Thursday, September 25, 2014

Winning Is Mental - Develop-Mental!

Long have I chafed at casual fans who feel losses by minor league teams are acceptable. "Its about development, not winning games" is a crock. I have pointed out that if that adage were true we would never see an intentional walk or bring the infield in with the bases loaded at the minor league level.

Losing games at the any level does little to further the advancement of a team, an organization or its players. It doesn't make sense to develop players by teaching them to accept losing.

Frank Ward, tired of losing
But don't take it from me alone, hear what Nashville Sounds owner Frank Ward says about the value of winning. In a recent conversation with the Milwaukee Sentinel the Sounds owner cites losing as the main reason the Sounds abandoned the Brewers affiliation.
"The biggest thing was winning," and "...winning is very key to us and the A's bring that to us..."

And then there is major league GM Billy Beane, who says of minor league victories "We consider winning at this level (Triple-A) as a major part of the relationship, a major part of development,"
Billy Beane as most know him

Beane also says "We recognize the importance that the team means to the community and part of that is making sure that it's a good team. I reiterate that commitment we have to the fans, the city, to Frank, to everybody else involved with the Sounds."

Of course, the fans have their thoughts too. Some comments on the above article have the same flavor we have heard at Biscuits games the past seven seasons.

bagman: With probably the oldest minor league roster year of the year the Nashville fans were tired of watching career minor leaguers and other teams first round busts. Not to mention the poor fundamentals throughout the organization.

papa geezer: Maybe alot of fans will sever ties with the Brewers after this total collapse. Not too many Nashville players make it big in the MLB, which says alot and why Nashville is going with another team.

So who says that winning is important to minor league teams? I do, Triple-A owners agree, Major league GM's agree and obviously fans agree as well.

For the record, the last time the Nashville Sounds were in the playoffs was 2007.

In order to improve an organization it takes learning to win, not just learning to play. It takes building a complete foundation, not just a couple of good bricks. 

Hopefully the Rays organization wakes up and works on building a full team, not just parts. Since the Biscuits last won the Southern league the team has been a farm for single players, almost always pitchers. Position players have been surprises when they prove themselves, pitchers have been rushed through and often end up hurt or overmatched at higher levels.

The Tampa Bay Rays have taken a step backwards in the focus on creating a winning organization and the team needs to address how it has been teaching players to lose.

Montgomery, AL
"Colored League Champs to Play - Championship of Country Will be Decided in Series Beginning Today.

Championship honors will be at stake at South Side Park this afternoon when the Chicago American Giants clash with the Montgomery Grey Sox club. The Chicago team won the pennant in the colored national league, while the Grey Sox team won the bunting in the Southern league. The visiting team has played sensational ball all season, and according to reports have a strong aggregation.
1920 Chicago American Giants
Sam Streeter
The Grey Sox team had a light workout Friday in preparation for the game, and Manager Cunningham announced that he was confident his club would make a credible showing in two games with the Chicago outfit.

Sam Streeter or (Charlie) Mason will probably pitch for the local Club, with Williams catching. Secretary Stables of the Grey Sox announced Friday night that the Chicago team which played here a few weeks ago, is not the club scheduled for play here Saturday and Sunday.

Extra seats have been placed in the white grand stand and a tremendous crowd is expected to witness the game today and Sunday. Play will begin at 3:30 o'clock with Cotton acting as umpire."

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