April 25, 2006
April 25th vs. The Devil Rays
On one side, tonight was a page from the recent Yankees-great-teams text book. Get an early lead, have your starting pitcher maintain that margin, and then tack on runs until the game is far in your favor.
On the other side, Tampa Bay was clearly playing their "B" tonight.
Regardless of the side that you may choose to run with, the Yankees are now two games over .500 for the first time this season. And, since you need to get to two over before you can do three, and then four, and then five, etc., the win tonight has meaning.
Actually, something came to me tonight - watching Scott Proctor close out the game.
You're a baseball player. You spend your entire life just trying to get to the major leagues. You have some talent and that allows you to get there. But, once at that level, there's tremendous stress to do well - along with having doubts in your ability - and that hurts your performance (because you're playing tight, as if every outing is "major league" life or death).
Then, you have a huge life event. Your one-month old daughter has to have surgery to fix a serious heart ailment. Any parent can tell you how such a matter can slap you in the face faster and harder than anything else known to man. It also gives you a very quick lesson in what really matters in life - and what's not so important in reality (despite what you may have thought in the past).
All of a sudden, that past situation where you would have been stressed is not as dire because you now know, without question, that it's not the end of your world if it doesn't work out - because of that slap wake-up call that brought your attention to what really is important.
Ironically, once that stress is removed from the situation, you're no longer tight and your talent flows instead of being choked off at the source. And, because you actually have talent, you start to succeed. As this is repeated, you build confidence and become more successful.
Now, I'm not saying that I know for sure that this has happened with Proctor. But, it's possible. All the pieces are there on the timeline. Again, it's just a thought that passed through my mind tonight as I watched what looked like a new Scott Proctor on the mound (to me). Your mileage may vary.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 25, 2006 10:23 PM
I hope you're right Steve. For some reason I like Proctor, and I'd like to see him do well.
I'd like to see him do well because the Yankees can always use bullpen help, but he doesn't seem like a bad guy either so that's good. Steve, there could be truth to that analysis--Baseball is ninety percent mental half the time, right?
On a related note, my girlfriend works at a Children's Hospital. I am stunned by how many things can go wrong with kids. Before she started there, I figured as long as all of the fingers and toes were there, everything was fine. Those of you with healthy kids should be really thankful.
Posted by: JeremyM at April 26, 2006 12:12 AM
Steve, one problem though. The thing about Proctor is that he was kicking ass in Spring training, and continued his success through the major leagues.
As a note though, Arod attributed his 2005 success to his perspectives being changed by the birth of his daughter.
Posted by: DownFromNJ at April 26, 2006 12:54 AM
I did think about the fact that he did well in ST. But, then again, people say that you should not be fooled by ST and September stats too.
FWIW, Leiter said in the game yesterday that Proctor worked this winter on a two-seamer - giving up some MPH to get better movement on the FB. For all we know, it all could be that too.
Like I said, the life event thing was just a thought. It could be nothing. Or, it could be everything. Or, it could be one of three things. Only Proctor knows.
Jeremy - both my kids were born early - - my daughter by 6 weeks and my son by 4 weeks. So, I know that there's so much to be thankful for when things work out. You're right about that.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at April 26, 2006 09:31 AM