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I asked Miller whether any player in his experience had made a dramatic turnaround - someone he thought was almost out of baseball because of a negative attitude.
"Just one - Steve Stone when I was with the Orioles," Miller said. "Steve was a lifetime well-under-.500 pitcher who had always played on last-place clubs, and he had developed kind of a survive-yourself-and-the-hell-with-the-team attitude. Consequently he worked real slow and he had fifty different pitchers and he was always experimenting. When he joined Baltimore it was a winning club, and on a winning club you've got to let people do things their way until they ask for help. Finally Steve came to me one day and said, 'You haven't said anything much to me,' and I said, 'I think you complicate the game wehn you try to do everything for yourself. Would you do two things for me? One, would you work extremely fast between pitches - just get the ball and pitch, so you don't think too much? And would you reduce your five pitches to two? Choose the two best pitches you had when you warmed up, work fast, and change the speed with those two pitches.' He said, 'I'll try it." Fortunately, he went out and won. We scored some runs for him, and he threw a shutout, and he went on to win fourteen straight games and get the Cy Young Award for the year. Steve was a little bit of a negative guy, not necessarily in his personality but because of his track record - every place he'd gone it had been lose, lose, lose. He needed one little key to get over the hump - something to make him positive.. I just tried to simplify the game for him, and his ability went out and won those fourteen in a row. He had been thinking too much, and always on the negative side. What I did was to speed everything up so he didn't have so much time to think."
Is there any reason at all to think this is a good idea?
Now - this new positive attitude and simplified approach had a drawback, which was that one of Steve Stone's two good pitches was the curveball. So after a season of amazing results throwing 50% curveballs, he had to retire 2 years later with terrible tendinitis in his elbow.
Aw, shoot. I used to go there all the time when I was living in Palo Alto. My roommate & I would get incredibly stoned and mock each other.
We also have a DH appearance from Danny Goodwin, who finished the 1977 season with an OPS of .580; his homer in this game was his only one in 96 PA on the season. (He doesn't appear to be quite that bad most of the time, but then, his career was only 707 PA long, spread across 7 seasons, so it's not entirely easy to tell.)
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