Today was a tough one for us. Baseball is going to hand you some heartbreak along the way, and you have to learn how to deal with it. We lost today's game 22-12, and everyone feels the sting of a game like that. It doesn't matter if you didn't get in, if you were on the mound when the runs were being scored, or if you went 3-4 with a dinger. When, as a team, you collectively suffer a tough loss, it can have strong repercussions. In an ideal world, a team will come together after the loss - but there are things that need to happen if this is to be the outcome. In a bad beat, or any loss for that matter, there will be always people that had a particularly bad day, or that blame themselves for the loss or feel like they had a worse day than should have or could have.
I think when you see athletes angry after a bad performance, it's not only because they hate losing, but because they wish they could do it again I feel like all an athlete wants after a bad performance is to suit up and do it again. The competitive drive is so great, they just want to get out again and keep trying, trying to make it better. Especially in a sport like baseball, where the difference between a home run and a strikeout are so minuscule, it is so easy to look back at a pitch and wonder if you had thrown something else maybe that would have gotten the out. Maybe if you had just gotten your hands through a bit quicker that ball would have sneaked down the line. Baseball is a game of inches, and because of that, it's a game of 'what ifs?'.
With this in mind, when coming back into the clubhouse after a beat you have to be aware of who's around you and what a simple thing like a smile or a laugh could do to anger a teammate. It's not like a teammate will explode at you if you laugh after they have a tough go, but you don't want to put anyone in a situation where they're uncomfortable or feel like you're taking the game lightly. When you're in the minor leagues, the game is a job. It will never be anything more than baseball, it's not going to be life and death, but it's important. And when someone has had a bad game and his teammates seem to be taking it lightly, it can really leave bad taste in that player's mouth. I think what it comes down to is, it seems like your teammates don't have your back, and this is the very feeling that will destroy a team. There is a reason that bench CLEARING brawls take place - when one member of the team is assaulted, it may as well be an affront to all of us.
A good team will learn from a bad loss and grow together as a result. In 140 games (thats a minor league season) there are going to be a handful of games you want to forget. But if, as a team, you refuse or cannot learn from these times, you're gonna see more and more of those types of failures. Today was a tough one, but we will grow stronger because of it. Just like a bone heals stronger a break, a team can become better after a tough loss. One great thing about baseball is that usually you can get out there the very next day and all those runs and errors and strikeouts and walks are gone - you have a new slate on which to pursue greatness.
As always, thanks for reading & GO TRIBE!!