I wish somebody else had this story, because I’m not seeing it anywhere else just yet, and I’m loath to link to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, yet apparently I have no choice, as he’s got choice quotes from Omar Vizquel, who goes all Zaun Cherry and gives us more to ponder about the stewardship of John Farrell and his coaching staff, and whether or not their attitude with players is too lax.
“No doubt this is a good young ball club,” Vizquel said. “Obviously, they need some veteran leadership in here. I tried to do my best, a little helping here and there. But I think the coaching staff have a big responsibility to kind of get in there and tie things up a little, have a bit more communication with their players and try to make this thing happen the right way.
“Sometimes you have to punish players because they’re making the same mistakes over and over again,” he adds.
“Look, I think a lot of mistakes were let go because its young guys. You expect mistakes from young guys,” he continues. “It needs to be talked about. It shouldn’t just be let go and say, ‘Ah, we have another day.’ You have to get on it. You have to say, ‘I didn’t like that play’ and let’s try and do something different. You have to talk it over and over again and how do you call it, be on top of that.”
Now, there are a couple ways to look at this. That we’ve seen a lack of fundamentals in far too many instances than we can reasonably be comfortable with this this season is undeniable, and in that light Vizquel’s comments seem damning.
However, as I’ve said several times, I simply cannot believe that some of our perceptions of just how often and how bad this has been aren’t coloured by what a wretched season we’re just finally coming to the end of. It’s something that I’ve harped on a lot over the years– it’s only human, I think, to recollect negative, punch-in-the-face moments far more easily than benign ones, or even good ones, and a lot of times we don’t properly compensate for this effect. Rajai Davis, for example, has stolen bases at a much better clip– 77.5%– than seems believable based on observation as a passionate fan, I think.
What’s more, I can’t help but also wonder if Omar– who has openly stated his desire about managing in the big leagues as soon as next year– might not be constructing a bit of his own hagiography, casting himself as only able to help in this regard a small amount, when what we were sold is that it was very much his job to be the clubhouse veteran and to keep his fellow teammates playing the game the right way.
That’s not in any way to dismiss the possibility, or ask anybody to overlook the fact there could be serious problems with the way that Alex Anthopoulos, John Farrell and his staff communicate to players– though “problems” may not even be the right word, as it may be entirely intentional for Farrell to not run the clubhouse like a drill sergeant when it has become so obvious that they’re just playing out the string– but to try to resist the urge to take the words at face value without giving it any thought.
That, I think, ought to be especially important when they’re the words of a player who is now so close to being on his way out the door– I mean, was he talking about this all season, or just conveniently right now?– and who has reason to paint himself in a particular light. A player who, as Simmons writes, “didn’t quite know where he fit in on the team. He didn’t know when he was going to play, in what situation, against what kind of pitching, or what position he was going to play. He found some of that difficult and confusing, again bringing into question the internal communications on the team.”
Or… y’know, maybe just the usefulness of carrying 45-year-old Omar Vizquel.
I don’t know. But as an as an aside… I know they’re Sun commenters, so I shouldn’t expect too much of them, but it will never cease to amaze me how people can just eat whatever shit they’re shoveled sometimes. The few comments I saw below the piece seemed to believe that Omar’s beyond reproach classiness was entirely self-evident, despite the fact that I have no idea how any fan could possibly have enough information to make such a judgment on his or her own. I just can’t help but wonder whether they’d be so quick to praise and to eat up these words had it been someone held in a lesser esteem.