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Monday, September 10, 2012

Glanville: Repairing Stephen Strasburg’s psyche key for Washington Nationals

Okay, but let’s limit him to 28 short visits to a sports psychologist.  Any more could be dangerous.

the Nationals are truly a great team this year because everyone has shown ace material when needed, but [Stephen] Strasburg could not relinquish his ace throne and go out on his terms. He had no power to finish what he started. This ties high achievers up in knots. As Strasburg said of the plan to end his season prematurely, “I don’t know if I’m ever gonna accept it, to be honest. It’s something that I’m not happy about at all. That’s not why I play the game. I play the game to be a good teammate and win.”

As a ballplayer, that is a hard reality to accept. You battle back from a devastating injury after being a show-stopping box-office dream with the act to back it up. Then you recover so well that you can be considered the ace of the best staff in the game by overcoming not only the physical toll it takes to get back but also the mountain of confidence markers you have to pass just so you get to the point that you don’t think your arm will detach from your body on the next curveball you throw…

... the Nationals… went so far to protect Strasburg and, in doing so, may have placed doubt where it wasn’t before for him.  He now is worried about letting his team down; he now knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can be emotionally unavailable and distracted on the mound, a place where he used to be comfortable. He knows he can be shaken to his core…

The Nationals have done just about everything right this season. They have a talented group that is also a true team. That’s a dominating combination. This is a moment for the organization to truly shine for Strasburg, not just by winning it all but also by taking the time to help him gain perspective on this decision. He is still young, and the worst thing for his development would be for his baseball family to miss the point that just because he made it through this season in one piece, it doesn’t mean he is whole.

The District Attorney Posted: September 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: doug glanville, nationals, stephen strasburg

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Rants Mulliniks Posted: September 10, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4231734)
So what Glanville is saying is that, in an attempt to protect Strasburg's arm, the Nats infected him with Steve Blass disease!
   2. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: September 10, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4231772)
And when Strasburg shows up to spring training at 300 lbs and starts crying on the mound and wets himself in the dugout, what then, huh Nats? What then?
   3. Bob Tufts Posted: September 10, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4231807)
Since each and every MLB is competitive will not refuse to play despite the inherent physical risks, the Nats have to make the decision for him regarding the short term and long term future of the player organization.

Strasburg has to accpet that - and it is not as hard as Glanville suggests. The team has prepared him for this since spring training. If Stras is shokced all of a sudden that Rizzo et al were men of their words, he does have a kind of weakness.

   4. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: September 10, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4231861)
When did professional athletes become such delicate flowers for whom even the slightest variations from how they want to be used is so psychologically devastating that it renders them incapable of performing?
   5. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: September 10, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4231878)
Well, Glanville's a writer, and you know how sensitive they are.
   6. Bob Tufts Posted: September 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4231906)
The change in this thread makes me incapable of reacting to these criticisms of athletes.
   7. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: September 10, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4231917)
Well, Glanville's a writer, and you know how sensitive they are.

Not that I agree with him, but isn't Glanville former Phillies outfielder Doug Glanville (meaning he's not just a "writer")?
   8. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: September 10, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4231918)
and when Strasburg shows up to spring training at 300 lbs and starts crying on the mound and wets himself in the dugout


Actually it would be better to wet himself on the mound and cry in the dugout. A urine ball might be another key weapon.

I told my boss at work that they should consider shutting me down this month in order to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, but I'm not sure I liked his response.
   9. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 10, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4231921)
When did professional athletes become such delicate flowers for whom even the slightest variations from how they want to be used is so psychologically devastating that it renders them incapable of performing?

They're not. Still, it's can be pretty disconcerting the first time you come face to face with the reality that the upper management at your company are f'ing idiots who make major decisions with no data and based on their gut.
   10. thetailor Posted: September 10, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4231931)
Not that I agree with him, but isn't Glanville former Phillies outfielder Doug Glanville (meaning he's not any old writer)?

Why let that get in the way of good, old-fashioned internet snark? So what if he's a former player with a degree from UPenn? What he's saying must be ridiculous.
   11. Zach Posted: September 10, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4231938)
What he's saying isn't that ridiculous. Lots of players who miss time for an injury feel abandoned or left out, and it's got to be even worse if you're physically ready to perform but aren't allowed. Now everybody else is going to be involved in the city's first pennant race in forever, and Strasburg will be sitting on the sidelines with an injury free arm, watching.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: September 10, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4231952)
the upper management at your company are f'ing idiots who make major decisions with no data and based on their gut.

Just checking ... you know we're talking about baseball teams right? And you honestly think that in this situation the Nats are acting LESS rationally, MORE on their gut, LESS data-driven than the last 140 years of baseball team decision-making?

   13. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4231989)
Just checking ... you know we're talking about baseball teams right?

Yes. But thanks for checking. Actually translates well in this case. We've all had decisions flowed down that make no sense but you have to comply with because you don't have the juice to refuse.

And you honestly think that in this situation the Nats are acting LESS rationally, MORE on their gut, LESS data-driven than the last 140 years of baseball team decision-making?

The college of coaches idea probably had some study or data behind it as well. Doesn't make it any less of a stupid idea. Analysis is nice, blindly following analysis is just CYA. But of course there is no science here, three is just guesstimating. 160 IP has nothing to do with anything. It's a number out of a hat.

This is a 30 for 30 in the making already. The final shot has the text on the screen "The Nationals missed the playoffs every year until Strasberg signed with the Red Sox. Rizzo has left baseball and now reads palms for 10 dollars a pop under the name Madam Stevie. In his rare moments of lucidity, he still bitterly defends his decision."
   14. Poster Nutbag Posted: September 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4232046)
This is a 30 for 30 in the making already. The final shot has the text on the screen "The Nationals missed the playoffs every year until Strasberg signed with the Red Sox. Rizzo has left baseball and now reads palms for 10 dollars a pop under the name Madam Stevie. In his rare moments of lucidity, he still bitterly defends his decision."


Not agreeing, nor disagreeing, but this is ####### funny!
   15. SteveM. Posted: September 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4232065)
And when Strasburg shows up to spring training at 300 lbs and starts crying on the mound and wets himself in the dugout, what then, huh Nats? What then?


Works for Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: September 10, 2012 at 08:12 PM (#4232075)
#13 ... wow! That's one of the dumbest things I've ever seen written here.

The Nats may well be wrong but to think that this decision is less well thought out amd less studied than the standard idiocy and irrationality of baseball management is ludicrous.
   17. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 10, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4232081)
The Nats may well be wrong but to think that this decision is less well thought out amd less studied than the standard idiocy and irrationality of baseball management is ludicrous.


Well, they didn't ask "Robert in Manhattan Beach" for his opinion, so it's definitely an irrational decision.
   18. Squash Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4232106)
In my experience with children and childish adults, the more you tell someone they should be upset about something the more upset they will indeed become. So by all means, carry on.

And, the national baseball writers of America must be thrilled they aren't going to be required to have a single new thought for all of winter. They'll just be able to rephrase different versions of this story from now until April. They might even be able to push it to May. They even get to kinda secretly hope Strasburg gets hurt again so they can rev the indignant outrage motor up to 10,000 rpm and write IT DIDN'T EVEN MAKE A ####### BIT OF DIFFERENCE, MR. PRESIDENT STAT GUYS GOOD OL' DAYS GAHHHH articles from now until kingdom come.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4232114)
This is a 30 for 30 in the making already. The final shot has the text on the screen "The Nationals missed the playoffs every year until Strasberg signed with the Red Sox. Rizzo has left baseball and now reads palms for 10 dollars a pop under the name Madam Stevie. In his rare moments of lucidity, he still bitterly defends his decision."

That'd be a much more likely scenario if the Nats' roster weren't made up almost exclusively of players in their twenties who likely have their best years still ahead of them. I'd be worried a lot more about where the Red Sox will be next October than I'd be worried about the Nats.

----------------------------------------

Well, they didn't ask "Robert in Manhattan Beach" for his opinion, so it's definitely an irrational decision.

Yeah, and the nerve of those stupid Nats, they also didn't ask Doris of Rego Park or Joe the Plumber.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:32 PM (#4232118)

That'd be a much more likely scenario if the Nats' roster weren't made up almost exclusively of players in their twenties who likely have their best years still ahead of them. I'd be worried a lot more about where the Red Sox will be next October than I'd be worried about the Nats.


The Nats obviously have a really nice core of young talent, but the number of young talented groups that fizzled out is legion. I think you and the genuine Nat fans are seriously overstating the likelihood of them becoming playoff mainstays. Lots can happen between now and the inevitable D.C. Dynasty.
   21. Squash Posted: September 10, 2012 at 09:38 PM (#4232123)
The Nats obviously have a really nice core of young talent, but the number of young talented groups that fizzled out is legion. I think you and the genuine Nat fans are seriously overstating the likelihood of them becoming playoff mainstays. Lots can happen between now and the inevitable D.C. Dynasty.

I agree with this. Despite my comment above I'm neutral on the Nats shutting Strasburg down - it's certainly interesting, and it certainly takes some balls, but things have a funny way of turning out. Windows tend to stay open for a much briefer time than seems apparent when you're at the beginning and nothing really bad has happened yet.
   22. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 10, 2012 at 10:24 PM (#4232143)
Windows tend to stay open for a much briefer time than seems apparent


not only does Bobby V's window remain open, he refuses to jump out of it.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4232160)
The Nats obviously have a really nice core of young talent, but the number of young talented groups that fizzled out is legion. I think you and the genuine Nat fans are seriously overstating the likelihood of them becoming playoff mainstays. Lots can happen between now and the inevitable D.C. Dynasty.

I'll tell you this: As a Yankee fan, I'd sure as hell like to switch rosters with the Nats, and that's not even taking their respective payrolls into consideration. I think a lot of outsiders simply don't realize just how good and just how built to last (if I can borrow a campaign slogan) this team really is from top to bottom, and how much their upside really is. I suppose anything could conceivably happen to put a kibosh on it, but if I were a fan of the other four NL East teams I wouldn't be holding my breath.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4232161)
not only does Bobby V's window remain open, he refuses to jump out of it.

Personally I'd like to push that sawed-off little second baseman with the Little Lord Fauntleroy name through that window instead. Of course failing that, I'd settle for having him as a passable backup for Cano.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: September 10, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4232166)
I'll tell you this: As a Yankee fan, I'd sure as hell like to switch rosters with the Nats, and that's not even taking their respective payrolls into consideration. I think a lot of outsiders simply don't realize just how good and just how built to last (if I can borrow a campaign slogan) this team really is from top to bottom, and how much their upside really is.


If I were a Yankee fan, I would as well. And I too, even with the debilitating disadvantage of not living inside the Beltway, see that the Nats have a very nice core of young talent (in fact, I just mentioned it a little while ago). But that doesn't change the fact that a great many teams have been similarly situated as this Nats team and have, for any number of reasons (injury and collapse being the two most prominent), failed to deliver on that promise. I don't see any reason why this Nats team is super protected against this cruel fate than the scores of others young dynamos that didn't live up to expectations.
   26. rr Posted: September 11, 2012 at 01:25 AM (#4232247)
If I were a Yankee fan, I would as well. And I too, even with the debilitating disadvantage of not living inside the Beltway, see that the Nats have a very nice core of young talent (in fact, I just mentioned it a little while ago). But that doesn't change the fact that a great many teams have been similarly situated as this Nats team and have, for any number of reasons (injury and collapse being the two most prominent), failed to deliver on that promise. I don't see any reason why this Nats team is super protected against this cruel fate than the scores of others young dynamos that didn't live up to expectations.
--

I agree with this for the most part. I'd add that with 10 teams making the postseason every year, that increases the Nats' chances of getting in every year--and it increases their chances of losing in the postseason every year. And with the new system, any time you don't win the division, you are looking at the play-in game.

So, while, yes, it is to some degree a "crapshoot" with or without Strasburg, this situation in 2012 is really good for the Nats and they may never have a better one. The pro-shutdown people use this--they can win it anyway--but to me, you can also use it to oppose the shutdown. The Nats are in a very good position, structurally, to "roll a seven" this year, and not having Strasburg may make that job a little harder.
   27. bjhanke Posted: September 11, 2012 at 03:59 AM (#4232284)
"When did professional athletes become such delicate flowers for whom even the slightest variations from how they want to be used is so psychologically devastating that it renders them incapable of performing?"

Cap Anson claimed to have this sort of trouble with John Clarkson, likely the best pitcher of the 1880s (the other candidate is Old Hoss Radbourne, who wasn't the most emotionally stable alcoholic himself). What Cap said- I am paraphrasing - amounts to "You give Clarkson any kind of negative feedback and he'll go into a complete sulking funk. But praise him without shame and, next start, he's the best pitcher in the game."

A century later, Whitey Herzog was able to get very very good results out of Joaquin Andujar because he realized that Andujar went crazy with worry if he wasn't used regularly or didn't know that he was. Whitey said that, when he had to take Andujar out of a game, he had to be careful to tell him on what date his next start would be, so Joaquin wouldn't worry himself into a failing funk. In fact, Whitey was able to steal Andujar from the Astros (for Tony Scott) because the Astro management didn't realize this, and kept Joaquin guessing about further work, which drove Andujar nuts, which led them to trust Andujar even less, causing them to use him even more irregularly, which caused Joaquin... you get the idea.

In other words, ballplayers are like actors (I've directed plays and can vouch for actors) and other very creative, competitive people. They are insecure because the difference between massive success and career failure is so small. Strasburg feels like he's failing. The team needs to let him know, over and over again, that they do not consider him to be a failure. They consider him to be so great an asset that they are willing to sacrifice part of this year in order to secure the seasons to come. Again and again. Until he believes it. It just comes with the territory of managing high-octane people. - Brock Hanke
   28. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: September 11, 2012 at 07:45 AM (#4232311)
Natsis?

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