Saturday, February 6, 2010
Can I Quote You on That?
In the end, it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don’t know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win-if they’re nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth, and nice guys with no talent finish last. – Sandy Koufax
So, I guess Sandy Koufax doesn’t care about Derek Jeter’s calm eyes then, eh?
Of course it all comes down to talent. It doesn’t come down to heart, no matter what Trot Nixon or Dustin Pedroia fans like to tell you. It doesn’t come down to effort or being a “dirt dog.” It comes down to being able to play the game, or not. If you can’t hit a curve ball, that’s the end of it. You can try to hit a curveball. You can really want to hit a curveball. You can get all your teammates excited about hitting a curveball. But, if you can’t hit a curveball, you’re going to make outs.
That’s also why “clubhouse cancers” keep getting jobs. They have talent.
I think it was Bill James who once pointed out that most of the people promoting qualities like “clutch hitting” or other intangibles are announcers…who are often ex-players. He pointed out that it would be in a players best interest to convince people that not only were they simply lucky to be born with superior athletic ability, but they are better mentally too. They would love to imply that they’re not just blessed with amazing size or talent. They’re also better people. But, it never really made much sense. Is it really just the effort that makes a great player? Is it just the ability to stay calm? Is it the ability to play nicely with others? Wasn’t Babe Ruth kind of a butthead?
So, I’m content knowing that I’m not a Major League baseball player because I’m not talented enough to be a major league baseball player. It’s not that I didn’t try hard enough. It’s not that I didn’t want it enough. It’s not that I wasn’t nice enough to my teammates. I didn’t have the talent. I have talents in other areas, just not in playing baseball.
Sandy Koufax sure did though.
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