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   1. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 05, 2007 at 01:13 AM (#2274400)
Well, at least the Cubs are at little disadvantage with regard to the splits issue and the closer's role, since virtually none of their opponents do it either.

I criticized the commitment to Dempster as closer for 2006-08, but I really don't expect him to be quite the disaster he was last year. But that could easily happen, and if I had to pick one candidate to be official goat for the 2007 season, it would be Dempster. It will be interesting to see how Piniella handles the sideshow if he goes through a bad stretch early in the season, as we've seen so many times before: Hawkins. Aguilera. Beck. Rojas...
   2. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: January 08, 2007 at 04:36 AM (#2276102)
The authors point out that, for all the LOOGY and ROOGY machinations now in each manager’s playbook, these considerations tend to go out the window when it comes to the closer. Upon being selected for his role this mythical beast can meet all challenges.

Let me preface what I'm about to say that I don't completely buy into this argument but I do there is some validity to it. It's because the 9th inning contains an element that isn't measureable. I'm not sure what to call it but simply guts. Some guys aren't comfortable pitchign with the game on the line, while other feed off the adrenaline rush of pitching with the game on the line. That's why despite "all the LOOGY and ROOGY machinations now in each manager’s playbook," the closer role just won't die. Again, the adrenaline rush/choker aspect isn't an easily measurable aspect but I do think there's something to it. I've read some interesting research in criminology that shows adrenaline rushes serve as a reinforcing factor in perpetuating deviant activity while controlling for other factors. While this isn't a baseball related example, I think it does point to how someone's biochemical make up at the time (like an adrenaine rush) can affect behavior possiblely in the positive ways (i.e. makes the pitcher concentrate better) or negative ways (i.e. the situation overwhlems the player leading to a choker).

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