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Monday, February 17, 2014

Harper: Kevin Long, Yankees couldn’t get through to Robinson Cano on lack of hustle

Genius speaks. No one listens. (Craven’s Progressive Matrices)

That is, while Long couldn’t be prouder of what Cano accomplished as a Yankee, it bothers him that neither he nor anyone else could get through to the second baseman about his notorious lack of hustle, knowing it’s likely to tarnish his standing, especially with the fans.

“If somebody told me I was a dog,’’ Long said here Sunday, “I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.’’

Long was talking about Cano’s habit of not running hard to first base on routine ground balls, nothing else. And it was particularly frustrating for him because he helped Cano overcome his other bad habits over the years, centering around his nonchalant nature that once led Joe Girardi to bench him for lazy defense.

...Maybe he’ll change his ways now that he’s the new face of the Mariners, expected to be their Derek Jeter of sorts. Certainly no one around the Yankees, Jeter included, could ever figure out why Cano wouldn’t just run hard for 90 feet to first base.

“We all talked to him,’’ Long said. “I’m pretty sure Jeter talked to him a number of times. Even if you run at 80%, no one’s going to say anything. But when you jog down the line, even if it doesn’t come into play 98% of the time, it creates a perception.

“It’s too bad because Robbie cared a lot. By his last year here he was becoming a leader in the clubhouse. He went out of his way to talk to some of the younger guys, and he helped them.

“But he just wouldn’t make that choice to run hard all the time. The reasons aren’t going to make sense. He might say his legs didn’t feel good, or he was playing every day and needed to save his energy. To me there was no acceptable answer.’’

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2014 at 08:49 AM | 88 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners, yankees

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   1. bookbook Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4657921)
It's okay. Felix is the face of the Mariners.

We paid Cano extra to loaf--Seattle style--when it doesn't actually affect anything. If he'd been willing to wear his cap backwards as well, we'd have tossed in an extra 10-15 million.
   2. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4657922)
Yeah it's too bad cano sucked so much. If only he'd listened!
   3. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4657924)
#2, that's clearly not what Long is saying. In fact he explicitly says the opposite (he couldn't be prouder of what Cano accomplished, for example). But despite Cano being a very valuable player overall, there was an aspect of Cano's game that, in Long's opinion, could have been improved by doing something relatively simple, yet Cano wouldn't do that relatively simple thing even after it was pointed out to him.

Now you may disagree with Long that doing that relatively simple thing would have actually improved Cano's game - for example maybe it would have never wound up helping him even once, and maybe even it would have led to an injury. But "I think this great player could have improved by doing this, but he just wouldn't do it" is a far cry from "He sucked so much".
   4. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4657925)
“If somebody told me I was a dog,’’ Long said here Sunday, “I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.’’


But, but, but... it kept him on the field!
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4657934)

only the dumbest of fans think hustling on routine grounders would produce many more times reach based. but Long puts it quite well in the No. 4 excerpt.
   6. KronicFatigue Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4657936)
Now you may disagree with Long that doing that relatively simple thing would have actually improved Cano's game - for example maybe it would have never wound up helping him even once, and maybe even it would have led to an injury. But "I think this great player could have improved by doing this, but he just wouldn't do it" is a far cry from "He sucked so much".


I would agree with this, but I actually don't think it goes far enough. Long isn't even saying it would have improved Cano's game to hustle. All the quotes point to hustling improving Cano's image.

Robbie's being called a dog for not hustling. But he doesn't care. Cano improves all the holes in his game to make him a better player. He still doesn't hustle. Long talked to Cano, and even admits that giving 80% would appease the pro-hustle critics. Jogging creates a "perception", even when it doesn't matter 98% of the time. Cano's "reasons" don't make sense to Long, but again, Long's original theory is that the lack of hustle is creating the "dog" perception.

Let's say Cano is making 200 routine outs in a season, and only 2% of the time his hustle is a factor. I don't think anyone, Long included, thinks those 4 occurrences are worthy of discussion. The whole point is that it's the perception that Long was trying to change, and Cano wasn't interested in changing. I doubt it cost Cano any money (other than maybe moving expenses)
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4657938)
#2, that's clearly not what Long is saying. In fact he explicitly says the opposite (he couldn't be prouder of what Cano accomplished, for example). But despite Cano being a very valuable player overall, there was an aspect of Cano's game that, in Long's opinion, could have been improved by doing something relatively simple, yet Cano wouldn't do that relatively simple thing even after it was pointed out to him.

Now you may disagree with Long that doing that relatively simple thing would have actually improved Cano's game - for example maybe it would have never wound up helping him even once, and maybe even it would have led to an injury. But "I think this great player could have improved by doing this, but he just wouldn't do it" is a far cry from "He sucked so much".


But if you "disagree with Long that doing that relatively simple thing would have actually improved Cano's game - for example maybe it would have never wound up helping him even once", then you have to wonder what the hell Long is talking about. The truth is that it sounds like nothing more than a purely aesthetic preference for irrelevant shows of "hustle" for its own sake, rather than an all-out effort that can make an actual difference in the outcome of a play.

The most prominent example of a real problem of lack of hustle is when a player stands at home plate and admires the flight of a ball that may or may not make it out of the ball park. That sort of showboating should result in an automatic $100,000 fine, because it can actually cost a team an extra base, a run, or even a game. But what Long's complaining about is pure aesthetics, nothing else.
   8. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4657939)
Certainly no one around the Yankees, Jeter included, could ever figure out why Cano wouldn’t just run hard for 90 feet to first base.

Hearsay! Did Harper follow up with Jeter?
   9. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4657941)
Let's say Cano is making 200 routine outs in a season, and only 2% of the time his hustle is a factor.

Let's see someone produce a single video-backed example of a routine out that any extra "hustle" on Cano's part could have converted into a hit.
   10. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4657943)
He's no Pedroia, that's for sure.
   11. BDC Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4657944)
Let's say Cano is making 200 routine outs in a season, and only 2% of the time his hustle is a factor. I don't think anyone, Long included, thinks those 4 occurrences are worthy of discussion

That's the difference between batting .309 and .316 lifetime, though. {/Crash Davis

If it was there for the taking, with no risks (big "ifs") then I'd say that Long is justified in pointing out the seven points of career batting average. As others have said, it's a slight but perceptible improvement.

I hate to see players jog when they should run, but I've tended to look at Cano's overall record and figure he knows what he's doing professionally. Call me star-struck :)
   12. Moeball Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4657947)
Certainly no one around the Yankees, Jeter included, could ever figure out why Cano wouldn’t just run hard for 90 feet to first base.


I was waiting for that name to finally show up, which is actually the central point of the argument. Cano wasn't enough like "St. Jeter" and so is not as popular with the media or the fans. If only Robbie could have been more like Derek...you know, a completely shallow a**hole who only cares about his carefully constructed "image". By all means, we need more people like that.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4657948)
He's no Pedroia, that's for sure.

You're right about that. Since The Muddy Chicken became a full time player in 2007, he's missed 149 games to Cano's 14.
   14. Jeltzandini Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4657949)
Let's see someone produce a single video-backed example of a routine out that any extra "hustle" on Cano's part could have converted into a hit.


No hits, but maybe a couple of ROE's from fielders being a bit more rushed. Which ABs that would happen on would obviously not show up on video. It's a tiny effect regardless. It's entirely an image question. There's no point in denying that fans as a rule hate seeing guys dogging it. Rooting for someone who doesn't seem to care makes people feel like chumps. Cano has apparently chosen to take that small image hit. He'll live.
   15. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4657950)
He's also won an MVP and two championships.
   16. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4657951)
He's no Pedroia, that's for sure.

You're right about that. Since The Muddy Chicken became a full time player in 2007, he's missed 149 games to Cano's 14.


In all fairness you don't know what sort of heinous activities Cano's brothers engage in.
   17. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4657952)
Long isn't enen asking for a full sprint. All he's asked for is for Cano to run hard enough so that the third baseman fielding his grounder has to actually throw him out rather than jogging across the infield and beating Cano to first.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4657955)
Let's say Cano is making 200 routine outs in a season, and only 2% of the time his hustle is a factor. I don't think anyone, Long included, thinks those 4 occurrences are worthy of discussion


I was waiting for that name to finally show up, which is actually the central point of the argument. Cano wasn't enough like "St. Jeter" and so is not as popular with the media or the fans. If only Robbie could have been more like Derek...you know, a completely shallow a**hole who only cares about his carefully constructed "image". By all means, we need more people like that.


So instead of someone actually presenting any evidence that Cano's lack of baserunning "hustle" has cost the Yankees a single out, we get random bits of guesswork based on nothing, comparisons to a player who often has a hard time keeping himself on the field, and the inevitable knock on a third player (Jeter) because he's not, who, Bernie Williams? Mickey Mantle? Jim Bouton?

"Baseball for the thinking fan". Yeah, right.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4657956)
It's entirely an image question.

Bingo. Lazy Latin Loafers, part 128 of an ongoing series. Film at 11.
   20. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4657960)
BBTF: where laziness and lack of hustle are lauded as positive attributes.
   21. Scott Ross Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4657962)
that's clearly not what Long is saying.


Well, yes, but when you when tell a player that he's a dog, and then you share that opinion with the universe after the player has left, it's pretty clear that you could in fact be prouder. Like, for instance, if the player had stopped dogging it.

Cano was the team's most consistently great player for the past 8 years, it sucks that the Yankees can't just thank him for the memories and wish him well.
   22. KronicFatigue Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4657963)
It's entirely an image question.


Both the image of Cano, and the image of the Yankees, for letting Cano go. Why wasn't Long talking like this last year?
   23. Swoboda is freedom Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4657965)
Long isn't enen asking for a full sprint. All he's asked for is for Cano to run hard enough so that the third baseman fielding his grounder has to actually throw him out rather than jogging across the infield and beating Cano to first.

But Cano is a lefty, so most of the routine grounders are to the right side, which gives the fielders a little more fudge factor.
   24. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4657967)
Joe McCarthy's Ten Commandments:

1. Nobody ever became a ballplayer by walking after a ball.
2. You will never become a .300 hitter unless you take the bat off your shoulder.
3. An outfielder who throws in back of a runner is locking the barn after the horse is stolen.
4. Keep your head up and you may not have to keep it down.
5. When you start to slide, slide. He who changes his mind may have to change a good leg for a bad one.
6. Do not alibi on bad hops. Anybody can field the good ones.
7. Always run them out. You never can tell.
8. Do not quit.
9. Do not fight too much with the umpires. You cannot expect them to be as perfect as you are.
10. A pitcher who hasn't control hasn't anything.
   25. Greg K Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4657975)
5. When you start to slide, slide. He who changes his mind may have to change a good leg for a bad one.

Too bad Jose Reyes never played for McCarthy.

It does seem kind of poor form to criticise a player right after he's left your team. But I suppose good etiquette wouldn't be good etiquette if everyone followed it. Otherwise how would we know who we're morally superior to?

I suppose the answer to that question is, "by which one of us run out ground balls".

For what it's worth, the only two serious injuries this out of shape poster ever had playing baseball were both popped hamstrings which kept me crawling for about 3-4 weeks which occurred while running out infield singles.
   26. Moeball Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4657976)
Cano was the team's most consistently great player for the past 8 years, it sucks that the Yankees can't just thank him for the memories and wish him well.


In other words:

"I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who profits from the entertainment that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you."
   27. Sean Forman Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4657982)
I really hate these no good loafer articles. Reporter is fishing for material for a hatchet job. A much classier quote from Long would have been.

"I'd take 9 Robbie Cano's any day and beat everyone in the majors brains out."

Though I do guess that we get annoyed when they say nothing interesting.
   28. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4657983)
“I’m pretty sure Jeter talked to him a number of times.

More great intangible leadership!!!
   29. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4657984)
BBTF: where laziness and lack of hustle are lauded as positive attributes.

And mentioning them is "racism."

It took Andy a whopping 19 posts, five of them his, to play the race card.
   30. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4657985)
comparisons to a player who often has a hard time keeping himself on the field

?!?!?!

I don't care to get in a Pedroia/Cano debate, but this is just wrong about Pedroia. His missed games early in 2007 were due to ineffectiveness. His 2010 injury was from fouling a ball off his foot. He has consistently played through a thumb injury that has certainly harmed his effectiveness. If anything, I would say Pedroia has played too MANY games over the years, primarily due to the Red Sox not having a decent backup option.
   31. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4657986)
"I'd take 9 Robbie Cano's any day and beat everyone in the majors brains out."


And I'd take 9 Robbie Canos that play hard, and beat the brains out of the team with 9 Robbie Canos that loaf.

   32. villageidiom Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4657987)
His 2010 injury was from fouling a ball off his foot.
Was he wearing loafers?
   33. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4657988)
"I'd take 9 Robbie Cano's any day and beat everyone in the majors brains out."


And I'd take 9 Robbie Canos that play hard, and beat the brains out of the team with 9 Robbie Canos that loaf.

And yet they'd be the same 9 players, media fantasies to the contrary.
   34. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4657990)
So ... how many more columns hatchet jobs like these must be printed in the tabloids before Cano receives nothing but jeers in his April 29th homecoming?
   35. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4657991)
Was he wearing loafers?

Zing!
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4657992)
If a red sox coach said this about a departing player, this thread would have pages already of conspiracy theories and pearl-clutching.
   37. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4657994)
comparisons to a player who often has a hard time keeping himself on the field

?!?!?!

I don't care to get in a Pedroia/Cano debate, but this is just wrong about Pedroia. His missed games early in 2007 were due to ineffectiveness. His 2010 injury was from fouling a ball off his foot. He has consistently played through a thumb injury that has certainly harmed his effectiveness. If anything, I would say Pedroia has played too MANY games over the years, primarily due to the Red Sox not having a decent backup option.


Contrary to the impression I may have given with that comment, I'm not knocking Pedroia a bit. He's a great player in his own right, with an almost identical value to Cano up to this point. I admire his talent and his approach to the game as much as any player I can think of.

Injuries are a blend of accident and "prone"-ness, and who's to say where one begins and the other ends? Was Nick Johnson really that fragile, or did he just happen to get injured in a spot that's particularly resistant to full healing? I'm not a doctor and I have no idea. Similarly, what degree of Ripken's streak was due to his body type and how much was due to simple good fortune? Can we really know the answer to that? I doubt it. (And forget all the snark about his "selfish" insistence on playing; that's about as stupid as all the BS about Cano's "lack of hustle".)

But while my choice of words may have been too much, the effect remains. Pedroia has missed nearly a full season over a period when Cano has missed 14 games. It's probably mostly bad luck, as you say, but that was little consolation to his team.
   38. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4657995)
So ... how many more columns hatchet jobs like these must be printed in the tabloids before Cano receives nothing but jeers in his April 29th homecoming?


Just standard practice for the Boston front office. Wait...

Hustle can't turn Willie Bloomquist into anything close to Robbie Cano. Hustle can turn Robbie Cano into a slightly better Robbie Cano.* And since it's about the only baseballing trait that is completely a choice, I'll never understand the ballplayers who don't opt in.** (or the ridiculous Primates who defend them).

* Cano just being the guy in question, not that he's necessarily the best example. I don't watch enough Yankee games to know if he's really guilty of this, or if it's just a New York thing.

**Excepting those who are legitimate injury risks, late-model Griffey for example, rather than theoretical ones.
   39. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4657999)
Just standard practice for the Boston front office. Wait...


Yeah, as TVerik likes to say, it's the Gotham version of the "kiss-off."
   40. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4658001)
He's a great player in his own right


What's this "own right" business? He's a great player. Period.

And better than Cano.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4658004)
So should every player emulate Pete Rose or Ty Cobb? How many routine ground balls did Babe Ruth likely run out? In the real world of today, as opposed to the world of Red Ruffinsore, how many players run all out down to first on routine ground balls? All of them except Cano?
   42. Perry Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4658005)
The most prominent example of a real problem of lack of hustle is when a player stands at home plate and admires the flight of a ball that may or may not make it out of the ball park. That sort of showboating should result in an automatic $100,000 fine, because it can actually cost a team an extra base, a run, or even a game. But what Long's complaining about is pure aesthetics, nothing else.


Okay, so a guy stands at the plate admiring his fly ball and it ends up hitting the wall, and he only gets a single instead of a double or triple. Another guy jogs down the line on a grounder and gets thrown out even though the fielder momentarily bobbles the ball, or only gets one base instead of two when it kicks off the fielder's glove and rolls into no-man's land between the IF and OF. How are those lost opportunities for bases not exactly the same?
   43. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4658006)
Pedroia has missed nearly a full season over a period when Cano has missed 14 games.


And yet, still managed to outproduce Cano on a /season basis.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4658007)
He's a great player in his own right

What's this "own right" business? He's a great player. Period.


Absolutely.

And better than Cano.

In terms of real value up to now, they're a virtual wash, as any amount of time on BB-Reference will tell you. But I do admire your carmine blinders. It speaks well of your character.
   45. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4658009)
The most prominent example of a real problem of lack of hustle is when a player stands at home plate and admires the flight of a ball that may or may not make it out of the ball park. That sort of showboating should result in an automatic $100,000 fine, because it can actually cost a team an extra base, a run, or even a game. But what Long's complaining about is pure aesthetics, nothing else.

Okay, so a guy stands at the plate admiring his fly ball and it ends up hitting the wall, and he only gets a single instead of a double or triple.


We've all seen many prominently displayed examples of that.

Another guy jogs down the line on a grounder and gets thrown out even though the fielder momentarily bobbles the ball, or only gets one base instead of two when it kicks off the fielder's glove and rolls into no-man's land between the IF and OF.

Find me some examples of that and we can talk. The sort of ground balls that players (and not just Cano) "loaf" on are either already caught before they've taken more than a few steps, or are so routine that they never get misplayed. Nobody's saying that Cano doesn't run out balls where there's any chance of a close play. If Cano had actually done that, you would've been hearing about it for weeks right here on this forum.

How are those lost opportunities for bases not exactly the same?

See above. Theory is one thing, actual examples are another.
   46. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4658010)
In terms of real value up to now, they're a virtual wash, as any amount of time on BB-Reference will tell you.


Only if you're math-challenged. In order for Pedroia to equal Cano's WAR, he'd have to average about 3.6 over the next two season. Based on his past performance, and if he'll stays healthy, he'll nearly double that.
   47. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4658011)
So should every player emulate Pete Rose or Ty Cobb? How many routine ground balls did Babe Ruth likely run out? In the real world of today, as opposed to the world of Red Ruffinsore, how many players run all out down to first on routine ground balls? All of them except Cano?


I don't advocate going balls out on all ground balls. I advocate making running (not necessarily full-speed, but in a position where acclerating to full speed can be done easily) out of the box a standard practice, something a ballplayer does out of habit. I suspect the player who does that is better protected against injury than the guy who is half-assing it then suddenly starts running because the shortstop unexpectedly bobbled the ball.

And the player who routinely runs out of the box gives himself more opportunities to steal an extra ROE or turn a single into two bases. Thus, the player who does not makes himself a slightly lesser ballplayer than he could be.

Where Robbie Cano fits into this equation is something that obviously gets you all worked up, but it has really little to do with my position.

   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4658013)
“If somebody told me I was a dog,’’ Long said here Sunday, “I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.


Perhaps calling Cano a dog and then telling him he needs to get "fixed" or else he'd be faced with "heat" created somewhat the wrong impression for a player whose first language is Spanish? Damn right I'd choose not to.
   49. BDC Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4658016)
In the real world of today … how many players run all out down to first on routine ground balls?

Almost all. I can't quantify the impression, but occasionally I will take a few innings and concentrate on looking at how a guy gets down the line (rather than tracking the baseball or the fielders). This is interesting at first because everyone is hauling ###, and quickly becomes boring because everyone is hauling ### and you might as well take it for granted.
   50. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4658018)
Agree with #49. It's the norm to run at least reasonably hard on routine groundballs. Sometimes, a player will drop his head in frustration first, then haul ass. But they all do it.

Except for Cano, and a select few others.

And really, that would be a concern to me if I were Seattle. If Cano takes such a casual attitude toward something so mundane and routine, I'd be worried that, if the team gets off on the wrong foot, he might just take his money and go to sleep.
   51. BDC Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4658021)
I saw Cano play once last year, and frankly, I was sitting so far out in the NYS bleachers that he could have been taking a golf cart to first base for all that I could make out.

I'll see him play four times in one week come April, though. I'll make it my mission to report on whether he's loafing for his new employers :)
   52. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4658022)
I'm not sure how strong the effect is in baseball, but I have noticed a very obvious tendency for hockey teams to collectively conform to the personality of their best player. It's why I wouldn't let Alex Ovechkin (or prime Jaromir Jagr) play for my team for free, and why Sidney Crosby--a fanatically hard worker--is worth practically any amount of money. The Penguins frequently behave like whiny spoiled brats, but they work their asses off.

Again I don't know whether the effect is as strong or exists at all in baseball, but it would at least give me pause about giving a gigacontract to a player known to not bother playing hard when he doesn't have to. But I would also have to point out that while hustling down the line on grounders and putting work into working out and watching video and such might be correlated, they definitely are not the same thing.
   53. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4658023)
BBTF: where laziness and lack of hustle are lauded as positive attributes.


Kevin complaining about a brown person?

Well, I never!
   54. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4658024)
Vlad, don't you have something better to do? Like play in traffic?
   55. Publius Publicola Posted: February 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4658027)
I saw Cano play once last year, and frankly, I was sitting so far out in the NYS bleachers that he could have been taking a golf cart to first base for all that I could make out.


I have MLB TV so will watch the Yankees quite a bit. He routinely dogs it out of the box. It's very noticeable.

He has the habit of doing everything easy peezy, lemon-squeezy and so looks smooth and under control most of the time, on routine plays. But it bites him when he's forced to rush a play because he's not used to playing with urgency.
   56. madvillain Posted: February 17, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4658039)
Of course Cano did listen Long when he tolde him he needed more hustle: he went out and hired jay z.
   57. Greg K Posted: February 17, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4658056)
I do recall seeing Cano make a poor decision, though I don't know if it was laziness or lack of concentration. Late in a tie-game there was a runner on second and a grounder to Cano's left. He reached down for it to stay on his feet and be in a better position for the throw to first, but he really needed to go to ground to make absolutely sure the ball didn't get past him and let the runner score. As it happened it just got under his glove and they lost the game. [EDIT: Just my two cents, in 162 games even the best players make mistakes every now and then]

I suspect the deciding factor in the Cano/Pedroia debate will be how they hold up in their 30s. Jeter and Nomar's relatively strengths and weaknesses as young players became pretty much irrelevant when Jeter went on to play for several more years than Nomar. They seem like close enough to a wash right now, but I have the feeling that 15 years from now the choice for which career you'd rather have will be obvious...I just have no idea which it would be.

Cano has been remarkably healthy the past few years, chalk it up to luck, strength of body, great moral fortitude, whatever...of course a guy is remarkably healthy until he isn't. Cano's also going to Seattle, where hitters go to have their careers ruined, so who knows? It will be fascinating to watch, but picking either of them at this point seems like heavy hunch-work to me.
   58. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4658063)
Vlad, don't you have something better to do? Like play in traffic?


Sorry - like Cano, I'm much too lazy for that.

Maybe if you provided an inducement, like some T-bone steaks or a big-screen TV?
   59. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4658067)
I suspect the deciding factor in the Cano/Pedroia debate will be how they hold up in their 30s. Jeter and Nomar's relatively strengths and weaknesses as young players became pretty much irrelevant when Jeter went on to play for several more years than Nomar. They seem like close enough to a wash right now, but I have the feeling that 15 years from now the choice for which career you'd rather have will be obvious...I just have no idea which it would be.

Cano has been remarkably healthy the past few years, chalk it up to luck, strength of body, great moral fortitude, whatever...of course a guy is remarkably healthy until he isn't. Cano's also going to Seattle, where hitters go to have their careers ruined, so who knows? It will be fascinating to watch, but picking either of them at this point seems like heavy hunch-work to me.


How dare you admit there are things that an armchair critic can't predict! Turn in your BTF card!
   60. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4658070)
I'm not sure why it's difficult for people to grasp that while Cano is a great player he does dog it from time to time. I'd take him on my team but I think he's leaving something on the table. Manny Ramirez is one of my all time favorites but he did the same thing.

There are no perfect players, in Cano's case one of his weaknesses is his lack of hustle. Doesn't make him a stiff but it is a drawback in his game.
   61. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4658075)

I'm not sure why it's difficult for people to grasp that while Cano is a great player he does dog it from time to time. I'd take him on my team but I think he's leaving something on the table. Manny Ramirez is one of my all time favorites but he did the same thing.

There are no perfect players, in Cano's case one of his weaknesses is his lack of hustle. Doesn't make him a stiff but it is a drawback in his game.


Whoa. That's pretty reasonable right there.

So, has anybody ever taken the time to study the potential effects of hustle. IIRC, St. Jeter has outperformed his expected BABIP/BA over his career. Some of that certainly owes to his superior speed (the way Ryan Howard's on-contact power buoyed his numbers in his prime?) However, I'd expect that some part of that was genuinely the effect of him busting it seemingly every time he had a chance. While not a lot, I'm curious to see how much that adds up. The errors forced by rushed throws, the extra single that was beaten out, that sort of thing.
   62. madvillain Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4658079)
In Soccer, they have a term "work rate" that is sort of a "hustle" measure that describes how much ground a player covers, how many 50/50 balls he fights for, things like that. That is an actual tangible "hustle", unlike not running out a routine ground ball in the big leagues, which at most will cost 1 or 2 hits a year -- at most.

I was sitting in the RF stands at NYS when Melky Cabrera missed a routine fly ball because he was too busy waving to the bleacher creatures, now that's the sort of stupidity that costs you ball games, not not hustling on routine ground balls.

If someone can provide an example of Cano not running out a double play ball, I'll change my tune.
   63. Sean Forman Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4658082)
FWIW, we show Cano with 14 infield hits per season and Jeter with 16 over the course of his first 9 years.
   64. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4658084)
There are no perfect players, in Cano's case one of his weaknesses is his lack of hustle. Doesn't make him a stiff but it is a drawback in his game.

Except that nobody's cited any actual evidence of how the sort of lack of "hustle" that Long is talking about has ever resulted in any damage to his team. So far it's been all theory and speculation.

Of course if you really want to get into Inner Circle HoF players who gave less than their all to every aspect of the game once they left the batter's box, there's.....

But since this site is basically Red Sox Central, I'll let it drop. I hear those Jimmy Fund boys have long memories. (smile)
   65. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4658089)
“If somebody told me I was a dog,’’ Long said here Sunday, “I’d have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that’s your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to.’’


Might I suggest a different angle to what this quote may be getting at....

I don't know about you, but I've worked in several office environments where there is a person who does a lot of things well, but consistently fails to understand the one "little thing" that, if you don't do it consistently, ####es off the boss. For example, there was a guy I once worked with that was good at what he was asked to produce, generally got along with others, but liked being "his own man". Our boss had a real problem with people who couldn't get to office on time (8:30, most days), and this one guy would always get in around 8:42, 8:45, 8:50 - to the point where the boss was like, "You know it bugs me, and I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but if I tell everybody else to show up on time, and then you don't, you put me in a bad place. Don't make my life hard - just get to work on time, OK?"

And, yet, he wouldn't. Didn't have a good excuse, just wouldn't.

I left that office before he did, but you see this sort of thing all the time. Did it really make this guy a better or worse employee, overall, because he would get to work at 8:42 instead of 8:30? Not really. But he knew it was probably burning a lot of "human capital" he had with his boss and coworkers, and the "cost" of this bad habit far exceeded whatever small "benefit" he enjoyed from the bad habit.

When you watch somebody make such a poor decision about something seemingly easy and minor, it undermines that person's credibility in other areas, too. Does he make poor decisions about other things...that are more impactful on the bottom line? Does he honestly not care at all what his coworkers and bosses think of him? He is really that stubborn, or that ignorant of how it makes him look, or that unable to improve himself?

What bothers me about players who don't run to first base is not that they are costing their team lots of baserunners per year - after all, do any of us think that if Cano ran full-tilt every time out of the box that it would result in, say, six extra bases gained per season? If he has a 5% greater chance of missing a week due to a pulled hamstring because of it, that would not be worth six bases over 162 games.

What bothers me about such players is that they don't get that it causes them a bunch of BS over the course of their careers...for pretty much nothing in return.
   66. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4658095)
I'd totally agree that Cano dogs it on routine groundball outs. The only player lazier than Cano going to first is David Ortiz.
   67. tfbg9 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4658096)
Except that nobody's cited any actual evidence of how the sort of lack of "hustle" that Long is talking about has ever resulted in any damage to his team. So far it's been all theory and speculation.


Wouldn't common sense tell you that if a guy never, ever, ever runs out a ground ball right at an infielder, if he in fact merely jogs rather than goes about 85%* in case something goes awry on the fielders' end, sooner or later it will cost his team?


Julio Lugo,of all people, ran hard on a pretty routine ground ball he hit to Kevin Millar to cap off the Mothers' Day Miracle of 2007. Had he not, the Sox would have lost the game. Two runs came in on the play, to finish a 6 run, after one out and nobody on rally to beat the O's 6-5.


*I actually don't want players to run like a maniac to 1st ala Youklis or Pedroia, it just seems to be asking for a horrible Jason Kendall type injury at the bag. Jeter has it down right--run hard, but not crazy hard, so you won't pull a hammy, or wreck your ankle.
   68. BDC Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4658105)
When you watch somebody make such a poor decision about something seemingly easy and minor, it undermines that person's credibility in other areas, too

I've worked with people like this too, in academia. The stereotype of the absent-minded brilliant researcher or creative writer who can't get to class on time or meet paperwork deadlines … they don't exist. The professor who can't get a form in or student papers back on time is the one who also won't publish enough for tenure.

My only problem with applying this principle to Robinson Cano is that the guy plays 160 games a year at top-5-MVP level. He is overqualified for tenure, if you like. Actual slackers don't outperform nearly all their peers in terms of durability and quality.

   69. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4658110)
Except that nobody's cited any actual evidence of how the sort of lack of "hustle" that Long is talking about has ever resulted in any damage to his team. So far it's been all theory and speculation.

Wouldn't common sense tell you that if a guy never, ever, ever runs out a ground ball right at an infielder, if he in fact merely jogs rather than goes about 85%* in case something goes awry on the fielders' end, sooner or later it will cost his team?


And wouldn't common sense tell you that if Cano's lack of "hustle" on routine ground balls had actually cost his team any outs, the energetic group of commentators such as we have here on BTF would have produced such video evidence by now?

You don't need "common sense" to tell you that players who stand and admire "home runs" that wind up hitting the wall have cost their team runs. Just look at the 2000 World Series highlights for amusing proof of that.

You don't need "common sense" to know that not getting fully down on all reachable ground balls can cost your team a defensive out. Cano himself is among many players who've been guilty of that occasional mental lapse.

But somehow when it comes to running out ground balls a la Cano or Ortiz (thank you, El Hombre of Anaheim) or countless other players (denials aside), the need to cite actual examples of damage to one's team goes out the window.

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

there was a guy I once worked with that was good at what he was asked to produce, generally got along with others, but liked being "his own man". Our boss had a real problem with people who couldn't get to office on time (8:30, most days), and this one guy would always get in around 8:42, 8:45, 8:50 - to the point where the boss was like, "You know it bugs me, and I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but if I tell everybody else to show up on time, and then you don't, you put me in a bad place. Don't make my life hard - just get to work on time, OK?"

I once had a guy like that who worked for me. He didn't last long. The problem was that he'd show up late on the days when he was supposed to open the shop while I was out on buys, which didn't make a great impression on customers who'd showed up with limited time to spend before having to be elsewhere. He also didn't manage the store the way Robbie Cano and David Ortiz attack baseballs.
   70. tfbg9 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4658118)
And wouldn't common sense tell you that if Cano's lack of "hustle" on routine ground balls had actually cost his team any outs, the energetic group of commentators such as we have here on BTF would have produced such video evidence by now?



No, actually. I mean, how would "they" do this? Seriously, how? They have a digital library of all the NYY games since 2005? For his career, Cano has a higher ROE% than last year's average AL LHB, FWIW: .0096% vs .0071%.


Red Ruffinsore



Heh. I remember him, sorta.
   71. madvillain Posted: February 17, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4658124)
I once had a guy like that who worked for me. He didn't last long. The problem was that he'd show up late on the days when he was supposed to open the shop while I was out on buys, which didn't make a great impression on customers who'd showed up with limited time to spend before having to be elsewhere. He also didn't manage the store the way Robbie Cano and David Ortiz attack baseballs.


Showing up is usually 90% of the job. I run a small business, I've cycled through 3 front desk weekend guys over the last few years before finally finding a guy that will show up when I tell him to. He's not the greatest at what I need, but he's reliable, and that's why he's stayed employed for a year now.
   72. tfbg9 Posted: February 17, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4658127)
Using the bbref "ground balls split" you get Cano lifetime ROE at .0212% of those PA's, and last year's average AL batter at .246, but I don't know how to separate-out the LHB's from that total 2013 AL split.
   73. madvillain Posted: February 17, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4658140)
For the last week, BTF is not playing well with FireFox, not sure if it's an ad or something but whenever I try and load BTF on FireFox it crashes the browser. This is over multiple machines. Seems fine in Chrome.

Anyone else having this problem?
   74. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4658142)
Anyone else having this problem?

Negative.
   75. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: February 17, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4658143)
Firefox is awful. Use chrome or safari. Seriously. There are so any hiccups and bugs in Firefox these days.
   76. madvillain Posted: February 17, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4658144)
Firefox is awful. Use chrome or safari. Seriously. There are so any hiccups and bugs in Firefox these days.


I think it might be noscript problem on mine. But yea, I'm a IT person, I know its many flaws, including the antiquated way it handles tabs (which leads to the awful memory leaks), but I like the interface and the plugins.

I realize it's a POS though, they need to completely rebuild it from the ground up. I'm thisclose to ditching it.

My favorite browser is actually Dolphin, which runs smoking fast on Android. No x86 version though.
   77. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4658161)
I've been having the same problem with Firefox. Definitely seems ad-related.
   78. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 17, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4658192)
I've been having the same problem with Firefox. Definitely seems ad-related.


It might be a flash issue with a specific ad or two. I get an occasional script error when loading FF.


I think it might be noscript problem on mine. But yea, I'm a IT person, I know its many flaws, including the antiquated way it handles tabs (which leads to the awful memory leaks), but I like the interface and the plugins.

I realize it's a POS though, they need to completely rebuild it from the ground up. I'm thisclose to ditching it.


It's such a painful thing to do though. FF is all warm and familiar, Chrome is new and scary. My work machine is slowly dieing though, and the memory eaten up by FF is getting more and more precious.
   79. Howie Menckel Posted: February 17, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4658193)

http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2014/02/yankees_abruptly_end_joe_girardi_interview_after_question_lazy_robinson_cano.html#incart_m-rpt-1

TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees pulled the plug on manager Joe Girardi's press conference Monday after he answered a question about hitting coach Kevin Long saying the team tried getting Robinson Cano to run harder.
   80. Baldrick Posted: February 17, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4658206)
And, yet, he wouldn't. Didn't have a good excuse, just wouldn't.

I left that office before he did, but you see this sort of thing all the time. Did it really make this guy a better or worse employee, overall, because he would get to work at 8:42 instead of 8:30? Not really. But he knew it was probably burning a lot of "human capital" he had with his boss and coworkers, and the "cost" of this bad habit far exceeded whatever small "benefit" he enjoyed from the bad habit.

When you watch somebody make such a poor decision about something seemingly easy and minor, it undermines that person's credibility in other areas, too. Does he make poor decisions about other things...that are more impactful on the bottom line? Does he honestly not care at all what his coworkers and bosses think of him? He is really that stubborn, or that ignorant of how it makes him look, or that unable to improve himself?

Okay, well if showing up on time actually MATTERS for your job, then obviously your failure to do so should be accounted for. And, more generally, if showing up on time doesn't specifically matter for YOU, but does matter in general, it's still probably reasonable to punish someone. The culture of being on time makes a difference, etc.

But if you've got a guy who does a great job, works as long as he needs to work in a day, and you still feel some NEED to punish him because it just bugs you, maybe you should consider whether YOU'RE the one with the problem. Every second you spend stressing over timeliness for its own sake is time not being spent on actually improving performance.

Some people just hate rules-for-the-sake of rules, and because the concept drives them crazy it's REALLY hard for them to treat them as genuine rules. Even if intellectually they know they can save themselves the hassle by pretending to care, in the moment they just aren't genuinely motivated. It sounds like Cano has that attitude on this subject. He knows it doesn't matter and the fact that people keep bugging him about it probably drives him nuts. But it's really hard to translate that into a change in behavior when deep down you know it isn't important.

The Cano contract worries me tremendously as a Mariners fan, but his unwillingness to accede to obnoxious demands for the sake of aesthetics is not on my list of concerns.
   81. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 17, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4658208)
http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/yankees/post/_/id/69113/lack-of-hustle-or-no-yanks-will-miss-cano

Wallace Matthews isn't buying it. Although Matthews is often a fairly typical New York writer when it comes to the Yankees (mystique and aura, all that tripe) this isn't the first time I've seen him call ######## on lines of crap the Yankees are trying to feed the fans and I respect him for that.

Edit: Long's reponse reminds me of Cano's talk about "respect" at his introductory press conference with the Mariners. In both cases you just wonder why the hell the guy decided it was a good idea to talk about this stuff, just take the high road, compliment the other side, and move on. I'm all for people in sports giving actual interesting answers to questions but in neither case here was the answer really worth hearing.

   82. Eddo Posted: February 17, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4658238)
But if you've got a guy who does a great job, works as long as he needs to work in a day, and you still feel some NEED to punish him because it just bugs you, maybe you should consider whether YOU'RE the one with the problem. Every second you spend stressing over timeliness for its own sake is time not being spent on actually improving performance.

Some people just hate rules-for-the-sake of rules, and because the concept drives them crazy it's REALLY hard for them to treat them as genuine rules. Even if intellectually they know they can save themselves the hassle by pretending to care, in the moment they just aren't genuinely motivated. It sounds like Cano has that attitude on this subject. He knows it doesn't matter and the fact that people keep bugging him about it probably drives him nuts. But it's really hard to translate that into a change in behavior when deep down you know it isn't important.

I don't think anyone said that the late person should be punished exactly, but that he wouldn't get the benefit of the doubt in other borderline situations.

I generally agree with your assessment, but it's never so simple. I've been in a situation where a direct report would come in later and later in the morning, and stay later at night. He was getting his work done (though the lack of overlap did affect communication with business stakeholders in some instances).

We worked out a plan where he at least limited his lateness to a certain time, which was fine with me.

However, if such a person then wonders why they get passed up for promotions, or pay increases, or other similar incentives, I have much less sympathy. Yes, there are unnecessary politics involved in the corporate world, but there are also necessary ones, and showing disdain for any and all politically-driven behavior will hold you back.

------

As for Cano and other players who "take plays off" (see Jadveon Clowney, possible #1 overall pick in April's NFL draft), I've often wondered if this is perhaps one of the better flaws to have, since it is more easily correctable.

Take two players, both of whom put up the same WAR or runs created or whatever metric you like. If one is a known non-hustler, I would probably prefer to sign him. The production is the same, but perhaps my organization can motivate him to hustle more and produce even more value.
   83. Fancy Pants Handle doesn't need no water Posted: February 17, 2014 at 08:15 PM (#4658240)
I'd use chrome, but every time I try, it occupies an entire processor core.
   84. Srul Itza Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4658311)
Anyone else having this problem?


Yes. I have given up on using Firefox to come here. I either use my IPad or MS Explorer -- and I hate Explorer.
   85. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4658313)
And wouldn't common sense tell you that if Cano's lack of "hustle" on routine ground balls had actually cost his team any outs, the energetic group of commentators such as we have here on BTF would have produced such video evidence by now?

No, actually. I mean, how would "they" do this? Seriously, how? They have a digital library of all the NYY games since 2005?


Of course they don't, but given that any time a prominent player "loafs", it's the subject of instant media handwringing, and it's hard for me to believe that someone at the time wouldn't have posted the video evidence of such "loafing" on Cano's part as an instant YouTube exhibit. But though "Gotcha" has been the name of the game on YouTube for years, I can't recall seeing any instances of Cano's costing his team any outs by "loafing" on routine ground balls.

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

For the last week, BTF is not playing well with FireFox, not sure if it's an ad or something but whenever I try and load BTF on FireFox it crashes the browser. This is over multiple machines. Seems fine in Chrome.

Don't feel bad. I can't even login here on Firefox. OTOH Chrome is ###### up in so many ways I've lost count.
   86. Zach Posted: February 18, 2014 at 03:01 AM (#4658344)
Take two players, both of whom put up the same WAR or runs created or whatever metric you like. If one is a known non-hustler, I would probably prefer to sign him. The production is the same, but perhaps my organization can motivate him to hustle more and produce even more value.

Yuniesky Betancourt thanks you for his career.
   87. vivaelpujols Posted: February 18, 2014 at 03:03 AM (#4658345)
Pujols was by far the best player in baseball for 10 years and he was famous for not hustling to first base. It just doesn't freakin' matter that much.

Also Cano and Pedroia are virtually indistigushible as players.
   88. vivaelpujols Posted: February 18, 2014 at 03:19 AM (#4658346)
When you watch somebody make such a poor decision about something seemingly easy and minor, it undermines that person's credibility in other areas, too.


This is irrational. If a person is making poor decisions that actually hurts the company that should be obvious in his performance reviews of whatever. If he's still good at his job even though he's often late, than I don't see the problem. And if you fire that person just because he's always late and replace him with a worse overall employee then you're just shooting yourself in the foot.

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