Keeping a Tight-knit Clubhouse – Mark DeRosa

A couple weeks ago, when Matt Cain lost his second 2-1 game in a row, he stood up in front of reporters like he always does and took the blame. When I read his quotes the next day, I went over to him. I told him that every hitter in this clubhouse knows he ought to be pointing fingers at us. I told him that we as an offense feel horrible and we’re doing everything we can to figure out how to score more runs for the pitchers.

And I especially wanted him to know that we are acutely aware that he and the rest of the pitching staff are being extraordinarily kind in their public comments.

There’s only so many times you can pitch your heart out and not get any support from your team. Eventually it can cause a rift in the clubhouse. I’ve seen it happen on other teams. We’ve got such a tight-knit clubhouse. And you want to keep it that way because it’s a big part of winning baseball.

That’s why it’s so important that the pitchers know we understand their frustration. We watch TV. We read the papers. We know that Cain has gotten one run or less in 12 of his 26 starts. We know that we haven’t scored a single run for Timmy in 10 of his 27 starts. Our starters have ERAs hovering in the three’s, and Timmy’s at two and a half.  You’re two and a half in today’s game and you’re nasty. You should be leading the league in wins.

I remember talking to Greg Maddox when we played together in Atlanta. We’d lose a close one and he’d be absolutely fine on the plane. I asked him one day, “Why are you OK with that?’’ And he said, “Well, I did my job. I can’t control the other things. I can only control my job.’’

I think that’s a great way to look at it, but when it starts becoming the norm, it’s got to frustrate you. And all it takes is one comment to cause a riot in the clubhouse, one comment said the wrong way. So you don’t allow that to happen. You go out to dinner with the pitchers and talk about it. You go up to a guy in the clubhouse and deal with things before they become an issue.

I’ve been on a lot of teams over the years, but I’ve never been on a team that has gone so cold offensively for such an extended period of time to where it almost has become more mental than physical. You’ve got guys pressing, trying to do too much, not staying with consistent approaches. Everyone’s trying to be the hero and get hot and get us going. But it seems to just push us more and more down.

And believe me, we take it personally. There’s not a guy in here who doesn’t take it personal. We have too good a team not to make it to the postseason. We have the greatest atmosphere in baseball right now in our home park. The most loyal fans. They deserve for us to go back to postseason. They’ve supported us all year.

I’ve also never been on a team with so many injuries to key players. We don’t have Andres Torres at the top of the order who ignited everything. You take him away, then you take away your No. 2 and No. 3 hitters, Freddy and Buster, and it’s going to cripple you. It’s not that easy to replace really, really, really good players. Players are not interchangeable parts. Then Sabes goes out and makes two great trades to replace them, and those guys get hurt.

We’ve done a great job of grinding, but at the same time, no one’s going to wait around, no one’s going to feel sorry for us. We got 30-some odd games to find a way to get into the postseason. I think when we get in, everyone will take a deep breath and then we’ll be dangerous again.

In the meantime, we have to stick together as a team. You have four months to be an individual player. I know everyone says that’s not the case but everyone plays for numbers the first four months of the season. But now it’s team first at all costs.

Which is why I’m not lobbying Bochy to give me more starts.  He started me in Houston over the weekend, and I played well. Given the opportunity, I know I can help the team. That being said, I know with the struggles I’ve had with the wrist, I understand Boch opting for another guy. Two or three times over the course of my contract, I’ve asked for Bochy to give me a chance, and he’s given it. I won’t do it now. We’re in a different situation. If we were 10 games up, maybe he would give me a little more of a look. But we’re two games out and he feels he’s got to go with his big guns. All I can do is keep working hard and hoping to get into a situation where I get a big at-bat and come through and prove that I can still play and contribute.

In any case, it’s a great chance for me to be a mentor to some younger guys. And to keep showing support for our pitchers in the clubhouse until we can show more support on the field.

 

-Mark

13 Comments

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s always very cool to read from you and Belt!! My husband has been a fan his whole life and I’ve been a wife of a fan. I got really into it in July of last year so I feel like I don’t know you…reading your blog helps me to know you and what you do. Even though you dont get to get out there much, you are a great support and a positive influence on the team…and that’s so important! Keep,it up, Mark…and I’ll see you out on the field soon!!!

Congratulations Mark on your game winning run yesterday. As a long time Giants fan, I am very happy to see you come through with a clutch hit, stolen base and winning run. Keep up the good work and I hope you get your shot.

Haha YEEEESSSSS!!!!!! thats TWO big at-bats man! Man, i wonder how good we’d be if you hadn’t gotten injured, still, thanks for the game, and what should’ve been a game tying rbi double, but, hey, bad calls happen. thanks again for the clutch hits, keep em coming!

Wow! Class… When you retired, please stay with the Giants, but until then, I am praying for your wrist and you can contribute enough to come back next year. I see your desire for team work, but body language has me in doubts of others.

Congratulations on a good day today, Mark, and keep it up. All the fans are rooting for you, and this blog has been a great window into your world and the team’s world all season.

You’re the true definition of a team player and a PROFESSIONAL ball player! I’m very happy you’re a Giant!

you’re a natural leader. thanks for your insights and for mentoring the younger players and helping them to do their best.

I feel bad for Tejada and Rowand getting released today, but as a fan I think it’s the greatest thing to happen. This team needed a shake up and I really hope this help propel the team into the biggest series of the year against the D’Backs.

Keep up the great work and hit the heck out of the ball.

Great interview tonight on The Franchise tonight. And by the way you were safe on Sunday. 2nd base ump cost the Giants the game.

We still love you and aren’t jumping off the bandwagon.

Thanks so much for the insight into the Clubhouse, for your support of your teammates and for your contributions out on the field. Welcome back and great game!

It’s great to see you playing again. Most of all, it’s great to see you having fun!! Your hard work and determination are inspiring. After an injury that left your season in doubt (not to mention your career), you’ve been able to come back and have some success. We hope you feel total support from the fans because we so love you!!

Mark – your slide into first base yesterday was….WOW…all I can say is that you are a GAMER babe from Half Moon Bay :)

Great to have you back, Mark! Thanks for everything you contribute to this team. The fans love ya, win or lose. Good luck down the final stretch!

Mark, You are truly professional here, and we appreciate that. The struggles have been a grind on our household as fans, so I can only imagine what its like in the clubhouse- kudos to you for doing what you can to keep the team together as one. And for being willing to step back to get wins. No matter what the result this year, you have all played with dignity. So while the excitement may be waning, our respect and support are not.

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