Posted by Reese Kaplan at 10:00 AM
A common technique among debating clubs in high schools and colleges is to assign people to adopt the opposite side of what they truly believe. It’s done to help them differentiate between their emotions and beliefs vs. the debating tools to help build cogent arguments and prepare counterpoints to your opponent’s points. Let’s try this exercise and see how well it works.
He’s loyal to a fault.
His players respect him because no matter how they perform on the field, they know he’s supporting them and will insert them into the lineup regardless of what they do night after night. He realizes that even if a slump lasts for 5-6 months, the only way to get them going again is to play them.
He Respects Veteran Leadership
He knows that playing baseball is more than simply hitting, pitching, fielding, baserunning and throwing. There are things that can only be gleaned from years of having played the game, picking up on the nuances of the other team and knowing all of the unwritten rules of the game. Rookies can best learn by observing the veterans demonstrate their craft from a comfy spot on the bench where they can converse among the coaches and fellow players to analyze what the seasoned players are doing and why they’re doing it.
He Knows How to Ride the Hot Hand
When it comes to bullpen management, everyone knows that it’s at best a crap shoot from year to year in terms of how the pitchers will perform. When someone does demonstrate some modicum of success, Terry Collins will use that pitcher day after day until he’s no longer effective. Then he moves onto the next hot hand. Since the reliever may only face 3-6 batters at a time, there’s no undue strain on his arm because, as we all know, warm up pitches don’t take any toll on the muscles.
But He Also Knows Hot Streaks Are Not Sustainable
That’s why when you have a player who does well for 3-4 games in row, a month or even most of the season, that’s no reason to commit to the player actually being in the lineup. He could go cold any moment and the best way to test that theory is to bench him while he’s hot and see if he can recover from it. If he can, then maybe he’s got a chance. If not, then how does he ever expect to develop a rhythm? He can do that best by devoting 100% of his energy into watching the pitchers and learning, instead of simultaneously having to worry about swinging the bat.
He Makes Younger Players Earn Their Stripes
He doesn’t take a rookie or young veteran and insert him in the upper part of the batting order where he might either crumble under pressure or risk offending some of the veterans. No, he steadfastly has them bat 8th in the order where they’re assured of getting very few good pitches to hit. If a player can pass that test after 1 or 2 days, then he might need some more time on the bench to reflect on what he’s done and so as not to get a swelled head. It generally takes 2 months or more before considering that whatever he’s doing isn’t a short term hot streak or genuine ability. There’s nothing to be gained by risking offensive success too soon.
He Gets His Players to Man-Up
When a player has some kind of injury or illness that doesn’t require hospitalization or surgery, he instills in the players a sense of duty and camaraderie. Real men don’t let their teammates down by staying out of the lineup! Rub some dirt on it and get back in the game. Players have the off season to rest and recover from their injuries. During the summer they’re getting paid to play and play they shall.
He Toes the Company Line
He’s a loyal soldier. He knows how to convey the vision of his bosses. He takes the fall for their failed decision making. When Sandy Alderson or Jeff Wilpon shout jump, he replies with a salute and a smiling, “How high, Sir?” You just can’t buy that kind of loyalty. Some people wouldn’t do that for a million dollars. For slightly more than a million per year, perhaps…
He Unites His Team
In fact, when he was manager of the then California Angels he got them to make the unprecedented move of all 25 men in unison rallying together to approach the GM directly about…umm…maybe that’s not a good example.
He’s a Proven Winner
Look at his track record. Everywhere he goes, he…oh, wait, that’s not gonna fly either, is it?
Maybe I’m not cut out for this debating stuff after all.