Theories on Chemistry – Mark DeRosa

I was thinking the other day about last season and how each guy’s success fed the next guy’s. The inverse happens, too. No doubt about it.

Just like good hitting is contagious, so is bad hitting. I don’t know why it’s like that. Maybe if your big guys aren’t hitting, the guys below them have a tendency to think, “Well, if they’re not doing it, I’m not expected to do it.’’ Or maybe it’s the reverse: When the big guys aren’t hitting, the guys below them start pressing and try too hard.

Right now everyone’s scrapping. And you can spin out theories and explanations all day. Here’s another one I’m thinking about. If you’re a hitter, all you hear on radio and TV, and all you read in the papers, is how you’re letting down the pitchers, how awful you are with runners in scoring position. Our pitchers are so good that all they need are two or three runs, and the hitters keep failing to deliver. So you are constantly beaten over the head with this, and you start focusing on getting runs for the pitchers, for the guy in the stands reading stories about how bad you are with RISP. You’re thinking about getting a hit simply to restore a measure of respect for the beleaguered lineup. As a result, you stop just going out there and being a pro and getting good at-bats to win a ball game. You stop focusing on the narrow, straight-forward task of getting a hit off this particular pitcher at this particular moment.

It’s really pretty amazing that, given that our lineup is a shell of the one we broke camp with, that we’re hanging onto first place, or staying within striking distance. Buster goes down. Freddy goes down. You’re losing big pieces of the puzzle. You’re not just losing great hitters; you’re losing great teammates — guys who care about winning, who are not afraid to speak their mind.

And you’re asking other guys to take their places. It’s not easy to do. Guys are used to having certain roles with this team and– boom — everything changes. Whitey’s never been asked to catch every day. Nate’s not accustomed to playing every day. Brandon Crawford. Manny Burriss. A lot of guys are being asked to play not above their abilities but above what they were prepared for.

If we can find a way to grind through this, we’re going to be better team and a closer team. We have to figure out how to keep ourselves above water until we can get some guys back. As we found out last year, it’s doesn’t matter how you get into the playoffs. It doesn’t have to be pretty. We made it last year on the final day of the season. All that matters is getting in.

As for me, I’m graduating from the fungo bat and batting tee to real bats and real pitches. I’m trying different models of bats to figure out what might work best with my wrist. If I have learned anything during my long road of rehab, it’s patience. Not that I have a choice. It’s either learn patience or go home. And I’m not ready yet to go home. I wish someone could assure me there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re pretty  much in uncharted waters. No one has an answer. And the only other guy in the majors with the same injury, Jay Gibbons, is no longer in the majors. He was designated for assignment by the Dodgers two weeks ago.

 

Thanks for reading.

- Mark

Next time: taking fielding practice with Brandon Crawford.

 

 

 

16 Comments

Great read, Mark. I hope you can get some of your teammates to read it! Keep the faith….

Mark,
Hang in there. Maybe the big picture is what your experiences can impart to others, and I am sure that you have been a tremendous support to your teammates and touched their lives in ways you’ll never know.
As a Giant’s fan, I can tell you I have always rooted for you and felt your disappoint as if it were my own–same with Buster and Freddy. Nobody thinks you let us down, not in the least.

Thanks for the writing!

Yeah, I totally think that the hitters are pressing to make up for the fact that good hitters are out of the lineup (or to justify a big contract). Not that I know for sure, just that is what it seemed like. But I think Huff and Sandoval is starting to get out of their funk, and once they get going, along with Cody Ross who has already been going, and maybe Torres, who also could be starting to get going, I think that will help the others ease up mentally and, as you note, have professional at-bats instead of trying to do more.

I think that is what happened last year, first Burrell gave the team a boost with his instant offense, then when Posey started his hot hitting in July, that really loosened up everyone and the team started scoring even more.

Personally, I haven’t been too worried, the pitching is so great that it don’t take much offense to win with them, and once the team takes the lead, the bullpen has been lights out in saving the win, and even when we are close, the bullpen shuts the other team down and gives the Giants a chance to win, as evidenced by all our relievers having good W/L records, while our starters are around .500 or worse.

Tell the guys that there are believers out here who understand that they are doing their best, just ease up on yourselves and stop beating up on yourselves and enjoy: you are playing ball and even the complainers secretly wish that they were the ones at-bat, playing.

Thanks for this, Mark — really valuable insights,well expressed, esp. as a contrast to the echo chamber of guys gripping on Twitter.

All good luck in your path back to playing!

Very interesting and intelligence. Thank you.

Keep fighting! We’re all rooting for you and the guys. If the today is anything to go by, the bats are coming and you’re staying strong! Good luck on the rehab and we’re all glad you are there to keep everyone thinking positive. Viva Gigantes!!

Wow thanks mark. Amazing to give fans such insight into the team. Giants are lucky to have a veteran like you that is positive, articulate and a leader. You obviously have a lot to contribute in the locker room even if you can’t be on the field right now. We look forward to seeing you out there soon.

Really good blog. All makes sense, a bit of a downer with comparison to Gibbons. Hope you get back soon, patience is the word. I saw a kid playing in College World Series tonight with a broken wrist, all bandaged up. Am wondering what his future will be. Best of luck to you.

Mark, Thank you for your insightful comments. Obviously, all we fans hear is commentary from the outside. Having your thoughts reveals much about the team and how it all fits togther. I am hoping the camraderie and “chemistry” to which you refer will keep the train moving and bring success on the field. As far as your rehab is concerned, I hope you’re able to get your strength back and stay with the club and contribute on the field. We fans can see how your presence in the dugout inspires your teammates but your frustration is understandable. I hope you continue to write. It’s a pleasure to read each entry.

I think that you nailed it Mark – This group knows how to scrap… pinch and claw and fight to make the most of every opportunity. I got to tell you, that is why I LOVE this team. You guys go to work everyday; put in the sweat and make it happen. I think that there are many lessons in sports, but one of the most powerful is that the team can be more than the sum of its parts. You guys show it again, again and again.

Best of luck with you wrist. Can’t wait to see you back out on the diamond again!

Great read, Mark. Good luck in your recovery!

Thanks for another insightful contribution. Good luck with rehab. All the best to you and the team for hanging in there against all odds. Can’t wait to see you on the field again having fun!

there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. it’s a little hard to see it clearly but it is there. just stay focused on the narrow, straightforward task of rehab, like you wrote above; one day at a time

Mark, Thanks for sharing your progress and the struggles. Sounds like you’re keeping at it with a good attitude, and still have great faith in your teammates. I’m not as worried as it seems some others are about the lack of offence. We’ve seen these past couple of weeks what happens when the team collectively puts their minds in to it; regardless of the missing key (and very dear) components.

Hmmm…do I sense future manager in this guy?

Hey Mark! Glad that you got on a World Series winner after leaving Cleveland and the Cardinals. Too bad it didn’t work out like we all hope it would of, but… Hopefully your injuries will go away and be a distant memory going forward.

-Aaron

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