MLB Week in Review (May 19-25)

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This week the defending champions headed on their west coast road trip in a way that only they could.

The players were caught heading to the plane dressed up like the characters from Anchorman with astonishing detail.

This isn’t something entirely new for the Cubs as they have been doing this for the last few years and it is all connected to someone who loves to think out of the box.

Joe Maddon is truly one of the great managers that have ever been a part of the MLB and it is all because of his way of thinking.

Maddon was one of the first managers to use defensive switches on a regular basis while also focusing on new age stats to determine strategy.

Perhaps his most influential tactics come with exactly what the Cubs were doing when they headed to the west coast in full Anchorman costume.

It’s never been a secret that the MLB doesn’t like to change the way they do things and that includes managers.

Unlike many other sports, a manager in baseball will always have a big impact on the game while the game is going on.

Most sports the coaches do a lot of their work before and after games when they make adjustments and work them out in practice.

In a baseball game, the manager can change everything with a decision on bringing in a pitcher at the right, or wrong, time or making decisions on defence or at the plate.

To make those important decisions they usually rely on years of experience and history that tells them what the proper decision is to be made.

That history is rooted in how managers have done things in the past and what usually works out.

It isn’t necessarily based on facts or statistics but rather just what had been done in the past and for the most part, it is based on a manager’s experience in his years of playing and managing.

It isn’t the worst way to manage a team and their strategy but strategy isn’t everything and using old experiences to do that extra part of the job that is often overlooked but so important.

Motivating a team and getting to play together on the field is the toughest part of the job and the old strategies of motivation simply don’t work.

The old way of doing things has never worked when it comes to motivation because every new generation of players has a different experience.

The best managers are the ones that can figure out how to motivate a team full of players from different generations to play together.

That is where there is some sort of debate as a lot of managers and analysts believe that the tough approach is the best approach.baseball-sidebar

In essence, it is better to be feared than loved because when a manager is feared they can easily motivate their players to do what they need to do.

It also is a strategy that forces players to fall in line and leaves little room for a player to do his own thing leading to a unified team.

The problem with that strategy is that it leaves no room for a player to be himself and in this new generation of players that is not something that they particularly enjoy.

While the old strategy may have worked in the past it doesn’t anymore and that is where Maddon and his strategy in the locker room pays off.

He was one of the first managers to simply let players be who they were without fear of any punishment.

Maddon has appealed to the new generation of players and the constant themed road trips are just part of the strategy.

It is one of the many things that Maddon has developed and begun developing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

He helped the Rays to grow into a real contender and then moved on to Chicago where he had an immediate impact bringing the Cubs back to the postseason.

Last year that strategy led to the World Series and so it continues this year as Maddon’s tactics both on and off of the field have produced winners.

This week’s road trip is just another example of those winning strategies has his players are having fun while playing a game.

It is also a sign for other teams that they might want to adjust their way of thinking and be more like the easy-going Maddon if they want to have success.

 

Extra Innings

Heading South of the Border

When Rob Manfred took over as the Commissioner he was taking over a league that was in a great place. He still had a mandate as he was looking to speed up the game and expand the influence of the league. A part of that is eventual expansion and with rumours about where to expand the league will be heading south of the border as they are set to schedule regular season games in Mexico next year.

Nets Needed?

This week the Yankees saw a scary moment when a bat broke and a piece flew into the stands hitting a young fan. The fan was hit in the head and was taken to the hospital for treatment while the injury led to more debate. That debate centred around the use of netting around the ballpark rather than just behind the home plate. It has been done elsewhere and incidents like this bring up the debate about putting the netting up.

David Price is Back

 The Boston Red Sox put out a lot of money to sign David Price two years ago as he was one of the top free agents in the league. He helped out well enough last year but so far he has not pitched this year after an elbow injury kept him sidelined. He started a rehab assignment but didn’t do too well leading to doubts about his ability. He will make his debut next week for the season and will begin the path to either a massive waste of money or the Cy Young level pitcher the Red Sox signed.

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