Download scientific diagram | Words of Wisdom and Master & Mentor Baseball Cards from publication: Beyond the Game: The Imagery of Major League.
So, it’s officially begun. Middle Florida is a hotbed of activity, and the stories are already coming in. But in between the stories about Chipper Jones‘ weight, Freddie Freeman‘s knee and Tommy Hanson‘s head, there’s a story that hasn’t been addressed that I think deserves some conversation before the season starts. That conversation is all about Fredi Gonzalez. Obviously, the players put in the work and suffer the consequences of what happens on the field, but the manager plays a serious role out there.
If you read my last article, you know I’m an unabashed Braves fan, and it goes without saying that I’m an unabashed Bobby Cox fan. I’ll keep the discussion about him brief, since, like all Braves fans, it is time to look forward to the future of this team. But what I truly appreciated about Cox’ approach to managing was his patience. He put a lot of trust in his players to not only get the job done, but to face their mistakes head on and find their own ways out of tough situations. This served many purposes; most importantly, that players learn from their mistakes and build confidence in themselves.
For the rest of this article, you are going to have to trust me. There aren’t many articles that I could find, but as someone who watched, listened or went to 95 percent (unofficial number) of the Braves’ games last season, I feel quite confident moving forward here.
Fredi Gonzalez was, in my opinion, the obvious choice to replace Cox when the position opened up. I say that because he had handled young talent in Florida with the Marlins, but more importantly, he had shared the bench with Bobby for a few years and was a good candidate to bring that same approach to the game. I can’t say for sure that he was the best choice, but it certainly made sense. Last year, however, I wasn’t impressed with Fredi’s handling of a few things, most significantly the pitching staff.
I will admit his back was up against a rough and uncomfortable wall last season — dealing with Dan Uggla‘s hitting struggles, trying to get Jason Heyward back on track and the bevy of injuries that sidelined some of the Braves’ strongest players. That said, he still went about those tasks like someone was breathing over his shoulder. His adjustments in the batting order to try and spark the right combination were inventive, but they never had time to gel and start producing the way he wanted to because as soon as he changed it, he would change it again.
But this article is more about the pitching staff, especially considering that some of the go-to pitchers down the stretch started failing in situations that used to be right in their wheelhouses. Jonny Venters, also known to some as “Everyday Jonny,” struggled through September, after having a dominant season until then. Gonzalez expressed concerns that he had thrown Jonny too much and it had taken its toll. But his response was to start giving Venters days off, when Jonny thrived throwing at least five days a week. Being a breaking ball pitcher, his ball broke more with more work, so his having three days off in a row hurt more than helped.
In addition, when pitchers found themselves in a jam while on the mound, after the requisite visit from Roger McDowell, Gonzalez didn’t give them much of a chance to dig their way out. I remember more than one game when Tim Hudson, a contact pitcher, would find himself later in the game with a growing pitch count and two men on base, but still with a handle on the game. He would record an out, starting to dig himself out and Gonzalez would make his way to the mound, much to Hudson’s dismay. Actually, it could have even been called downright anger. Huddy’s a veteran, and as a veteran, it is important to him to prove himself every time he takes the mound.
Obviously, this is the manager’s dilemma; knowing when the time is right to change pitchers, switch a batting order and put in a pinch-hitter, among many other decisions game in and game out. As I said, this is solely my opinion. But I do think that Fredi has to begin making better decisions this season. He needs to put more trust in his players on the field and have their backs at all times. Especially this year, with veterans trying to show their worth through their age, and young players trying to prove themselves not just to their teammates and their city, but to the rest of major league baseball as well. There is a plethora of talent in Atlanta this year, and they are going to need a true figurehead to lead them to October.
“To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali.
At the turn of the 20th century, Willie "Wee Willie" Keeler was one of baseball's greats. By the time his playing days were over, Keeler had two batting titles and eight straight years of 200 or more hits. He also produced 13 straight seasons batting over .300 and a career mark of .345. He is mainly remembered for his amazing 44-game hitting streak in 1897, a record not broken until 1941 by Joe DiMaggio. As the story goes, he was once asked for the secret of what made him such a great hitter. He replied: "I keep my eyes clear and I hit 'em where they ain't."Some time after Keeler was sharing the secrets of his success on the playing field, financier Bernard Baruch shared his regarding investments. He responded: "Buy straw hats in winter, for in the spring, they will surely sell!"
As investors we can learn much about investing from these two men. Keeler and Baruch both achieved success in different professions, but both credited their success to very simple formulas. Keeler basically tried to hit the ball to places where fielders were not playing. By keeping his eyes clear, he waited for a pitch, which gave offered him the highest probability for success and then hit the ball to a place least expected.
Baruch achieved success going against the grain. He was willing to take an early position on something that had a high probability of success and then had the patience to wait. Buying things when they are out of style or not fashionable is very logical to talk about, but for many it's very difficult to put into practice. The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, is a study in how to combine the quotes of both Keeler and Baruch to achieve enormous success. Buffett always has his "eyes clear," waiting for the markets to give him an opportunity, and he often leaves many people scratching their heads, trying to figure out why he did what he did. Although in time his strategies become obvious, it often takes months or years to see the results of his actions.
About two months ago, Buffett announced that the next big thing was the energy sector. He wasn't talking about oil but electricity-big power generators. On May 25, for $9 billion, he bought PacifiCorp, a major utility that provides electricity to the northwestern part of the United States. Since then, many parts of the country have been suffering through a heat wave, with temperatures in some areas breaking the 100-degree mark. Guess what industry is now going like gangbusters, supplying the electricity for all those air conditioners? You guessed it, electric utility companies.
I'm not suggesting that Buffett is investing based on weather patterns over the short term, but the reason behind what he is investing in today usually becomes a whole lot clearer in hindsight. His latest stock purchase, Anheuser-Busch (which has fallen since he announced his purchase), has many of the characteristics of Coca-Cola, a stock he purchased back in the late 1980s. Coke was losing market share, competitors were closing in, and it was said the company had no more room for growth. The stock was considered a has-been and was trading at very cheap levels. The Anheuser-Busch story of today has all the same negatives that Coke had close to two decades ago. What Buffett saw that most investors discounted back in 1988 when he was buying Coke was the company's amazing brand value and its overseas penetration, which was just getting into high gear. From what I see today, it appears that the same Coke story now applies to a different beverage company, Anheuser-Busch.
"Hit 'em where they ain't" and "Buy straw hats in winter" are two pieces of important investment advice that should not be overlooked when investing in companies, and they are two things that nobody does better than Warren Buffett.
Mike Martin is a legend. The Florida State head baseball coach recently became the first coach in the history of his sport to record 2,000 career wins. Since Martin took over the head gig in Tallahassee in 1980, the Seminoles have never won fewer than 40 games in a season. The man who goes by "Eleven" for his long-time uniform number has won Coach of the Year in his conference 13 times.
In honor of Martin's recent historic achievement, we've compiled a collection of quotes and tidbits to give you a glimpse into the mind of the all-time winningest coach in college baseball history.
"It's the greatest game in the world. It teaches us failure. And everybody is going to fail at this game. It's the guy that shows the mental toughness, the guy that will go the second mile, those are the ones that are going to be successful." -Martin to Next Level Ball Player
"I'm not in this to so-called be loved. I'm in this to teach. And sometimes it is tough love." -Martin to D1Baseball.com
"You've got to have guys at every spot that you're not worried about losing the ballgame because somebody had not had enough reps (there)…At the same time, we want those young ones to challenge the (older guys). It's so much different from professional baseball. Where (if) a guy has a $5 million contract, they're not going to put him on the bench. Here at Florida State and other programs, you may have a guy that's returning as a .340 hitter, but yet he knows he can't go through the motions. He's got to bust it in the weight room and on the field to prove he deserves this opportunity." -Martin to Seminoles.com
"As a coach you have to be sure that the young men know how to handle the attention and success but more than that, the failure. I get a charge out of watching them get better." -Martin to Inside Pitch Magazine
"I always love it when a guy comes back and says, 'Eleven, I really appreciate the way you got on me when I wasn't doing my job in the classroom,' and then he looks me in the eye and brags about a job he's got or the way he's worked up the ladder to success. That's what still excites me. To see them come here as a boy and leave as a man, that is still truly what I love to get out of the game." -Martin to ESPN
"As players, the things that he valued and installed in us, you had never been involved in a baseball practice unless you had been involved in a Florida State baseball practice. What I mean by that is that as players, when you come into a program, the things that you do in a practice setting and the way that he would talk to you, coach you and teach you, he would talk the game and tell you that in this adverse situation, this is what we're looking to do and this is how we're going to do it and you're doing it in a practice situation. The next thing you know come springtime, you're two weeks into the season and you're in that same situation and dang sure if it isn't just how he described, just the way it was supposed to be. Two pitches later, you're out of the inning and you're thinking this is what he prepared us for." -Mike Bell, former FSU pitcher and current FSU pitching coach, to the Tallahassee Democrat on Martin.
"I'm not going to allow winning a national championship or never winning one to define me. I want to be remembered as a guy that did everything he could to make a player better and at the same time see these young men become great fathers and, in some cases, grandfathers." -Martin to Tallahassee Magazine
"I think with the youth on our club, we've just got to get out and play and start learning from mistakes that I know we're going to make." -Martin to Baseball America
"You have to be yourself. Don't try to be somebody that you aren't or something that you aren't. You have to understand that the game is about the young men. The game is not about you." -Martin to ESPN
Photo Credit: Logan Stanford/Getty Images, Cliff Welch/Getty Images
A great collection of baseball quotes from the inspirational to the funny. There is something for Bill Veeck Words of Wisdom. Baseball is almost the only orderly .
Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old inspirational baseball quotes, inspirational baseball sayings, and inspirational baseball proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.
He hits my changeup. He hits my curveball. He hits my slider. I've run out of pitches to throw him. I just try to pick the spots where he's going to hit his homeruns.
Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.
My job is to give my team a chance to win.
Good pitching will beat good hitting any time, and vice versa.
A catcher must want to catch. He must make up his mind that it isn't the terrible job it is painted, and that he isn't going to say every day, 'Why, oh why with so many other positions in baseball did I take up this one.
Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move.
The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.
When they knock you down, you not only have to get up, but you have to make it clear that you won't be knocked down a second time.
Baseball goals are attained not by strength but by perseverance.
Baseball can be slow in many ways. The action starts with when the pitcher delivers the ball. But the action really starts when the crack of the bat happens.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.
When I played ball, I didn't play for fun. It's no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. It's a contest and everything that implies, a struggle for supremacy, a survival of the fittest.
I do what I've trained my whole life to do. I watch the ball. I keep my eye on the ball. I never stop watching. I watch it as it sails past me and lands in the catcher's mitt, a perfect and glorious strike three.
The pitcher has to find out if the hitter is timid. And if the hitter is timid, he has to remind the hitter he's timid.
I told him I wanted to be a real major league baseball player. A genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be.