Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time – Lou Brock
I think of Joe DiMaggio every time I see this quote. I also think of Mike Scoscia. But, I think Brock makes a lot of sense. Unless you’re willing to go all out, you’re not taking enough chances.
Joe DiMaggio was well known for keeping up appearances. He was always dressed to the hilt. It’s been said that he never needed to dive for a ball. I always think that that style was exactly what Brock had in mind. If you can’t do a belly flop every once in a while after a ball, you’re letting a lot more balls get by you than you should. Even with the best positioning, there will be plays you need to take that extra step to make. Sometimes you’ll make them, and sometimes they’ll get by you. But, you have to make the effort. Manny Ramirez, on the other hand, certainly wasn’t afraid to look bad. If he needed to fall to a knee, or on his butt, to make an attempt he did that. He certainly has looked bad plenty of times. I wonder about that play in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series. You know the one. Manny went to his knees to try to make a play on a ball, dug a trench in the outfield and looked like a buffoon. Something tells me Joe D would have pulled up and played that ball on a hop. I think I’d prefer the train wreck.
Mike Scoscia also strikes me as someone who isn’t afraid to look bad. He certainly didn’t mind looking like a fool calling for a squeeze play in the ninth inning of an elimination game. In that case, it didn’t work so well for him. But, in plenty of other cases, the risk has been worth it. If you’re not willing to take some risks, you’re going to lose. What did Wayne Gretzky say? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take? You can’t care how it will look. You have to care if it will work. There are no style points in Major League Baseball.
Thank goodness for that.