Good morning from the home of Motown. And though I didn’t grow up during its golden age, my father made sure that I was aware of the great music from that era.
Here’s one of my favorite songs by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.
It’s gray and overcast out the window and during the entire three days we are here there’s a chance of thunderstorms.
In today’s paper, I wrote a column that tried to have a little fun with the whole Rob Johnson/Kenji Johjima catcher debate by using the wisdom of the man above.
Yep that’s Crash Davis from the movie Bull Durham, and though that movie is 21 years old, many of its baseball lessons – particularly from Crash – hold their weight these days.
Just look at a few situations for the Mariners this year.
Example 1: the highly analytical Garrett Olson and his over thinking on the mound.
Crash says: "Don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club."
Example 2: Brandon Morrow and his reliance on his fastball.
Crash says: “What you need is a curveball! In the show, everyone can hit heat.”
Example 3: Felix’s old attitude of wanting to strike everybody out.
Crash says: Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.
Example 4: Erik Bedard’s reluctance to say anything interesting in postgame media sessions, when he does talk at all.
Crash says: You’re gonna have to learn your clichés. You’re gonna have to study them, you’re gonna have to know them. They’re your friends. Write this down: “We gotta play it one day at a time.”
And with the Mariners playing so well … he would say that if Hernandez, Bedard, Jarrod Washburn and Wakamatsu all believe their success stems from having Johnson catch them, then it is. You don’t tempt fate, or “mess” with success.
“If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting …., or because you’re not getting …, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you are! And you should know that!
I’m not comparing Johnson to women’s underwear, but there is something that the “Big 3″ believe in and comfortable with, and I applaud Wakamatsu for recognizing that.
“I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak. You know why? Because they don’t happen very often.”
Starting pitching has won far more games for this team than the minuscule difference in offense betweehn Joh and Johnson.
The recent run of great starting pitching probably can’t stay at this pace for the rest of the season, but making changes that could end the run prematurely isn’t prudent.
Judging by the comments and emails, I’ve received, it’s not so much of a debate that one catcher is better than another. I think we all realize that both are relatively flawed. Neither has been what fans expect ideally from a catcher.
But remember it could always be worse, you could be deciding between Ben Davis and Miguel Olivo.