In an article written over a month ago, it was predicted that Hunter Strickland would lead the team in saves this year. But the article also stated that Casilla would “not have any problem with the transition…..because he has always carried himself as a team-first guy.” That prediction turned out to be incorrect.
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In the baseball classes that I teach, I focus on the SCORE model. Respect for Self, Coaches, Opponents, Rules, and Equipment. Without question, those core components are what is required to be a great player and quality teammate.
I recognize that these are men out there, and youth sports doesn’t compare to the pressures of being in front of thousands of fans on a daily basis, and having your paycheck ride on your abilities in an extremely difficult sport. I get it.
But it still is a game, and one that everyone should feel privileged to play. With that hefty paycheck comes some responsibility to the next generation to pass down those things you should and shouldn’t do.
This edition of the San Francisco Giants pride themselves on the principles that the game was created by. They don’t show up their opponents, they don’t get into altercations with each other in the dugout, and they always follow Boch.
Bruce Bochy has been this team’s Steve Kerr from day one. With his ability to both work with what he has, as well as offer suggestions to tweak the roster, Bochy is in a class by himself. He never calls out his players, and keeps one of the cleanest clubhouses around. (How many Giants have been caught doing something they shouldn’t?)
Along with Brian Sabean and now Bobby Evans, Larry Baer has put together a cast that respects the game, as well as their fans, and the feelings are mutual.
That is what makes this Casilla thing so disappointing.
You can say all you want that he is a competitor. That’s all fine and dandy if Casilla had just gone into the visitors clubhouse after his on-field antics and maybe broken a few lights along the way.
But he decided to stay in the dugout, angrily congratulate his team, and then had this to say:
Marcellus Wallace said something about pride in Pulp Fiction, and I believe it is the right way to go here.
Casilla wants an explanation as to why he was pulled? Well it’s obvious that the bases full of Diamondbacks may have something to do with it.
Look it’s understandable that he walked Paul Goldshmidt, he is the one man you don’t want winning the game. But once Casilla missed with the first pitch to him, I knew Javier Lopez was going to face Jake Lamb, it was the right move.
So where is the key issue here?
It’s in the fact that Casilla cannot rise above the petty “disrespect” that he felt by a manager who is known league-wide as a great communicator, and live with the fact that his stuff may be getting a little too predictable.
It’s not that bad of a thing to gracefully step back out of the spotlight of the ninth inning. Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo have shown that you can be just as valuable in the seventh or eighth. His pride tells him he needs to stay in the closer role, as opposed to focusing on being effective whenever he gets a chance.
The problem with a player when he feels slighted and reacts this way is you really get a deeper understanding of what someone plays for. It tells me that the player is putting his own goals in front of his teams’. When in reality they should align. We win, you win.
The most important thing now is for Casilla to understand the purpose of a 162 game season. It’s to weed out all of the bad teams and prepare the good ones for the postseason. Allowing your emotions to overtake you in a way where you do something like that is bad. But then not having enough sense to zip it after the game showed very poor judgment.