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Le Batard: Can't blame chemistry...


jonnylons
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Here is the article, brings up some good points (for a change):

 

Posted on Sat, Jul. 10, 2004

 

 

 

 

IN MY OPINION

 

 

Can't blame chemistry for this volatile season

 

DAN LE BATARD

 

dlebatard@herald.com

 

 

Mike Lowell scans a joyless Marlins clubhouse before yet another deflating loss.

 

''It's definitely different in here,'' he says.

 

So many little things.

 

Utility infielder Andy Fox, who always kept the rah-rah bench laughing, is gone.

 

''The ringleader of the clowns,'' Lowell says.

 

Third-base coach Ozzie Guillen, the loudest Marlin, is gone.

 

''Such a comforting presence for the Latin guys,'' Lowell says.

 

The pitcher-is-a-belly-itcher dugout heckling that made Jeff Conine feel like he had joined a Little League team upon his arrival last season?

 

That's gone, too.

 

''The humor was a togethering factor,'' Lowell says.

 

Derrek Lee is gone, replaced by a first baseman who doesn't speak English well enough to joke. Pudge Rodriguez's Hall of Fame aura is gone, replaced not at all. And, of course, something else has vanished -- something larger than all of the above.

 

''We're not winning,'' Lowell says. ``That's why there is a different energy in here. Negative decisions, negative plays, negative performances get magnified when you are losing -- deservedly so. Winning covers things up. We've still got good chemistry. I'd like to have a beer with everyone in here. But winning lifts everything to a higher level.''

 

Mike Piazza once said chemistry doesn't create winning as much as winning creates chemistry. And no team in South Florida's history embodied that more than last season's champion Marlins, a team that surfed a wave of feel-good over Jim Thome, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and then the New York Yankees. The winning and chemistry merged to make both bigger and better -- as well as the Marlins. They were a joy to watch last season at least in part because we could watch their joy, a humming power line of electricity perpetually pulsating from the dugout.

 

But everything feels different now.

 

HARDLY THE SAME

 

Remember how manager Jack McKeon would do something questionable and it would be cute because everything would work out in the end? That's not so adorable anymore. More than a few Marlins are annoyed by McKeon's strategizing, especially all the bunting, and the curmudgeonly complaining he does nightly on the bench is irritating instead of charming.

 

Luis Castillo's perpetual insecurity and worry is endearing when he's hitting .330. It isn't when it is consuming him as he gets dropped in the order and fights to live up to a big contract. Josh Beckett's diva-brat behavior was tolerated last season because he somehow managed to put together the healthiest, best string of success at the perfect time. But it is exasperating to teammates when that behavior is coming from the disabled list.

 

Let's not revise history. Last season's Marlins had ''issues,'' if you can call them that. Juan Encarnaci?n was a distant mystery, unknown even to teammates, 24 guys over here and one over there. Fairly or unfairly, Pudge annoyed teammates during a difficult stretch by leaving the team for an extended period to return to Puerto Rico for a sick relative. Beckett told Pudge to ''[bleep] off!'' on one occasion during the playoffs. Lowell wasn't happy to be strapped to the bench at the start of the playoffs, just like Conine isn't happy to be benched now.

 

`THE LUCKIEST TEAM'

 

''We're not lost now, but we're searching,'' Lowell says. ``We're the luckiest team in the world. In another division, we're down 13 games.''

 

The Philadelphia Phillies are fragile and flailing. Even John Smoltz said recently the Atlanta Braves aren't good enough to win the division. The New York Mets remain flawed and limited. Fourteen of Florida's next 17 games are within the division, but there's only so long you can keep saying these things. Even Florida's victories recently have been tortured laboring.

 

Friday night, starter A.J. Burnett again was betrayed by his bats and his bullpen, and the rotation is becoming increasingly exasperated by the lack of support, just as the catchers are irritable that the starters have been so bad about holding runners on.

 

This team is in a delicate place.

 

And the cure isn't chemistry.

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You know what else, Mike Lowell needs a big glass of shut-the-hell-up.

 

I'm sick of this whole "no one can live up to Pudge" line. Well, Mike, it came down to Pudge or you and wisely (or unwisely considering Cabrera is a better third-baseman) we decided to keep you instead. Stop groaning to the papers (something I NEVER remember happening last year), and act like the team leader instead of whining.

 

It sure doesn't help when our highest paid player, the face of our organization, and the man who we chose to keep over a future hall of famer simply adds fuel to the rapidly growing media fire.

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I don't see where he said no one can live up to Pudge. And I don't blame him for letting his feelings out.....it's what we're all thinking, and probably what most of the players are thinking too. I'm glad they're showing frustration during this season, and not just shrugging it off and saying "oh well, get'em next time."

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I dont for one second think that this team has no heart. What has happened is guys arent executing like they should be. Guys are underperforming. You cant blame McKeon for that - but you can blame him for being headstrong and not trying to put guys in a position to help this team win.

 

I really think that this team just needs a little something and it will be fine. Right now, the players are searching for answers and are getting desperate. They should remember that we are the World Champs and everyone is gunning for us every night. Things will start to turn around - this is NOT a bad team.

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I don't see where he said no one can live up to Pudge. And I don't blame him for letting his feelings out.....it's what we're all thinking, and probably what most of the players are thinking too. I'm glad they're showing frustration during this season, and not just shrugging it off and saying "oh well, get'em next time."

450459[/snapback]

 

He made those comments about Pudge in a previous article, yet the same "poor me" tone is there. My anger comes from the fact that whenever it has gone bad recently, the first guy to be speaking to the press is Lowell, anyone else I'd be upset with, but I really take issue with our 'captain' doing this.

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I don't see where he said no one can live up to Pudge.? And I don't blame him for letting his feelings out.....it's what we're all thinking, and probably what most of the players are thinking too.? I'm glad they're showing frustration during this season, and not just shrugging it off and saying "oh well, get'em next time."

450459[/snapback]

 

He made those comments about Pudge in a previous article, yet the same "poor me" tone is there. My anger comes from the fact that whenever it has gone bad recently, the first guy to be speaking to the press is Lowell, anyone else I'd be upset with, but I really take issue with our 'captain' doing this.

450483[/snapback]

 

I think that is fair. Lowell should be trying to show solidarity, but I dont think he is demonstrating that this team is in panic. There certainly is some frustration though...

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I don't see where he said no one can live up to Pudge.? And I don't blame him for letting his feelings out.....it's what we're all thinking, and probably what most of the players are thinking too.? I'm glad they're showing frustration during this season, and not just shrugging it off and saying "oh well, get'em next time."

450459[/snapback]

 

He made those comments about Pudge in a previous article, yet the same "poor me" tone is there. My anger comes from the fact that whenever it has gone bad recently, the first guy to be speaking to the press is Lowell, anyone else I'd be upset with, but I really take issue with our 'captain' doing this.

450483[/snapback]

 

I think that is fair. Lowell should be trying to show solidarity, but I dont think he is demonstrating that this team is in panic. There certainly is some frustration though...

450486[/snapback]

 

But look at the tone he's using: *sigh* Ozzie Guillen, *sniffle* Andy Fox, I'd love to have a beer with these guys, but we're just not winning. How the hell does that help solve anything?

 

Look, LeBatard is allowed to say this stuff, it's his job to stir up controversy, but it certainly isn't Lowell's job to help feed the media perception of failure. Look, if Lowell were to come out and say something to the extent of "we're playing poorly right now, there's no explaining it...we'll get better" that's fine, but he just sounds like a whiner, not a winner.

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I'm also dissapointed about Lowell's comment. Lowell is not a leader.

 

A leader doesn't show poor body language out there when the team is struggling, nor come out with comments like this. He has pretty much thrown the towell out there.

 

Lowell is a great player, and I would like him to retire as a Marlins. You just don't look for him to provide answers on this difficult moments.

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Lowell just isn't the outgoing type to step up and be a leader. I don't blame him for having that kind of personality. But someone does need to step up and be that leader. I have no idea who it could. My first guess would be one of the pitchers like Beckett or AJ but neither of htem have been around enough this year to really do it

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Guest Juanky

I'm also dissapointed about Lowell's comment. Lowell is not a leader.

 

A leader doesn't show poor body language out there when the team is struggling, nor come out with comments like this. He has pretty much thrown the towell out there.

 

Lowell is a great player, and I would like him to retire as a Marlins. You just don't look for him to provide answers on this difficult moments.

450498[/snapback]

I'm sorry, but if you look at who are the only players that are playing everyday diving for balls and looking they are actually trying out there they are Mikey and Juanpy. Alex has started to come around, however Luiy and Cabs look completely disinterested and the rest of the positions are musical chairs enough where the players that play there lose focus.

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I'm also dissapointed about Lowell's comment. Lowell is not a leader.

 

A leader doesn't show poor body language out there when the team is struggling, nor come out with comments like this. He has pretty much thrown the towell out there.

 

Lowell is a great player, and I would like him to retire as a Marlins. You just don't look for him to provide answers on this difficult moments.

450498[/snapback]

I'm sorry, but if you look at who are the only players that are playing everyday diving for balls and looking they are actually trying out there they are Mikey and Juanpy. Alex has started to come around, however Luiy and Cabs look completely disinterested and the rest of the positions are musical chairs enough where the players that play there lose focus.

450624[/snapback]

 

Pierre's the king of hustle, always has been, but as far as I'm concerned Sea Bass has to take the "I give a crap" award right now. He's been showing some fire recently, and I respect him a whole hell of a lot more right now than I have ever before.

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