With due respect to all of those who are trying so hard to find a way to help, I applaud your efforts.
I have been around here and other places for a long time, and I've seen all the changes that have occurred in this game. God only knows that because of my stubborness, I have had to learn things the hard way, but I'm thankful to Him for allowing me to play so long in this game that there is little that I haven't experienced to this point.
I've never been the brightest bulb in the package, but my eyesight is still 20-10. You dont have to be a genius to figure it out; you only need to open your eyes and listen.
I have been fortunate to have played for some very good organizations--Minn, NY, Balt, L.A. are all teams that won titles while I was there. Six divisional titles and three World Series.
I will get to my point in a moment, but I must say first that at no time with any of these clubs did anyone ever go out of their way to pat me on the back for doing the job I was already getting paid very well to do.
It was my obligation to give back what it took to win. Nobody made excuses for me, because they didn't have to.
Scouts told my mother in the beginning not to change the furniture around in my room, that I would probably be back in a few months. I was too small to be a catcher etc. If I had listened to everything people said about me, I certainly would have been back home.
Now here's the point: It is extremely tough to be on a winner. There is a lot of sacrifice involved--work ethic, conditioning, extra effort when you're tired and not doing well, and those are just some of the areas. Watching, studying, accepting some days that you're not the guy, whatever.
I am tired of hearing we don't have much to work with. What is the difference between Cabrera or Palmer, Waters or McGregor, Olson or Flannagan, Guthrie or Boddicker. Nothing, nothing. We have great talent here.
Tell me we dont have players to win with and I'll find a comparison to prove you wrong. I hear things like 'they're out of gas'. 'They dont trust their stuff'. 'He's underachieving', 'out of whack', 'in a role that doesn't suit him'.
For heavens sake, nobody said that in February when they were trying to make the club. They were all saying "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it". Remember? Sure, there is a lack of experience, but by now you should be seeing some significant changes.
Referring to the players themselves, they have had every kind of coach imaginable. They all can't be wrong. Everyone around the organization has "bent over backwards" to get things done. Coaches can only do so much, the rest is up to the player to take from it what helps and discard the rest.
This is the time of year when it all has to pay off. Thats why I always say that in the spring you get yourself ready for the end of the season, not the beginning.
Look at the great teams of the past. We didn't always get off to great starts but we knew that if we were within 5 or 6 games of first place at the All-Star break, the rest was ours. Our conditioning made it all possible.
As the season went on, we got stronger and the rest got weaker and weaker. Strong conditioning early has a huge effect on you mentally late in the season, and there is your key, mental toughness. The fight, the grind, the heart, it has to be in your belly all the time. That desire and pride to be the best regardless of who you play. The willingness to be on the field, working to get better when no one is watching.
I learned a long time ago, the only way to make people believe in you was first to convince yourself. You can't fool yourself.
I see the talent here, and I see the potential. The problem is, every team we play has that too, and they dont quit. So where is the real difference--are they quicker, are they stronger, are they surer of hand? No. They're just the ones who say, "I CAN."