Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘MLB

They were all (allegedly) disruptive to team chemistry, even though they were all considered MLB super stars. Barry Bonds, when he was with the Giants, insisted on having his own private room in the locker room and looked down his nose at his teammates. It was no coincidence that while Bonds was playing for San Francisco they never once made it to the World Series.

In the case of Bo Jackson, I happen to know that when he was playing for the Kansas City Royals, he refused to follow Manager John Wathan’s instructions. He would be given a bunt sign and he would hit away. He would be told not to steal and he stole anyway. Wathan went to GM John Schuerholz and wanted to bench Jackson but Schuerholz wouldn’t allow it since having Jackson in the line-up “put fannies in seats.” Wathan was soon fired and when replaced with Hal MacRae, MacRae insisted that he would have complete control of who played and who didn’t or he would refuse to take the job. Schuerholz humbly agreed.

Randy Johnson was arrogant and treated his teammates badly. No wonder in all of his years as a professional baseball player he appeared in only one World Series.

Roger Clemens is a good example of how the Psycho Self-Imagery process works. I once read in the media that he often purposely threw at a batter’s head in order to intimidate him and thus affect his ability to hit a baseball. And since that time, I’ve never been a fan of his. Over the years, Roger has been his own worst enemy. When athletes have extra-marital affairs, when they are doing drugs, when they are dishonest and lie to a grand jury, when they repress their feelings resulting in low feelings of self-worth, and when their lives are in disharmony, they will actually create negative events in their lives, on and off the field of competition. And Roger Clemens is the perfect example.

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I read in today’s newspaper that Noel Arguelles, who defected from the Cuban junior national team while in Canada and signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2009 for $6.9 Million, is considered a bust. Though it’s true that he’s had some shoulder problems, there’s also the possibility that he is concerned for his family that he left behind in Cuba and that these circumstances are weighing heavily on him and could be affecting his performance. This is very common among Cuban ballplayers who defect. When Yeonis Cespedes defected and joined the Oakland Athletics, he left behind his 2-year old son the mother of his son. When he won the 2013 Home Run Derby, it happened right after he had talked with his son in Cuba by phone. Any major league baseball team who signs a Cuban ballplayer who has defected, should do everything within their power to bring the player’s family to America as soon as possible. The benefits will show up immediately in the player’s performance. According to Wikipedia, “while some players who defect succeed in obtaining multi-million dollar contracts to play in MLB, many receive only minor league contracts and do not reach MLB. Players are often separated from their families, as Cuba often denies exit visas to the families of players who defected. This can lead to severed relationships, such as between Jorge Toca and the mother of his son.”

I’ve written before about how many of the Cuban ballplayers, when they defect to America to play Major League Baseball, fear for the safety of the families they left behind. Just knowing their families are safe can have a powerful positive effect on their performance. A case in point was this past week when Oakland Athletics ballplayer Yeonis Cespedes won the Home Run Derby after speaking with his son in Cuba on the phone. According to USA Today: “After the Derby, Cespedes said he had talked on the phone two days before with his 4-year-old son, Yeonis Jr., and promised to dedicate his home runs to him. Cespedes’ family endured a life-threatening ordeal to join him stateside, and he longs for the day when he can bring his son as well.” And when that day comes, watch for Cespedes’ batting average to skyrocket. Maybe even reach .400 and beyond.

It’s no small wonder that more professional athletes, like Aaron Hernandez, aren’t getting into trouble when you consider their background. For most of them, it all starts when they’re about 8 years old and show exceptional talent in their sport. They are fawned over by parents and fans and as they get older, coaches and others are quick to cover for them. Before long, they begin to develop a sense of entitlement and begin to believe they can do no wrong, seldom being held responsible for their actions. And many of them have anger issues, which when combined with a sense of entitlement, can be explosive and dangerous. As was the case with Hernandez. Some come from loving, nurturing home environments and they are the athletes who seldom get into trouble because of how they feel about themselves. But there are many who need help, and help could be made available to them if general managers and team owners weren’t so locked into their beliefs regarding the creation of internal support groups. Many GMs and front office executives consider support groups “sissy stuff” and believe if you pay an athlete enough money he (or she) should be able to take care of their own problems. One-on-one counseling isn’t the answer because there’s such a stigma attached to a player seeing a “team schrink.” But when team members share their personal problems and issues with their buddies, in a controlled environment, amazing things take place, including good team chemistry and team bonding…something money can’t buy.

I just read in the newspaper where U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel suspended a top general at Fort Jackson in South Carolina over allegations of assault and adultery. Shouldn’t NFL, NBA and MLB athletes be held to the same standards? If athletes who were committing adultery knew they would be suspended if found out, they would cease and desist and you would probably see their performance levels increase considerably.

I’ve been following Vince Young’s career since his days at the University of Texas and always thought he would excel in the NFL. So it was quite a surprise to me to see where he had been released by the Buffalo Bills shortly after general manager Buddy Nix completed a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Young was the third overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Tennessee Titans. Since I’m not privy to what’s going on in Young’s personal life it’s possible he has some issues that are affecting his performance. But it’s also possible that he has a problem with one of his coaches, and since coaches seem to always have the last word, Vince’s days with the Bills were numbered. I recall that quote by former MLB manager Whitey Herzog who said that very often a team releases a player when they should have replaced the player’s coach. That’s why I believe the coaching staff with Kansas City Chiefs might be just what the doctor ordered if they were to sign Young as backup quarterback. And it wouldn’t surprise me to see him become the starting quarterback after a short time. He might be just what the Chiefs need.

According to a recent article in USA Today there is a belief among some MLB scouts that one of the reasons there are so many no-hitters and perfect games this season is because teams are rushing hitters to the big leagues and they’re not yet equipped to handle secondary and off-speed pitches. Also, because of the ban on amphetamines players are running out of gas. There could be some truth to these assertions but I believe it’s primarily because many of today’s MLB teams lack team chemistry and there is often dissention among players and some of this dissention is due to discrepancies related to how they are compensated. But these issues are seldom discussed openly and are often swept under the rug because team owners and general managers try to keep them hidden from public view rather than taking action to resolve them. But many of them really have no idea as to what should be done to resolve them. In addition, many of the players are having extra-marital affairs and because they are living a lie it’s affecting their ability to focus on incoming pitches. If I were working with a MLB team I would encourage the manager to introduce a team rule that makes it very clear that no player would be allowed to be unfaithful to his wife and if he didn’t correct his behavior he would be suspended without pay for an indefinite period of time.


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