Friday, August 26, 2011

Can One Player Carry A Baseball Team?

By Jim Bain

Anybody who seriously follows baseball, at one time or another, has heard the sports announcers remark something like, "If he gets hot, he can carry the team" or "When he's in the zone he can carry the load for the bullpen" or something similar. Is it possible for one player to carry a team?

In my opinion, yes and no, which probably has you shaking your head and thinking "Surprise, another yes and no answer." Well, for starters, are the sports announcers correct in what they're saying, one man can carry the entire team, and if they are, why are they correct?

Or are they just searching for something to say in order to fill the gap between commercial announcements, which is very difficult to believe, and are just blowing smoke knowing nobody will bother to challenge their statement? Let's look at some possibilities of the scenario and you venture your opinion as to whether the experts are in fact, experts.

As a reality check we must establish a few guidelines which to follow to establish a bit of creditability to this investigation.

1. One player can not hit for the other 8 players.
2. One player can not field for the other 8 players.
3. One player can not throw for the other 8 players.
4. One player can not catch for the other 8 players.

I must say, although we're only scratching the surface of the subject, thus far the sports announcers appear slanted a little towards the stupid side and this entire article seems to be a waste of time, and would be if it were not for one intangible.

One player can greatly affect the Emotional Health of a baseball team. There are many intangibles in baseball, as well as other sports, which exert a direct force, positive or negative on a team. Momentum, the Big MO, as they call it, is an example of such an intangible.

For instance, a team who is experiencing a dry spell of having runners scampering all over the base paths every inning, but fail to ever get the hit to drive them in can be quickly deflated, and for all practical purposes be defeated in the top of the first, by having a bases loaded situation and not be able to score 1 run.

On the other hand, should a player become hot, be in the zone, seeing the ball well, whatever or however you want to say it, drives a bases clearing double into the outfield gap, this changes the Entire Team.

A pitcher, veteran or rookie, who takes the mound and consistently pitches into the late innings, with many complete games and a low ERA, will change the attitude and confidence of the Entire Team when it's his day to pitch.

So can one player carry a team? Absolutely, by instilling confidence and energy into the team which would not be there if his efforts weren't present.

Can one player carry a team? Absolutely not, as it takes team work to win a baseball game at any level of competition.

Perhaps my "yes" and "no" answer makes a little bit more sense now.

Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on running baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:

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