Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gagne blown away: Sagging set-up man’s failures raise own ire

This is all so very depressing, it’s gonna make me reform my folk/punk group…The Happy and Artie Trauma Unit.

Later, after the game had ended, after he had made possible yet another disastrous Red Sox [team stats] loss, he sounded more like Eric on the car phone, just another angry fan with much to say and only a few precious minutes in which to say it.

“It’s getting (expletive) stupid,” said Eric on the car phone. “We should have won three games out of three, and I (expletive) blew two of them.”

...“It’s stupid,” he said. “They brought me here to do a job and I’m not doing it. I gotta step up my game. It’s ridiculous. These guys play eight great innings and I go out and blow it. That’s just . . . a shame.

“It’s a bunch of (expletive) is what it is. You go out there and do your job. I’m not doing my job right now. I’m letting everybody here down. I need to step up my game and find my game. That’s it. It’s pretty simple. “This game is simple. I’m (expletive) this up right now.”

Repoz Posted: August 13, 2007 at 01:10 PM | 108 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. 185/456(GGC) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 01:41 PM (#2483198)
First! But for how long?
   2. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 01:44 PM (#2483203)
Boston will probably be at least 5 up next Monday.
   3. 3RunHomer Posted: August 13, 2007 at 01:50 PM (#2483209)
Yes, the Red Sox can rely on the Os to put a hurtin' on the Yankees too. The Big Orange Machine!
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 13, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2483229)
I don't think that the career earnings of Happy & Artie would allow them to donate a trauma unit. More like a subscription to Highlights for the waiting room.
   5. 185/456(GGC) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 02:21 PM (#2483231)
Crossposted from Sox Therapy:

Okay, four or five innings isn't enough to go on statistically but, from a scouting standpoint, what's going on with Eric Gagne? Is he hurt or something? I think I've only seen one of his appearances, but I've heard the weekend ones on the radio.
   6. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 02:54 PM (#2483251)
what's going on with Eric Gagne

they're testing for steroids now
   7. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2483277)
Well, not that 4 innings tells us much, but when I stated a couple weeks ago that Gagne was overhyped, I was pretty much roundly attacked. Even putting aside the injury issues, his Texas performance indicated that he's not the same pitcher he was in LA. And his Boston performance has of course done nothing but support that indication.
   8. TaySan Posted: August 13, 2007 at 03:27 PM (#2483282)
He was doing well before the Sox got him.
   9. FelizForPresident Posted: August 13, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2483284)
Even putting aside the injury issues, his Texas performance indicated that he's not the same pitcher he was in LA.


Really? I'm no Gagne expert, but I saw at least one outing with Texas where he still looked really sharp and his numbers are still pretty good...what am I missing pre-Sox that would indicate he wasn't going to dominate (excluding injury issues)
   10. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 03:33 PM (#2483285)
Well, he lets up more hits than he used to, and doesn't K guys at the same rate.
   11. TaySan Posted: August 13, 2007 at 03:44 PM (#2483290)
He's not the same pitcher he was with LA but everyone knew that. He was still getting guys out in Texas. Maybe his PERA showed that he had been lucky. I don't know, but he was getting the job done.
   12. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 03:57 PM (#2483297)
Really? I'm no Gagne expert, but I saw at least one outing with Texas where he still looked really sharp and his numbers are still pretty good...what am I missing pre-Sox that would indicate he wasn't going to dominate (excluding injury issues)


Well, I looked at his entire performance record instead of just focusing on one outing, and his 2007 performance record with Texas showed that his walks were up and his strikeouts down. Moreover, I don't understand why we would "exclude injury issues" in evaluating him; injury issues are a big reason why one should have been less than enthusiastic about him. He's pitched just 50 innings in 3 years, which suggests that even if he's able to take the mound he might still be hurt in some way.
   13. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2483302)
He's not the same pitcher he was with LA but everyone knew that.


I would submit that most people were carrying on as if he were the 2002-2004 however-many-Saves-in-a-row! Eric Gagne.
   14. L. M. Gumby Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:21 PM (#2483320)
I'm certainly no scout, and the only appearance I've seen of Gagne's this year was yesterdays, but he looked very good to me. I put the blame squarely on Varitek for Tejada's home run. By my count, Varitek called for six straight fastballs to Tejada. The third pitch (that Tejada swung and missed) might have been a slider, but I think it was a four seam fb. Either way, Gagne consistently hit his spots and 95-96 mph. The pitch that ended up in the bleachers was a low fb right down the heart of the plate. IT WAS EXACTLY WHERE VARITEK HAD SET UP AND EXACTLY WHAT VARITEK HAD ASKED FOR. If you've already thrown Tejada five fastballs in a row, is it really that surprizing when he hits the sixth one out? Am I missing something?

But, as I said, I don't know Gagne very well. What are his other pitches? Has his fastball had more movement in the past?
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:32 PM (#2483333)
One thing you can note about Gagne is that this is far and away the most pressure-packed race he's ever been involved in during his entire career. There have been plenty of other seemingly inexplicable meltdowns in similar situations---think Armando Benitez.
   16. 185/456(GGC) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2483340)
But, but, Andy!! Aren't players essentially laundry wearing Random Number Generators?
   17. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2483341)
5 G, 4IP, 10 H, 7 R.

He's shaping up to be the worst trade deadline acquisition in Red Sox history.

Gagne got pounded on the change on Friday night, so I wonder if Tek wanted to stay away from it against Tejada. But throwing 7 straight fastballs to Tejada is inexcusable.
   18. bond1 Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2483346)
C'mon...Gagne's always been the closer, the go-to guy, the MAN... You can't put him in the set-up roll, he needs the game on the line or he can't get the adrenaline going. He initally said he'd only go to another team as THE CLOSER. I still can't figure why he went to the Sox. Using Gagne in the 8th is like batting Barry Bonds 8th in thge line-up. Don't put a throughbred in a donkey-race.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2483350)
But, but, Andy!! Aren't players essentially laundry wearing Random Number Generators?

Isn't it amazing the way that some people seem to be in such absolute denial of the psychological factor in athletic competition, even in the most pressure-packed situations?---If it can't be "predictive," then just throw it into the trash can.
   20. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:45 PM (#2483353)
Isn't it amazing the way that some people seem to be in such absolute denial of the psychological factor in athletic competition, even in the most pressure-packed situations?

Who is this? I've never heard anyone deny this.
   21. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:49 PM (#2483357)
C'mon...Gagne's always been the closer, the go-to guy, the MAN... You can't put him in the set-up roll, he needs the game on the line or he can't get the adrenaline going. He initally said he'd only go to another team as THE CLOSER. I still can't figure why he went to the Sox. Using Gagne in the 8th is like batting Barry Bonds 8th in thge line-up. Don't put a throughbred in a donkey-race.

Right now, I'd stick Gagne to pitch in some really low-lev innings, and when he gets his krap together, maybe we'll test your theory and have him close a 3 run game or something.
   22. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:50 PM (#2483358)
One thing you can note about Gagne is that this is far and away the most pressure-packed race he's ever been involved in during his entire career. There have been plenty of other seemingly inexplicable meltdowns in similar situations---think Armando Benitez.


Um, Andy? This "race" has not been "pressure-packed." (Though it might be now, in part because of Gagne.)

On August 2nd he was pitching with a 7 game lead and gave up 1 run in 1 inning.

On August 4th he was pitching with a 7 game lead and gave up 1 run in 1 inning.

On August 8th he was pitching with a 6 game lead and gave up 0 runs in 1 inning.

On August 10th he was pitching with a 6 game lead and gave up 4 runs in 1/3 of an inning.

On August 12th he was pitching with a 5 game lead and gave up 1 run in 2/3 of an inning.

If Gagne all of a sudden "melts down" pitching when his team is leading its division by 5, 6, and 7 games, I don't know why people ever thought a "closer's mentality" was worth a damn in the first place.

I mean, he can pile up 152 saves in a three-year period, but can't pitch when his team has a 6 game lead? Does that make any sense?
   23. Dr Love Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2483364)
One thing you can note about Gagne is that this is far and away the most pressure-packed race he's ever been involved in during his entire career. There have been plenty of other seemingly inexplicable meltdowns in similar situations---think Armando Benitez.


Oh please. He's playing on a team with the biggest divisional lead in the majors. At the end of September in 2004 the Dodgers were a mere half game up on the Giants and Gagne didn't fall apart.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:56 PM (#2483365)
Isn't it amazing the way that some people seem to be in such absolute denial of the psychological factor in athletic competition, even in the most pressure-packed situations?

Who is this? I've never heard anyone deny this.


In case that post isn't just tongue in cheek:

The denial consists of the constant refrain that big discrepancies in performance between high pressure situations and low pressure situations (see A-Rod, 2004-2006) are caused by little more than "random variation," as if it can't be anything other than a big coincidence.

Mind you, I'm not saying that in all cases, or even necessarily most, the "choke" factor is at work. But to dismiss it out of hand on the mere ground that it isn't "predictive" seems to me to be far more of a case of statistical ideology than anything else.
   25. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:56 PM (#2483366)
I mean, he can pile up 152 saves in a three-year period, but can't pitch when his team has a 6 game lead? Does that make any sense?


Yes, b/c whatever anyone wants to claim, the Red Sox (and their fans) definitely understand NY's momentum. Have you not been witnessing Wok's and Darren's recent apoplexies?

That said, I'm more inclined to agree with your analysis. I just think he's not quite the pitcher he once was. His FB is not explosive anymore; it's hard and straight and thus hitable. But I also think he'll rebound. The real issue, IMHO, is why Papelbon isn't getting more work; why Francona is reluctant to put him in and try to bury the Yankees. I think getting the lead down to 4 is very significant. Were I Francona, yesterday would've been a Papelbon game to try to keep the lead at 5.
   26. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 04:59 PM (#2483370)
The denial consists of the constant refrain that big discrepancies in performance between high pressure situations and low pressure situations (see A-Rod, 2004-2006) are caused by little more than "random variation," as if it can't be anything other than a big coincidence.

Nobody's said that. The most anyone has ever said is that random variation can't be ruled out as a reason for a certain batter doing better in some situations than in others, that the numbers don't "prove" that someone is a choke artist. Of course psychology exists.
   27. Rancischley Leweschquens (Tim Wallach was my Hero) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2483374)
Great to read Gagné hasn't forgot his (expletive) roots!

Up here, we like using swear words. And Gagné is no exception.

Gagné is probably the only guy in the MLB who can freely swear (well, maybe the Koreans and Japenese can, but I doubt they do). And he does. Just reading his lips when he gets hit or walks someone is plain fun.

I honestly don't think ESPN or the likes would show his face after a hit if they had a clue of what he was saying!
   28. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2483375)
One thing you can note about Gagne is that this is far and away the most pressure-packed race he's ever been involved in during his entire career. There have been plenty of other seemingly inexplicable meltdowns in similar situations---think Armando Benitez.

Oh please. He's playing on a team with the biggest divisional lead in the majors. At the end of September in 2004 the Dodgers were a mere half game up on the Giants and Gagne didn't fall apart.


Written by a man whose listed local time zone is five hours away from Boston, and by someone who rather amusingly thinks that an early August single digit lead in the context of the Red Sox and the Yankees is somehow soothing enough to keep Red Sox fans out of the nuthouse, and for him not to notice all that anxiety.

That said, we'll see what happens to Gagne over the next six or seven weeks.

Will it be Papelbon II---or Benitez (Ewww)?
   29. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:05 PM (#2483376)
The '04 Dodgers that Gagne was on were in a pretty tight division race.
   30. Rally Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:09 PM (#2483381)
I mean, he can pile up 152 saves in a three-year period, but can't pitch when his team has a 6 game lead? Does that make any sense?

It doesn't make any sense, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to it. A lot of things don't make sense, I mean, what's with Chewbacca living on Endor? If its pressure that's getting to him, its a different kind of pressure, trying to justify being the big trade acquisition to a contending team vs. pitching in high leverage situations.

I have no idea how his mental state relates to his performance. Its quite obvious that his stuff is not what it once was. In the last 2 weeks an anonymous scout was quoted here saying that Gagne's stuff was ordinary, despite pitching well with Texas, and he's not going to be an impact pitcher. Score one for anonymous scouts. My guess is that Gagne is as likely to need surgery and be done for the year as he is to turn it around.

This has been a great pickup ... for the Yankees.
   31. aleskel Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2483382)
I don't think Gagne is choking whatsoever. I just think he's had a couple of crap outings, which just so happen to be his first ones since being traded.

That said, I think Gagne was very, very overrated, just because of his past performance. He clearly isn't the same pitcher he once was - I didn't see the full at-bat with Tejada, just the replay, and the ball Tejada hit out was a 90 MPH meatball. Someone said Gagne was consistently at 95-96, which I seriously doubt. And his out pitch has always been his changeup - if he (or Veritek) were wary of throwing it to Tejada (a straightup fastball hitter) that should tell you something.

So I think Gagne will be better (hell, he can't be much worse than he's been), but he won't be turning into Scott Shields anytime soon.
   32. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2483383)
Written by a man whose listed local time zone is five hours away from Boston, and by someone who rather amusingly thinks that an early August single digit lead in the context of the Red Sox and the Yankees is somehow soothing enough to keep Red Sox fans out of the nuthouse, and for him not to notice all that anxiety.


In other words, someone rational.

Look, there's nothing magical about the Yankees. If they come back, it will be because they're a good team (and get some breaks down the stretch), not because the last 90 years has a damned thing to do with this year.
   33. Dr Love Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2483385)
Written by a man whose listed local time zone is five hours away from Boston, and by someone who rather amusingly thinks that an early August single digit lead in the context of the Red Sox and the Yankees is somehow soothing enough to keep Red Sox fans out of the nuthouse, and for him not to notice all that anxiety.


I'm not sure which description is supposed to be me but neither one fits.
   34. Mister High Standards Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:12 PM (#2483386)
Yes, b/c whatever anyone wants to claim, the Red Sox (and their fans) definitely understand NY's momentum. Have you not been witnessing Wok's and Darren's recent apoplexies?


I'd day that speaks more to Darren and Wok being what they are than anything else.

Though as I've said before I don't care who finnishes first or second. All I can about is who wins the world series. The reason I was so happy earlier in the year wasn't because the Sox had a big lead over the yankees, it was because it was doubtful the Yankees would win the world series. Now, I'm not too sure, and might consider them the favorites, assuming the make the playoffs.
   35. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:20 PM (#2483396)
The denial consists of the constant refrain that big discrepancies in performance between high pressure situations and low pressure situations (see A-Rod, 2004-2006) are caused by little more than "random variation," as if it can't be anything other than a big coincidence.

Nobody's said that. The most anyone has ever said is that random variation can't be ruled out as a reason for a certain batter doing better in some situations than in others, that the numbers don't "prove" that someone is a choke artist. Of course psychology exists.


We haven't been reading the same threads, then. This isn't about players being "choke artists" in any long-term, pejorative sense. It's about countless high-pressure situations, especially those lasting over the course of an entire postseason---or repeated postseasons---where a player not only repeatedly underperforms, but underperforms in a visibly painful way. Again like A-Rod over the past several postseason series.

And yes, you can fairly label such a performance "choking," in the sense that his clear inability to retain focus under pressure caused him to underperform.

If your hangup with that is the "clear" part, then all I can say is that you weren't watching those playoffs. He wasn't hitting lasers directly at fielders.

And A-Rod is a good example, because he illustrates not only the concept of "choking," but its limitations. Just as players can lose focus due to pressure, so can players find various ways of overcoming that loss of focus, as A-Rod has so brilliantly done to date this year. Check out his "Clutch Stats" lines on BB-Ref for 2007 compared to 2004-2006---it's like night and day.

So again, as predictive tool, the concept of "choking" is almost totally useless, except perhaps in the midst of an obvious series of examples of it. But as a way of describing many specific examples of underperformance, it's wholly legitimate. Just ask the athletes themselves---they use the word all the time, usually speaking from a POV of wholly sincere self-knowledge. They know exactly what it's all about.
   36. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2483400)
Written by a man whose listed local time zone is five hours away from Boston, and by someone who rather amusingly thinks that an early August single digit lead in the context of the Red Sox and the Yankees is somehow soothing enough to keep Red Sox fans out of the nuthouse, and for him not to notice all that anxiety.

I'm not sure which description is supposed to be me but neither one fits.


I wrote that partly tongue in cheek, but your member page does list your local time as five hours west of Boston and New York.

As for the second part, let's check back at the beginning of October.
   37. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2483401)
It doesn't make any sense, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to it. A lot of things don't make sense, I mean, what's with Chewbacca living on Endor? If its pressure that's getting to him, its a different kind of pressure, trying to justify being the big trade acquisition to a contending team vs. pitching in high leverage situations.


Well, if that's the kind of rank speculation one needs to engage in in order to try to determine whether "pressure" gets to Gagne, and if so what kind, I'll pass. I can't see what value this type of "analysis" has at that point.
   38. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2483403)
And yes, you can fairly label such a performance "choking," in the sense that his clear inability to retain focus under pressure caused him to underperform.

If your hangup with that is the "clear" part, then all I can say is that you weren't watching those playoffs. He wasn't hitting lasers directly at fielders.


Again, I don't remember anyone saying that there was no such thing as choking. I remember some people defending Rodriguez, but I don't remember anyone saying that choking doesn't exist.
   39. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:30 PM (#2483411)
You have a bad memory then, JRE.
   40. Dr Love Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:32 PM (#2483413)
I wrote that partly tongue in cheek, but your member page does list your local time as five hours west of Boston and New York.


You sure you checked the right person? Because it's on the right time when I look at it. And actually, I live an hour or so away from Boston. And I used to live about an hour away from NYC.
   41. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:32 PM (#2483415)
You have a bad memory then, JRE.

Well, who said it, then? I remember the arguments about whether or not Rodriguez was a choker, but I don't remember anyone saying that players aren't effected by pressure situations. Unless mgl said it. I could believe that.
   42. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2483420)
You sure you checked the right person? Because it's on the right time when I look at it.

I just clicked on your name again, and it reads:

Member Local Time August 13, 2007 08:33 AM
Last Visit August 13, 2007 01:27 PM


And actually, I live an hour or so away from Boston. And I used to live about an hour away from NYC.

Then obviously "member local time" means something other than what it would appear to mean, unless you're measuring "an hour or so away" by the Concorde....
   43. Dr Love Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:41 PM (#2483423)
I just clicked on your name again, and it reads:

Member Local Time August 13, 2007 08:33 AM
Last Visit August 13, 2007 01:27 PM


Well, that's just weird. Because this is what I get when I click on my name:

Member Local Time August 13, 2007 01:39 PM
Last Visit August 13, 2007 01:37 PM


Interesting.

Then obviously "member local time" means something other than what it would appear to mean, unless you're measuring "an hour or so away" by the Concorde....


I got a really sweet deal on one when they stopped using them. It's a ##### to park though.
   44. Rally Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2483428)
Well, if that's the kind of rank speculation one needs to engage in in order to try to determine whether "pressure" gets to Gagne, and if so what kind, I'll pass.

That's exactly the kind of speculation you'd have to do, because it makes no sense to think somebody who once made a living protecting 1 run leads in the 9th for the Dodgers can't handle the pressure of a 7th inning lead against the Orioles just because the Yankees won a game in another city. You're going to have to be really creative, it will be something easy to shoot holes in, and it will make no sense.
   45. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2483429)
Well, you can put me down as one who hasn't seen any evidence that ARod "chokes" in the playoffs. Or that MLB players in general "choke."

As for ARod in particular, there's evidence that he's had some bad postseason series. There's no evidence that he has "choked" in those bad series. He's had some great postseason series also -- including with the Yankees. And I particularly like how people try to include his 2004 ALCS against the Red Sox as part of the evidence that he "chokes" in the playoffs -- filtering out his good games from that series, of course. As if the sample isn't small enough in a postseason series, that now we need to split up the same series in order to search for facts that support the pre-formed conclusion.

When someone can explain to me how a player can lead his league in home runs multiple times, win multiple MVP awards, put up some great performances in the postseason, do the kinds of things he's been doing in the 9th inning this year, and, yet, still be a "choker," I'll believe that there's some merit to the theory.
   46. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:51 PM (#2483434)
Again, I don't remember anyone saying that there was no such thing as choking.

Well, Jerry, there's Exhibit A in post #45 right above me. And if this subtopic doesn't die a natural death I'm sure he'll have plenty of company. Ray expresses a POV that's been stated many, many times over the years here.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:51 PM (#2483435)
Gagne hits 93 or a tad better when he's coming off a day's rest. If used on consecutive days that drops to 90-91 mph. It may also be the case that having been used carefullyl in the first half teams are just now getting a second or third look at Gagne which always makes a difference for a hitter.
   48. Rally Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:52 PM (#2483437)
There is A-Rod's great 2004 postseason series against the Twins. Some truly great clutch hitting. I'll leave Red Sox series aside, but if A-Rod choked against the Tigers because he's a wimp or something, then he should have choked against the Twins too.
   49. 185/456(GGC) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2483440)
The '04 Dodgers that Gagne was on were in a pretty tight division race.



Pffft, in the laid back NL West ;).
   50. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2483442)
Again, I don't remember anyone saying that there was no such thing as choking.


Well, Jerry, there's Exhibit A in post #45 right above me.


Um, no, it's not. You need help with your reading comprehension, Andy. I didn't say there is no such thing as choking. I said I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players "choke."
   51. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:56 PM (#2483443)
I'll leave Red Sox series aside, but if A-Rod choked against the Tigers because he's a wimp or something, then he should have choked against the Twins too.

That's bogus. Show me one person who maintains a consistent state of mind for two years. Just because A-rod has performed in the clutch in the past and is performing well in the clutch right now does not mean that he has never choked and will never choke. Things in people's lives change, why would you expect his ability to rise to the occasion to be constant?
   52. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:56 PM (#2483445)
Um, no, it's not. You need help with your reading comprehension, Andy. I didn't say there is no such thing as choking. I said I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players "choke."


Oh give us a break. So, is there choking in baseball?
   53. aleskel Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:56 PM (#2483446)
ARod was "choking" most of the second half of last year. He was overweight (not fat, just too much bulk), his swing was long and loopy, and he completely lost an semblance of an approach - in short, he was lost. And he wasn't able to straighten himself out before the playoffs.

Of course, that doesn't explain 2004 against the Sox or 2005 against the Angels, but its worth mentioning.
   54. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:56 PM (#2483448)
Again, I don't remember anyone saying that there was no such thing as choking.

There is A-Rod's great 2004 postseason series against the Twins. Some truly great clutch hitting. I'll leave Red Sox series aside, but if A-Rod choked against the Tigers because he's a wimp or something, then he should have choked against the Twins too.


That's two in the space of just seven minutes, Jerry. And that one, too, is the sort of argument made repeatedly on this topic.
   55. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 05:57 PM (#2483450)
That's two in the space of just seven minutes, Jerry.

I read arguments that Rodriguez is not a choker, not arguments that psychology doesn't exist.
   56. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:00 PM (#2483454)
Yes, the Red Sox can rely on the Os to put a hurtin' on the Yankees too.

Well, at least you can take comfort in the fact that Guthrie and Bedard are pitching. Guthrie, though, just had two bad outings and his IPs beginning to push career highs since college. And Bedard hasn't lost since his first outing after the All-Star break.

Really? I'm no Gagne expert, but I saw at least one outing with Texas where he still looked really sharp and his numbers are still pretty good.

I believe the standard scouting report says that Gagne's change up is not the same pitch he had in LA. It used to dive at the end which gave the pitch a bugs bunny like quality. Plus I've heard he lost a few MPHs off his fastball.
   57. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:03 PM (#2483459)
Oh give us a break. So, is there choking in baseball?

I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players choke. That's the clearest answer I can give.
   58. Rally Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2483463)
But to dismiss it out of hand on the mere ground that it isn't "predictive" seems to me to be far more of a case of statistical ideology than anything else.

I won't deny chokers/clutch players exist, I'm an agnostic on the subject. But if its not predictive what can you do with it? From a team's prespective it would be nice if they could identify chokers and not put them in pressure packed situations. If there's no way you can predict it, then all you can do is write attack pieces on the player after he fails, and that doesn't help anybody.
   59. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:08 PM (#2483466)
That's two in the space of just seven minutes, Jerry.

I read arguments that Rodriguez is not a choker, not arguments that psychology doesn't exist.

I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players choke. That's the clearest answer I can give.


Like I said, Jerry, stick around for awhile. The people I'm referring to aren't ashamed of expressing their opinions.
   60. Rally Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:09 PM (#2483468)
I believe the standard scouting report says that Gagne's change up is not the same pitch he had in LA. It used to dive at the end which gave the pitch a bugs bunny like quality. Plus I've heard he lost a few MPHs off his fastball.

Definitely lost some MPH on the fastball. If he's successful now, its because he's mixing the fastball/change effectively, but if a hitter guesses right he'll get something good to hit. In the 82 1/3 days in LA, Gagne could throw the change, batter knew it was coming, and he still couldn't hit it. The change was tough enough but knowing he could also throw a 98 MPH fastball if he wanted to...batters had no chance.
   61. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:09 PM (#2483470)
Like I said, Jerry, stick around for awhile. The people I'm referring to aren't ashamed of expressing their opinions.

He's not claiming evidence of absence, he's claiming absence of evidence, which is as far as I've seen anyone go. I think he understands that they're two different things.
   62. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:11 PM (#2483472)
I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players choke. That's the clearest answer I can give.


IOW, you believe there's no choking in baseball.

See, now, I approach this differently. I'm aware of "choking" (by which we usually mean "underperforming expectations in high-anxiety situations") in all aspects of human life. Lawyers "choke" before the bar, doctors "choke" in the operating room, professors "choke" at lectures, basketball players "choke" at the free-throw line during the playoffs, place kickers "choke" in the SB, and so on. I therefore draw the conclusion that, as human beings, baseball players are as likely to choke in their activity as are other human beings in theirs. I thus don't play some evidentiary game where I render it impossible to draw the conclusion that "play X" was an instance of choking. And as Cowboy Popup wisely pointed out, that a man chokes in one situation does not mean or require him to choke in a similar situation.

Some of you simply have concluded, without warrant, that "choking" does not exist, and thus refuse to find evidence for it where the evidence is clear.
   63. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2483473)
Regarding Gagne if you check his game logs Texas had just faced Baltimore, LAA, and Seattle immediately before Eric moved to the Red Sox. I think it's very likely that this simple fact may have played a role in Gagne's struggles. Even with going just one inning once major league hitters get a look and can share that info with their peers the guy on the mound will need to compensate unless he has that one KILLER pitch......
   64. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2483475)
He's not claiming evidence of absence, he's claiming absence of evidence, which is as far as I've seen anyone go. I think he understands that they're two different things.


This has become a favorite game on the site. My immediately prior post addresses it. He's not actually claiming "absence of evidence." He's actually claiming the thing doesn't exist and then refusing to acknowledge the evidence it does, b/c of his prior commitment. This is utterly unscientific.
   65. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:16 PM (#2483477)
I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players choke. That's the clearest answer I can give.

Indisputable evidence that there is choking in baseball.

And no, I'm not trying to be an #######, but that is a choke job right there.
   66. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2483480)
He's not actually claiming "absence of evidence."

Actually, that's exactly what he's saying. He says that he hasn't seen evidence. Now, maybe you're satisfied with what evidence you've seen that players "choke", but he may not be.
   67. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2483482)
I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players choke. That's the clearest answer I can give.

Like I said, Jerry, stick around for awhile. The people I'm referring to aren't ashamed of expressing their opinions.


Why would I be ashamed of expressing an opinion that there is no evidence X exists? I should think, assuming this is something to be "ashamed" about, that one would be "ashamed" to express an opinion that is not supported by the evidence.
   68. covelli chris p Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:19 PM (#2483484)
Indisputable evidence that there is choking in baseball.

And no, I'm not trying to be an #######, but that is a choke job right there.


don't forget october of '04.
   69. aleskel Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2483485)
Regarding Gagne if you check his game logs Texas had just faced Baltimore, LAA, and Seattle immediately before Eric moved to the Red Sox. I think it's very likely that this simple fact may have played a role in Gagne's struggles. Even with going just one inning once major league hitters get a look and can share that info with their peers the guy on the mound will need to compensate unless he has that one KILLER pitch......

once again Harveys Wallbangers come through in the clutch. Excellent point. You sir, do not choke when the thread is on the line.
   70. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2483486)
that is a choke job right there.

Yeah, Maddux was bad in that game.
   71. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:25 PM (#2483490)
Yeah, Maddux was bad in that game.

You're not serious are you? Ankiel walked 6 in 2.2 IP and had 5 WPs. That is the difference between a choke and just a bad outing, like Maddux had.
   72. Dr Love Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2483494)
I haven't seen any evidence that MLB players choke.


You've never see LaTroy Hawkins try to close a game?
   73. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:30 PM (#2483497)
You're not serious are you? Ankiel walked 6 in 2.2 IP and had 5 WPs. That is the difference between a choke and just a bad outing, like Maddux had.


I'm sure they are serious. You see, Ankiel's performance was not a choke, but a statistically predictable correction, as postseason games had not yet seen their share of walks and WPs. Math explains everything: statistics rule, psychology drools!!!111
   74. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:30 PM (#2483498)
You're not serious are you?

No, I am not.

I, personally, do not dispute the existence of "choking". I've seen what I believe to be "choking", many times. What I dispute is that anyone here has claimed that baseball players are emotionless automatons.
   75. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2483504)
What I dispute is that anyone here has claimed that baseball players are emotionless automatons.


Whatever. Don't change the language, b/c you're seeing disputed precisely what you denied people disputed. Ray does not believe baseball players choke.
   76. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:34 PM (#2483505)
Ankiel walked 6 in 2.2 IP and had 5 WPs.

Just pitching to the score.
   77. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:35 PM (#2483507)
What I dispute is that anyone here has claimed that baseball players are emotionless automatons.

I have a terrible memory for specifics of arguments, so I can't really say one way, or the other. I have seen remarks that suggest that players have to be either chokers or clutch, for there to be chokers or clutch players, which is, IMO, in the same ballpark as saying that baseball players are emotionless automatons.
   78. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:36 PM (#2483512)
See, now, I approach this differently. I'm aware of "choking" (by which we usually mean "underperforming expectations in high-anxiety situations") in all aspects of human life. Lawyers "choke" before the bar, doctors "choke" in the operating room, professors "choke" at lectures, basketball players "choke" at the free-throw line during the playoffs, place kickers "choke" in the SB, and so on.

The good ones don't. Or, if they feel pressure, it doesn't affect their performance.

I therefore draw the conclusion that, as human beings, baseball players are as likely to choke in their activity as are other human beings in theirs.

There's no evidence that the good ones do. Baseball players who choke probably never make the majors. There's a term of art for a baseball player who chokes: insurance salesman.
   79. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:40 PM (#2483517)
Ray does not believe baseball players choke.

I actually think he and you are arguing different points. Ray seems to be arguing that there's no such thing as a "choke artist", not that there has never been a specific instance of choking in the history of baseball.
   80. Rally Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:45 PM (#2483523)
What is choking anyway? A physcological phenomenon that prevents a player from performing up to his ability? I'll give you Ankiel, he sure fits. I don't think there's any way you can spin that his postseason meltdown was just a random effect, as if it was he would have come back the next year and struck out 200 batters.

Hawkins as closer, I can buy that too, but it is extremely rare. Players just getting beat on the other hand, happens every day. I'll take the odds on Gagne "just getting beat" instead of him turning into a choke artist.

On free throws, is Shaq a choke artist? Or is it just something he's not capable of doing?
   81. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:46 PM (#2483524)
See, now, I approach this differently. I'm aware of "choking" (by which we usually mean "underperforming expectations in high-anxiety situations") in all aspects of human life. Lawyers "choke" before the bar, doctors "choke" in the operating room, professors "choke" at lectures, basketball players "choke" at the free-throw line during the playoffs, place kickers "choke" in the SB, and so on.

The good ones don't. Or, if they feel pressure, it doesn't affect their performance.

I therefore draw the conclusion that, as human beings, baseball players are as likely to choke in their activity as are other human beings in theirs.

There's no evidence that the good ones do. Baseball players who choke probably never make the majors. There's a term of art for a baseball player who chokes: insurance salesman.


And you know this b/c you've never seen evidence of it! What nonsense. Even the best choke, even if they do so rarely. And even in the pros there are distinctions in talent, so there will be some guys intimidated by the pressure moreso than others. Dave Winfield was a great player, no insurance saleman he, who shot the pooch in the postseason, unfortunately for him.
   82. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2483525)
On free throws, is Shaq a choke artist? Or is it just something he's not capable of doing?


Something he's not capable of doing well. I defined choking above already.

JRE: I think he and I actually are arguing about the same thing.
   83. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2483526)
And you know this b/c you've never seen evidence of it! What nonsense. Even the best choke, even if they do so rarely. And even in the pros there are distinctions in talent, so there will be some guys intimidated by the pressure moreso than others. Dave Winfield was a great player, no insurance saleman he, who shot the pooch in the postseason, unfortunately for him.

That explains Winfield's performance in the 1981 ALDS, right? Or his performance in the 1992 ALCS?
   84. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:55 PM (#2483537)
Ray does not believe baseball players choke.

I actually think he and you are arguing different points. Ray seems to be arguing that there's no such thing as a "choke artist", not that there has never been a specific instance of choking in the history of baseball.


The poet Rilke once said something like "There is no such thing as love, only evidence of it."

Whereas Ray is clearly saying that while there may be such a thing as choking, he can't conceive of a Major League baseball player ever choking. Only insurance salesmen do that.

And I'm not here to argue with Ray, whom I obviously disagree with. I'm only pointing him out as a clear an example as you'll see of someone who repeatedly denies the possiblity that a Major League baseball player has ever choked. Which is precisely what you claimed never to have seen on BTF. And his opinion, as expressed, is quite run of the mill on this site. He's not exactly a pioneer of denial.
   85. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 13, 2007 at 06:56 PM (#2483538)
What is choking anyway? A physcological phenomenon that prevents a player from performing up to his ability?

I would define choking as failing do something that normally comes easily due to the pressure of the situation. That would eliminate your Shaq situation. Swinging at pitches in the dirt, consistently missing pitches out over the plate, and not just ones from Joel Zumaya, botching easy groundballs, making piss poor throws and/or mental decisions in the field. Obviously some of these just happen because these things happen in baseball, but I believe body language tends help with the determination of a player choking, not just the results.

As for Gagne, I don't know that he's choking. Maybe not being a closer just kills his drive and his competitive edge. Maybe he got lucky in the first half. Maybe Tek is the worst catcher in human history.
   86. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: August 13, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2483540)
JRE: I think he and I actually are arguing about the same thing.

I disagree (see post 83; he's definitely more interested in arguing that such-and-such a player is not a "choker" than in arguing that there's no such thing as "choking"), but I won't belabor the point.

I really feel that Andy is beating up on a straw man here.
   87. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 07:07 PM (#2483553)
I really feel that Andy is beating up on a straw man here.


He's not. Andy's showing you exactly what you asked for, and Ray nicely has stepped on stage for the display. You're now just doing what Ray does with choking: refusing to see the evidence right in front of your face. THERE ARE PEOPLE, AND HAVE BEEN PEOPLE, WHO DENY THAT THERE HAS EVER BEEN AN INSTANCE OF CHOKING IN MLB, THEY DENY CHOKING EXISTS, THEY CLAIM THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS CHOKING IN BASEBALL.
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 07:15 PM (#2483560)
I really feel that Andy is beating up on a straw man here.

I only wish that I were. Here's what Ray wrote in #78:

Baseball players who choke probably never make the majors. There's a term of art for a baseball player who chokes: insurance salesman.

When you take people like Ray, who's saying that he's never found any "evidence" of any Major League player choking, and still put him into some sort of theoretical camp of people who merely don't deny "psychology," then I'm not arguing with a straw man; I'm arguing with a brick wall.

I'm saying that there is clear intuitive and observational evidence of Major League baseball players having choked over the years, meaning that they lost focus under pressure and subsequently underperformed, often for days or weeks at a time. Many of them have freely admitted this themselves.

And if Ray or anyone else wants to deny that, then fine. I'm stating a subjective and arguable opinion, not a statistically "provable" fact.

But to claim that a man who writes something like Ray did in post #78 is still not denying the very concept of Major League baseball players (not insurance salemen) choking, that's just absurd.
   89. Swedish Chef Posted: August 13, 2007 at 07:24 PM (#2483569)
I remember a clearcut case of choking from the olympics. In the pistol shooting there was a young South Korean guy who was leading in the final round of shooting, he had to score a nine or above in the final shot of the competition to win gold, which is very routine. The guy was shaking violently, he used up all his time trying to calm himself, it didn't work, he threw away a shot at random and finished outside the medals.

Pity I don't remember if it was in Barcelona or Atlanta.
   90. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 13, 2007 at 07:47 PM (#2483585)
Andy, when you assume that players automatically feel pressure in situation A, but don't feel pressure in situation B, you're treating them as if they're robots.
   91. JC in DC Posted: August 13, 2007 at 07:58 PM (#2483596)
Andy, when you assume that players automatically feel pressure in situation A, but don't feel pressure in situation B, you're treating them as if they're robots.


Of course. And the cool thing is, he's never said that or anything like it. I'm sure he would agree w/Cowboy popUP! in #51.
   92. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 13, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2483654)
Andy, when you assume that players automatically feel pressure in situation A, but don't feel pressure in situation B, you're treating them as if they're robots.

Of course. And the cool thing is, he's never said that or anything like it. I'm sure he would agree w/Cowboy popUP! in #51.


The theory seems to be if you can't refute the argument you're presented with, present the argument that you can refute. Works in love, apparently works here on BTF.

And I love the way he casually slips "automatically" in there. That was almost Dialworthy.

That aside, here's that Cowboy popUP exchange you refer to, in context, and you're right, I agree with it completely:

I'll leave Red Sox series aside, but if A-Rod choked against the Tigers because he's a wimp or something, then he should have choked against the Twins too.

That's bogus. Show me one person who maintains a consistent state of mind for two years. Just because A-rod has performed in the clutch in the past and is performing well in the clutch right now does not mean that he has never choked and will never choke. Things in people's lives change, why would you expect his ability to rise to the occasion to be constant?
   93. rr Posted: August 14, 2007 at 02:17 AM (#2483959)
I wanted to post...b u t i am sha kkkin gg and I....c aa nn'tt

Ho p e everyone see s it a as rrrr andom vaaar i ation and looks a tt all my postssss as a who lll eee
   94. rr Posted: August 14, 2007 at 02:21 AM (#2483966)
Orioles tied the Yankees in the 9th. Guess Rivera choked.
   95. 185/456(GGC) Posted: August 14, 2007 at 02:28 AM (#2483977)
See post #3, robinred.
   96. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: August 14, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2483980)
It's WWWMW

But the Yankees win. DA YAAAAANNNNKEEESSS WIN!
   97. rr Posted: August 14, 2007 at 02:36 AM (#2483987)
Chamberlain has now, what, thrown three innings without allowing a baserunner and striking out six guys?

As JC indicated in the other thread, I think it is key for Red Sox fans to remember the old saw about never being as bad as you look when you lose or as good as you look when you win. The Yankees beat Balt, but it was tough, and Bos shut out TB.

Is something wrong with Wang?
   98. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 14, 2007 at 02:52 AM (#2483997)
Is something wrong with Wang?

Probably not. He mainly had a bad first inning, and then recovered pretty well. But I thought that Chamberlain was going to come out for the ninth, since he just blew away the O's in the eighth, hadn't pitched since Friday, and Rivera had worked hard to get four outs just yesterday. I was cursing the screen when I saw Mo out there on no rest.

Tough win, but against the Orioles these days I'm grateful for any win.

BTW that's now eight K's in five innings for Chamberlain.
   99. JC in DC Posted: August 14, 2007 at 02:53 AM (#2483998)
Is something wrong with Wang?


Good, relevant question. I don't know, but I'm worried. He's not looked good lately.
   100. Ray (CTL) Posted: August 14, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2484003)
Is something wrong with Wang?

You mean, other than the Tewksburyan strikeout rate?
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Jim Wisinski
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogThis was the wildest game in MLB history
(12 - 5:21am, Feb 08)
Last: John Reynard

NewsblogStat of the Week: Zack Greinke’s Defense
(1 - 5:19am, Feb 08)
Last: John Reynard

Newsblog2023 NBA Regular Season Thread
(470 - 3:28am, Feb 08)
Last: 57i66135 is a hard word for me.

NewsblogThe 53-year-old who might pitch forever
(5 - 11:08pm, Feb 07)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

Hall of MeritRanking Right Fielders in the Hall of Merit - Discussion thread
(54 - 10:52pm, Feb 07)
Last: Eric J can SABER all he wants to

NewsblogThe A’s Teardown Is Not Going Well
(7 - 10:41pm, Feb 07)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogDodgers to retire Valenzuela's No. 34
(27 - 8:27pm, Feb 07)
Last: rr would lock Shaq's a$$ up

NewsblogThe Boomers Were Right: Batting Average is REALLY Important
(15 - 7:21pm, Feb 07)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(2642 - 6:29pm, Feb 07)
Last: 57i66135 is a hard word for me.

NewsblogOT - 2022 NFL thread Part II
(349 - 6:27pm, Feb 07)
Last: Zach

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s Back to Club Football We Go
(418 - 6:25pm, Feb 07)
Last: Mefisto

Sox TherapyThe Future Starts Now (Hopefully)
(27 - 5:22pm, Feb 07)
Last: villageidiom

Hall of MeritReranking Left Fielders: Results
(16 - 2:54pm, Feb 07)
Last: DL from MN

NewsblogBaseball Hall of Fame tracker 2023
(748 - 2:43pm, Feb 07)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogNegro Leagues legends to be featured in MLB The Show 23
(5 - 1:50pm, Feb 07)
Last: Russ

Page rendered in 0.7023 seconds
45 querie(s) executed