Well, everyone wants to know what I think the O’s can do to get out of this early season slump.
I think we have to sit down first and look back at the way we are losing these games.
It’s not enough to just have talent and think that sooner or later it will all fall into place - not going to happen. On top of having talent, you have to think the game at the same time.
At times, I see us doing things that are just out of control. Baserunning has been a problem, and it shouldn’t be. You don’t need to have great speed to be a good baserunner. After getting a hit, you become a baserunner, and the first thing to do is hustle - the simplest thing in the game to do. Anticipate a chance to turn a hit into a double, always - a bobble, an error, an overthrow, they can always happen - just be ready all the time.
When given a sign to run, always look back quickly to see where the ball goes - simple, but not always heeded. Know the outs and the game situation. For some reason that has become a problem with some people.
On defense in the outfield, anticipate what you’ll do if the ball comes to your right or left. Anticipate what you will do if it goes to the other guy. Back up every play, even the infield. For some reason this has become a problem for some people.
On defense in the infield, know where you are playing every hitter. Know where the other guys are playing every hitter. Communicate often.
Throwing off the wrong foot is risky and takes more time - It’s fancy, but not necessary.
Catchers, never let the ball go between your legs. Give a good target.
A lot more than the other guys, watch for telltale signs with the pitchers, with hitters. Keep your own players alert.
Pitchers, have a plan and be able to execute it.
I could talk forever on this stuff, and I could attach names to all our sins, but above and beyond it all, you have to believe you can win no matter who you are playing. Your energy level has to be greater than those you compete against. Your work ethic, discipline, pride, plan, and heart have to be stronger.
When things go as bad as they have gone so far, evaluate and do the things you need to do to be better. Take more infield practice. Take more outfield practice. Get better jumps. Take more batting practice. Warm up more pitchers. Block more balls. Communicate more often. If you’re tired, run harder and longer. If you feel like you’re not playing up to your capabilities, ask someone who has been there ahead of you for help. Get a second opinion from someone who has been more successful than you. Don’t be afraid to be criticized - in the long run, it will make you better and stronger. There are people who care - Find them.