Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Nightly Note

I haven't done one of these in a few days. That's partly due to a lack of anything substantive to write about. Partly because I've just felt... off. You'll probably notice that beyond not having a Nightly Note these past few days, I just haven't written that much at all. In most jobs when you're not getting your work done, we call it laziness, or ineffectiveness. I think I feel that way. I want to label myself as being lazy, but I don't really think that's the case. I just, "haven't had it."

I know that right now I have a lot of balls in the air and like anyone trying to balance a multitude of work needs with a home life, it's not easy. Believe it or not, a simple little site like this one takes an incredible amount of work. For each of the Prospect Profiles I provide I'm studying tons of film, consulting with players and scout, and taking incessant notes. Sometimes I have more information at hand to work with, sometimes I have less and need to do more digging.

And some days I just don't have that "it." That desire to really dig hard, to really bust my hump and put out tons of high quality content. I always want to of course, I love it. But sometimes you just don't have your "A game."

As it relates to baseball I think we've certainly heard people call it far worse. We've probably called it worse ourselves. It's easy for us to become detached from the human beings on the field and when a players performance doesn't meet our hopes, desires or expectations it could never be that a someone just didn't have it that day. For some we reason desperately need for that sub-par performance to be part of something bigger, some terrible character flaw.

In terms of the AL Central we can look at players from our own favorite teams and pretty easily come up with at least a couple players who we ourselves like to label. We then use those labels to try and explain away their failure. We call them soft, scared, or unclutch. These labels easily help us explain away a far more benign truth, one that for some reason is so much more difficult to accept; That they may have just had an off day, or an off week. Or maybe, just maybe, the other team did their job really well.

It happens to each and every one of us for one reason or another. Thankfully when we have our off days/weeks, we don't have the national press, local press, and a brigade of bloggers trying to come up with some elaborate story to explain something so incredibly simple. Life is so difficult already. Between the needs of our family, work, social, and personal lives, we have so little time and so much stress. Now imagine having thousands of people desperately trying to place a label on you that, in all likelihood, couldn't be further from the truth.

Still, for the most part this is something athletes deal with remarkably well. They get help along the way of course; teams will hold meetings for younger players to help familiarize them with dealing with the media and fans. How to deal with all the pressure. Baseball is a big-money business and the players are well compensated for their work, but they're still human beings. All the meetings and all the clases that teams put on may help them understand how to deal with it, how to compartmentalize their home lives from their work life, but it doesn't erase the pressure to perform.

For that they deserve some credit, and in the instances when they fail to live up to our expectations, they probably deserve some slack. We all fail. We all have off days. Thankfully we don't all have to worry about being skewered by people we don't know on TV, radio, newspapers, and web pages when we do.

Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery. 

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