By now you know that Joe Torre chooses his words very carefully. I guess more than a decade under a microscope in New York will do that to a guy.
But he’s also the master of not saying much with those words he chooses! You’ll never hear him rip a player or talk about anything that’s supposed to stay in the clubhouse. He knows how to play that game. But he almost always tap dances around the really tough questions too, in a way that makes the person who asked the question feel like it got answered.
It’s an art.
One of the subtle differences in his phrasing that I’ve come to love and understand is when he mentions two words. “Concern” and “worry”. In almost everybody’s vocabulary there’s an order of importance we place on the words we use to to describe something. And I believe in most people’s mind a “worry” is a much greater problem to have than a “concern”. And that’s the way Joe see’s it too.
For the Dodgers this season, there have been countless isues that cause Joe a little concern — but not many that cause him a great deal of worry.
The mounting appearances and innings pitched by the bullpen is and has been a concern, but if you look at the numbers they’ve put up and the fact that the Dodgers still have the best record in the NL, why worry? Not to mention the fact that when you play the most extra inning games in baseball, you’re going to have more innings from your ‘pen.
Broxton’s toe, Loney’s lack of power, Manny’s recent lack of power and Martin’s whole season are things that Torre is concerned about. Not to worry.
Who’s the 5th starter—heck who’s the 4th starter? What’s up with Bills—again? And how do you find a way to get Juan Pierre more playing time? Just concerns, not worries.
Joe concerns himself with many, many things that you and I never will. He treats his entire team like they are his own family so he’s non-stop thinking about everything they do, too. When was the last time you were concerned about whether or not Jeff Weaver got home safely from that night’s game — let alone worry about it?
And when the game starts? Forget about it. The things that concern Joe are so far ahead of what we’re thinking, we won’t even think of ’em til tomorrow!
So that brings me to the worry part, becuase I, like you, worry.
I’m worried about the offense.
You can give me stats and say the they scored 11 runs against Cincinnati or tell me that they lead the NL in hitting….but I’m worried.
Those 11-run outbursts are happening less and less. And really, it was the Reds.
This is now a team that scores most of it’s runs via the home run when it used to be a team that got 10 hits every night and beat you with a relentless attack. I like the old way better because this team is not a power hitting team.
When was the last time they had back to back 5-run games? When was the last time they beat an ace on the opposing team? I could look those things up but I’m lazy and like you — I just know it hasn’t happened enough lately.
The playoffs are coming. That’s the time when the offensive numbers are hard to come by and every pitcher you face seems like an ace.
There are about 30 games to go and I’m not all that concerned that the Dodgers ARE a playoff team.
But the offense scares me.
Why? Because I worry.
— Steve Lyons
Back in the good old days of the MLB amateur draft, nobody paid any attention at all.
It wasn’t on TV, very few, if any players had agents, and the process was much simpler.
Yesterday, as expected Stephen Strasburg was the #1 overall pick of the Washington Nationals. It was a no-brainer—- 13-1 with an ERA less than 1.50 and he even threw a no-hitter. Oh, and by the way he throws 100MPH routinely.
So this is where I’m supposed to point out how the draft is not an exact science and have numbers and facts about how #1 picks rarely make it to the big leagues. And guys like Bill Russell of the Dodgers was a 42nd round pick and never played high school baseball– but had a great career. Or maybe the most famous Dodger draft story, the great Mike Piazza who was drafted in the 63rd round out of courtesy to his father.
But I’m not going to do it.
I hope Strasburg makes it big. In fact, the number two pick in the draft, Dustin Ackley, is the son of a guy I played with in the minor leagues way back when. I hope he makes it, too.
I have no problem with the kids and the talent level they posess, I have a problem with the agents and the system that’s created so much pressure for the teams to sign these guys—and for BIG BUCKS.
Strasburg is represented by Scott Boras (big surprise) and he’s not just going to get a big signing bonus and a plane ticket to “A” ball the way it used to be. Oh, no. Boras will be involved in intense negotiations to get Strasburg a package in the area of $15 to $50 Million.
Yes, 50 Million!
Of course that deal will be a long-term contract that will contain bonuses and guaranteed call ups to the big leagues– before he’s ready and major salary increases at every level he pitches at etc, etc. But still, $50 Million?
It was always well known that the top players in the draft we’re going to get a nice bonus. “Bonus Babies” was the term used for the Nuke Laloosh’s of the baseball world. But the money and the pressure on the organizations to sign these guys is incredible. And I always wonder why?
What’s Strasburg going to do if Washington says, “no”?
What would any of them do?
It may sound like sour grapes on my part and I promise it’s not—but I do have a point of reference. In 1981 I was the Number 1 daft pick by the Boston Red Sox.
I got $55,000.
One day later I was sent to “A” ball in Winston-Salem NC where I began my Pro baseball career.
My salary was $600.00 per month and meal money on the road was 9 bucks.
I played 13 years of professional baseball, 9 in the Major Leagues and felt like the luckiest guy in the world for the entire time.
I made 2.1 Million in my whole career.
50 Million wouldn’t have made me a better player or any happier.
— Steve Lyons