By: Holly Horning
Given the past two weeks of in depth articles and analyses, sometimes you just need to balance it all with some short stories and lighter fare. And I’ve tried to hit the all emotional buttons – funny, disturbing, perplexing and inspirational. Consider this collection a potpourri of post-season pondering.
You may remember I was keeping track of every time the Tigers loaded the bases this year and failed to score. The final number? 36. That breaks down to 6 times every month – or 1.5 times every week. Or once every 4.5 games. And a reason why the Tigers were at or near the top in most offensive categories but 10th in runs scored.
Number of Tigers who have been quoted saying it this year? 15. More than half the team. I know it’s an old baseball saying, but old doesn’t mean “OK.” When this sentence is uttered, it is to excuse a bad play, performance or a loss. It does not hold players accountable. It does not inspire players to take charge and correct their mistakes. And it’s a phrase that some top managers from clubs who see regular post-season play forbid their players to utter – or they get fined.
Mascots Do More than You Think
I am not making this up. Company directories list personnel by department and their level of importance. So when I see that Paws has been listed above Matt Martin, the defensive coordinator for the team, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’ll be interesting to see where the new Analytics Department employees are placed.
It’s All in the Cards
If you’re a long-time Tiger fan, then you know their history with the St. Louis Cardinals. But let’s face it – no matter how much we growl when we hear their name, we can’t help but admire how they run that club year after year after year….
It’s because they have a clearly-defined vision, outlined their philosophy and communicated it to everyone in the organization. A spate of articles, books and interviews recently have delved into why the Cards are as successful as they are.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
They have a written mission statement that includes the phrase “obsessed with winning.” Everyone, not just the players, are required to sign off on it.
All rookies have 2 veterans who oversee their first year and help guide them.
Players coming into the organization are analyzed for their leadership skills.
Like most teams, practices are optional with the newest players who show up. But every single Cardinals’ player, no matter how experienced, attends every workout.
All pitchers attend each other’s bullpen sessions.
The team refuses to use the injury card as an excuse even when they lose a top player or more. Despite missing their top starting pitcher this year, the Cards still achieved baseball’s best record with 100 wins.
Am I the only one thinking that the best gift everyone in the Tigers’ organization could receive this Christmas is at least one of the books outlining how the Cards achieve consistent success?