Drew on 1st?  Fine, but he ain't ever going to try to get to third unless the hitter can also get to second, in which case it's a double not a single.  Varitek is the same way.  So was Mike Lowell. 

    If they are frequently caught stealing, picked off, etc, then they are gambling too much or maybe even having mental lapses. 

    When Ellsbury got picked off, it was a beautifully executed play by the Jays.   The shortstop literally ran to 2B and caught a perfectly thrown ball about ankle high just on the left side of 2B--and it was still a close play.  It could just have easily resulted in a ball going to centerfield or, more likely, a throw that was a little off the mark, which would have allowed Ellsbury to get back.  To me Ellsbury had it calculated about right--a big enough lead that only a perfect throw and timing and catch can get you picked off.  Alternatively, he could have stayed maybe three strikes from 2B--which nobody does--and been safe every time there was/is a pickoff play, which of course would never happen. 

    I completely agree with Harness's analysis of McDonald.   He got picked off because he was gambling, but he was gambling because that was what he was supposed to do--get to second by stealing it. 
     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    I like Bill's point, fusing "mental lapses" with simply playing the percentages.
    That pretty much nails it.

    To EX-pitch: Some of the stuff we used to do was on the field.
    Some of it wasn't very funny at the time, but I can laugh now.

    We had a catcher - "Rocks" - who was built like a line-backer. Mean and dumb.
    So dumb, in fact, that I had to call my own game when he caught. But he could hit. And he had a shotgun arm. He could have pitched but he only could throw a fastball.

    Well, he had a real fetish with anybody who ever tried to steal a base of him. It was border-line pathological. He took any theft personally. And when you were on the rubber, if you didn't hit the dirt like a marine, he could literally take UR head off. I can still hear that ball whistling over my ears - me with my chin in the dirt!

    One time, we got into it a couple of days earlier. I threw one he should have caught. He then took his sweet time about retrieving it. (We didn't exactly get along). The runner on first ended up on third.
    In my next start, I had nothing and the game was getting out of reach.
    But just to p-iss him off, whenever a runner got aboard, I purposely slowed up my delivery to give him a better chance to steal.

    I'd never do this in a meaningful game, but I really thought Rocks was an azz.
    The funny part was, runners were still stealing despite the score. Rocks had few friends...especially those who taunted him from the other dugout:)
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from losmediasrojas. Show losmediasrojas's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]I like Bill's point, fusing "mental lapses" with simply playing the percentages. That pretty much nails it. To EX - pitch : Some of the stuff we used to do was on the field. Some of it wasn't very funny at the time, but I can laugh now. We had a catcher - "Rocks" - who was built like a line-backer. Mean and dumb. So dumb, in fact, that I had to call my own game when he caught. But he could hit. And he had a shotgun arm. He could have pitched but he only could throw a fastball. Well, he had a real fetish with anybody who ever tried to steal a base of him. It was border-line pathological. He took any theft personally. And when you were on the rubber, if you didn't hit the dirt like a marine, he could literally take UR head off. I can still hear that ball whistling over my ears - me with my chin in the dirt! One time, we got into it a couple of days earlier. I threw one he should have caught. He then took his sweet time about retrieving it. (We didn't exactly get along). The runner on first ended up on third. In my next start, I had nothing and the game was getting out of reach. But just to p-iss him off, whenever a runner got aboard, I purposely slowed up my delivery to give him a better chance to steal. I'd never do this in a meaningful game, but I really thought Rocks was an azz. The funny part was, runners were still stealing despite the score. Rocks had few friends...especially those who taunted him from the other dugout:)
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    Sounds like Rocks could be one the bdc regulars.  Who do you suspect? 
     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    I'll give you one guess.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]To get back to this thread originally, what one may call a "mental lapse" may be called "playing the percentages" by another.  For instance, if there's a bloop hit between an infielder and outfielder, should the runner go (and give up the double play if caught, but gain an extra base if the ball drops) or stay (avoiding the double play if the ball is caught, but giving up the extra base that could have been gained if the ball drops)?  This is somewhat of a "percentages" thing, but if the runner "guesses" wrong, it's almost always called a "mental lapse" when it really might not be.  The same is true of a decision like Ellsbury's to bunt....
    Posted by billsrul[/QUOTE]
    On the bloop play, the runner should not "go," if you mean keep running all out. He should position himself so that he can return to first if the ball is caught or keep moving if the ball is not.  'Percentages" are not involved because the runner can't know the percentage of times that plays ends up one way or another. Now here is a percentage: the risk of getting doubled up on a blooper is too great to gain one base if the ball drops. A base is worth an out. Teams will sacrifice to move a runner one base.  So if the runner keeps going, he's risking two bases against the chance of gaining one. That's not very smart.

     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]I'll give you one guess.
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    Well, I have to eliminate Softy based on assumed geography.  Plus, he's not stupid.  Pathological?  Absolutely.  But not stupid.

    Harv, who announced his retirement while you were in dispose, is a candidate.  But he doesn't seem like the type that would go for the jugular.  And neither is andrewmitch, who would just ignore you and everybody else who once called him a name (which is just about everybody else). 

    The Babe is mean-spirited enough and also pathological.  But again, there's the assumed geography thing. 

    I guess I'm stumped.  Could you give me a hint, or could I use one of my lifelines?  I may have to wait until MikeNagy comes aboard.

    Here's a question for ya.  Did Rocks already have a drinking problem? 
     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    Your getting close!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCu-NUMrsj0&feature=related
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from losmediasrojas. Show losmediasrojas's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    Another question: Was Rocks an aspiring manager?  Was he vocal, practically foaming at the mouth, in his critical hindsight?  I have another candidate in mind.   
     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    Check the you-tube again. No, he was too dumb to tie his shoe laces.
    He would get hit by a pitch. Then there'd be 3 seconds before he'd react.
    He couldn't even spell manager (hint there).

    His foaming at the mouth was Narragnansett enhanced. Dead giveaway!
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]I like Bill's point, fusing "mental lapses" with simply playing the percentages. That pretty much nails it. To EX - pitch : Some of the stuff we used to do was on the field. Some of it wasn't very funny at the time, but I can laugh now. We had a catcher - "Rocks" - who was built like a line-backer. Mean and dumb. So dumb, in fact, that I had to call my own game when he caught. But he could hit. And he had a shotgun arm. He could have pitched but he only could throw a fastball. Well, he had a real fetish with anybody who ever tried to steal a base of him. It was border-line pathological. He took any theft personally. And when you were on the rubber, if you didn't hit the dirt like a marine, he could literally take UR head off. I can still hear that ball whistling over my ears - me with my chin in the dirt! One time, we got into it a couple of days earlier. I threw one he should have caught. He then took his sweet time about retrieving it. (We didn't exactly get along). The runner on first ended up on third. In my next start, I had nothing and the game was getting out of reach. But just to p-iss him off, whenever a runner got aboard, I purposely slowed up my delivery to give him a better chance to steal. I'd never do this in a meaningful game, but I really thought Rocks was an azz. The funny part was, runners were still stealing despite the score. Rocks had few friends...especially those who taunted him from the other dugout:)
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]
    I think Bill's point requires much more exemplification. The example he does give shows a runner not playing the percentages but playing against the percentages: risking two outs to gain one base. If  an out is worth a base, the man is risking two bases to gain one. That's a lousy percentage play, and ones like it will kill a team over the course of a season. 


     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from losmediasrojas. Show losmediasrojas's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]Your getting close! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCu-NUMrsj0&feature=related
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    OK. I think I've got it.  Now I understand why he thinks CERA is ridiculous. 
     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    My last post was a giveaway!

    You win this lovely youtube! My ode to the board "Rocks"...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL9TunUh_bw
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]OK, let's try this. If players are never picked off, never caught stealing, never doubled up on a line drive or blooper that is caught, or never caught trying to score from 2d on a single or from 1st on a double, they are playing passive baseball.  That is unarguable fact.  Drew, for example, rarely takes a chance of any kind.  A ground single to right with Drew on 1st?  Fine, but he ain't ever going to try to get to third unless the hitter can also get to second, in which case it's a double not a single.  Varitek is the same way.  So was Mike Lowell.  If they are frequently caught stealing, picked off, etc, then they are gambling too much or maybe even having mental lapses.  When Ellsbury got picked off, it was a beautifully executed play by the Jays.   The shortstop literally ran to 2B and caught a perfectly thrown ball about ankle high just on the left side of 2B--and it was still a close play.  It could just have easily resulted in a ball going to centerfield or, more likely, a throw that was a little off the mark, which would have allowed Ellsbury to get back.  To me Ellsbury had it calculated about right--a big enough lead that only a perfect throw and timing and catch can get you picked off.  Alternatively, he could have stayed maybe three strikes from 2B--which nobody does--and been safe every time there was/is a pickoff play, which of course would never happen.  I completely agree with Harness's analysis of McDonald.   He got picked off because he was gambling, but he was gambling because that was what he was supposed to do--get to second by stealing it. 
    Posted by maxbialystock[/QUOTE]
    Inarguable FACT?  First, you're loading the dice with "never."  How about very rarely, which is what I said after a call out from moon.  Those data could just as well mean that a team makes good decisions consistently about what to do and and what not to do, and then executes well.  I played on teams like that in college. Nobody ever called them passive. Opportunistic is more like it -- with good judgment.
    Varitek has lead feet. Lowell had lead feet. Drew is not fast.  You've weakened your case by criticizing players who in fact use good judgment. They do not take risks in the face of their limitations.  I'd call that smart baseball.
    Harness said that McDonald was 

     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    I can't imagine why he would think CERA makes any sense! 

    Pitching staff with Tek: 2.92 ERA (571 PA) Team is 9-6 (.600) when he starts. 

    Pitching staff with Salty: 5.29 ERA (805 PA)  Team is 8-14 when he starts.                                                    
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from expitch. Show expitch's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Mental Lapses : Inarguable FACT?  First, you're loading the dice with "never."  How about very rarely, which is what I said after a call out from moon.  Those data could just as well mean that a team makes good decisions consistently about what to do and and what not to do, and then executes well.  I played on teams like that in college. Nobody ever called them passive. Opportunistic is more like it -- with good judgment. Varitek has lead feet. Lowell had lead feet. Drew is not fast.  You've weakened your case by criticizing players who in fact use good judgment. They do not take risks in the face of their limitations.  I'd call that smart baseball. Harness said that McDonald was anticipating stealing. He should have been anticipating a pickoff attempt. That's what lefties do. Baseball is a game of rewards and punishments, among other things. One "punishment" is that a lefty pitcher will usually cost a step ( at least ) on the lead. My source for that statement is Maury Wills, who always maintained that a good jump and quick first few steps are more important than a good lead. There are gambles and there are gambles. McDonald did not take a good one.
    Right, if the Jays made the perfect play on Ellsbury, you tip your hat.  
    Posted by expitch[/QUOTE]

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from losmediasrojas. Show losmediasrojas's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]I can't imagine why  he would think CERA makes any sense!  Pitching staff with Tek : 2.92 ERA (571 PA) Team is 9-6 (.600) when he starts.  Pitching staff with Salty: 5.29 ERA (805 PA)  Team is 8-14 when he starts.                                                    
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    Did you watch the games on NESN with Gregg Zaun?  I only caught some of it. He had a lot to say about a catcher's relevance.    Thought you might have found it interesting. 
     
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    Re: Mental Lapses

    I missed much of it. Tied up at the bank. I'll catch the replay. Thanx.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from losmediasrojas. Show losmediasrojas's posts

    Re: Mental Lapses

    In Response to Re: Mental Lapses:
    [QUOTE]I missed much of it. Tied up at the bank. I'll catch the replay. Thanx.
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    A lot of great stuff including the nuances of providing a target for the pitcher, which he credited Tek at being a master of. 
     

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