Gossage Inducted, Masur Hired, San Diegans Too Laid Back

That got your attention, didn’t it? Goose Gossage will be inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Tuesday night. This might not be the Hall of Fame that Gossage, who now resides in Colorado, had been hoping for, but he’ll take it. He’ll also take the opportunity to grace the world with some choice quotes. Here’s my favorite:

But back then, we were our own setup men. Guys like Rollie (Fingers), Mike Marshall, Sparky Lyle, Dan Quisenberry and myself were our own setup men. I worked the seventh and the eighth as well as the ninth.

I’ll tell you one thing, to sit in the dugout after getting out of an eighth-inning jam waiting for the ninth is apples and oranges from coming in from the bullpen to start the ninth fresh. I think the setup guy often faces a tougher situation than the closer.

I actually took a cursory look at Gossage’s workload in 1975 a while back over at Knuckle Curve. What I found shocked me. For instance, he worked three innings or more in just over a third of his appearances that year, and faced 20 or more batters in a game on six different occasions. Can you imagine asking a closer to do something like that now?

The other point worth mentioning is Gossage’s final sentence in the previous quote about the importance of setup men, which echoes what many sabermetricians have been claiming for years. I expect he arrived at his findings in a slightly different manner, but the conclusion remains the same.

Yes, But Can He Play Guitar and Get Runners Thrown Out at the Plate?

The Padres have hired Andy Masur to join mainstays Ted Leitner and Jerry Colemen in the radio booth this season. Masur takes over for Tim Flannery, who followed Bruce Bochy to San Francisco and became the Giants’ third base coach. Masur previously hosted pregame and postgame shows for the Chicago Cubs, so his memories of 1984 might be a little different from ours. ;-)

Hey Man, We Lost — Bummer, Dude

Mark Zeigler advances a few interesting theories about why San Diego hasn’t seen a big winner in any of the major sports. I think he may be onto something. Key quote from sports psychologist Steven Ungerleider:

It’s a laid-back culture and a laid-back sports culture, and you’re not going to have as high expectations to win. That can send a message to athletes and owners: ‘We want to win, sure. But it’s not the end of the world. We’re also interested in other things. We’re interested in having fun.’

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’d like to see more of a killer instinct from my teams. On the other, I’m not sure it’s worth the tradeoff of having to exist in an environment where winning is all that matters. At the risk of sounding incredibly elitist, living in San Diego is pretty much its own reward. If you don’t believe me, go to a public place sometime and eavesdrop on tourists plotting ways to blow their life savings so they can move their family of five into a closet behind some laundromat in Encanto.

This brings me to the next point Zeigler makes. It’s one that frustrates me to no end. I’m not a native San Diegan but I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years and I’ve been in SoCal for all but the first year or so of my life. Quoth Scott Sarver, former baseball coach at Point Loma Nazarene University:

How long does it take you to find a fan of another team in San Diego? About two minutes. How long would it take you in Green Bay? There are just so many other (sports) cultures here that it contributes to the softening of our own culture, because you don’t have everyone on the same page.

It’s not just sports, of course; it’s anything. I’ve complained numerous times about displaced New Yorkers who can’t find “good pizza” in San Diego. Hey, I know where you can get some “good pizza”; c’mon, I’ll give you a ride to the airport.

Not that folks from other places aren’t welcome. Obviously they are. But why not make at least some effort to adapt to the existing culture? I’m from Los Angeles; I don’t hate the Dodgers the way a lot of Padres fans do but I sure as heck hope we beat ‘em every time. And I don’t spend my days pining for LA. If I liked it so damn much, I’d be living there now.

Anyway.

San Diego is too laid back? It’s full of expats from other places? Former Padres pitching coach Dave Stewart ain’t buying it:

It has absolutely nothing to do with the city. It has everything to do with who’s in the uniforms. You get to a certain point, and the only thing that matters is what a player does in that situation on that day.

I admire Stewart’s stand-up attitude, but I wonder if he’s missing something. Or maybe I’m the one missing something. Like, say, a championship team?

37 Responses »

  1. LA is considered laid-back by the rest of the country. LA teams have won multiple championships in several spots. What’s the line about SF, live there but get out before it makes you too soft? The 49ers were a dominant football team. Philly has far fewer championships despite rabid fan interest. Chicago was a doormat before and after Michael Jordan.

    I don’t buy the attitude thing. The Chargers are in the AFC championship game if not for 1 or 2 dumb plays, plays of dumb aggression and not dumb disinterest.

  2. 1: sports, not spots.

  3. Dave Stewart is right…it has little to do with the city and everything to do with how we have always constructed teams…oh yea, and a bit of bad luck…Running up against the 1984 Tigers and the 1998 NYY’s may have something to do with it…Let’s not forget how good the 49′ers team was that spanked the bolts…

    As a native, I can tell you that I am more laid back than most of the country. I stand out on the East Coast for the SoCal attitude I have been accused of having…When my biggest dilemma is whether or not I should wear jeans when we go to a “Nice Meal”, you know you have San Diego in your blood!

    Go Pads…and Free Pat the Bat!!!

  4. 3: Dead-on. Timing is crucial. The 94 Chargers against the 99 Falcons or 05 Seahawks is a game instead of an embarrassment. The 98 Padres could have beaten several WS winners from the 90s, but the 98 Yankees were one of the best teams of the last 30 years.

  5. That is some really good writing, great article.

  6. Petco Park certainly hosts a very laid back crowd that only wakes up for home runs, Trevor Time and mid-inning scoreboard surprises. To say that causes the Padres to lose their motivation to the point of not winning a playoff series is silly – especially when you consider the players we have to watch. I don’t think I’m the only one at Petco hoping the Padres aren’t ahead by more than 3 runs going into the ninth so I have a chance to cheer on Trevor. Other than Peavy striking guys out, and Khalil’s hair, the Padres aren’t very interesting for the average fan to watch. Go back to the days of the juiced up Cami at 3rd, Eric Owens Dirty T-Shirt Night, Wally’s World and Tony Gwynn, and you’d have a different attitude from the fans (I hope).

    As for Goose – he worked in a different era, one that I only remember through the plastic goose-caller I was given one night at San Diego Stadium.

  7. The laid back thing is just an excuse! The main problem is that being “America’s Finest City” and a US Naval destination of choice brings TONS of “other” fans to the city.

    Then when tickets go on sale, they do anything they can to get tickets…including paying a HUGE premium on ebay, etc…

    I know. For 10 years I lived in NYC and paid up to see a few bad Padre teams play in Shea against the Mets.

    As long as people CA$H in and watch on TV rather than root root root for the Padres…Petco will always feel somewhat like Angels stadium did for many years…until, lo and behold, a World Series team. How many opponent fans were in the Murph in 98?

  8. Chris…that “Goose Whistle” is one of the first things I think of when I hear people talk about Gossage…including today. I was laughing when I thought about how it sounded at the Murph…

    ESPN has a list of the top 5 rotations in baseball…no, the Pads are not on there…but I will contend that they need to be in the discussion. Outside of Boston (the focus of the article), I don’t know if there is a rotation I like more for next year. If you look at ERA, ERA+, WinShares, etc, the Pads rotation is the best in the NL.

  9. Here is the article referenced in #8:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove06/columns/story?columnist=kurkjian_tim&id=2760117

    No way the Dodgers and Yankees have better rotations than the Padres. I’m a bit skeptical of the Angels and Red Sox as well. The only one I’ll concede is Detroit.

  10. Carrying a note forward from Friday’s comments …

    Richard … *THANKS* for the link to minor league split data!

    Yow, that’s a good August that Sledge had … http://www.minorleaguesplits.c…..CLb06.html … bring it on!

  11. 10 – hmmm, that link didn’t post well … here’s the link to the home page … http://www.minorleaguesplits.com … *very* good stuff there … search for ‘Sledge’ … then click on ‘Batting Splits’ … then check out his August #s …

  12. 8: The Red Sox, Angels, Yankees and Tigers all project better than the Padres, but the Dodgers don’t.

  13. Team (Average Starters’ WARP)
    Red Sox (4.6), Angels (4.6), Yankees (3.9), Tigers (3.9), Padres (3.5), Dodgers (3.3)

  14. One of the ways I amuse myself since moving to Texas is telling the natives:

    A) Tex-Mex sucks, I need some “real” mexican food
    B) Texans are wussies when it comes to chiles

    Geeze…is that bad manners or something, Geoff?

  15. LOL, Debbie. I dunno, maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age. Plus, there is no substitute for real Mexican food. :-)

  16. One of the things I like most from BP is Will Carrol’s “health reports” … here’s his post with info about changes to his methodology … and a very minor sales pitch to subscribe to BP … http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5861

  17. Re:14…guess that says that the Pads are the best in the NL…

  18. I was going to write that the Zeigler article is pure tripe — pop psychology of the rock-bottom worst type — but I am far too laid-back to say so.

  19. What would the Red Sox or Yankees look like with Clemens? What if they could get Clemens to start pitching for them in early May instead of halfway through the year?

  20. Krasovic did a chat today. The transcript:

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20070212-1337-transcript.html

    Nothing earth-shattering, although the mention of BABIP was nice.

  21. 21: The most interesting part of the chat for me? Krasovic saying that others could learn from CY’s dedication to his craft. Somewhere in Alabama, Jake Peavy’s ears are burning. I’m not sure Krasovic is right, but I’m quite sure that’s who he was talking about.

  22. As a Yankee fan first (Padre fan second), I would rather have the Padres starters than the Yankees. Not that the Yanks don’t have a good rotation, but both Young and Peavy could be great without surprising anyone. If they both are great, the Padres could win the division handily.

    The Yanks are solid but don’t have a lot of upside (unless Pavano not getting hurt is defined as upside).

  23. 23: By the end of the year the Yankee rotation could include Clemens and Hughes, depending on how much “the best pitching prospect in the game” struggles to adapt to major leaguers. That’s nasty.

  24. Chargers news: Marty fired. Wow.

  25. Yeah, saw that.

    The Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer on Monday, reports ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Schottenheimer led San Diego to a 14-2 regular-season record, only to lose in the AFC divisional playoffs.

  26. 25
    ??? I thought they just said he was coming back??? Crazy

  27. Re: The whole laid back thing. City attitude has no correlation to winning at all — Philly is not laid back (nothing since 1980), The Cubs have nothing since ’08, White Sox and Red Sox have only recently won titles. Those are all pretty high pressure markets.

  28. I’m not a Charger fan, but that is some crazy news . . . they’ve got to have someone lined up, right?

  29. Quick! See if Dennis Green is available!

  30. 31: Nobody should sign Denny Green. The guy is awful.

  31. It’s lame that ESPN.com picks the Red Sox as the best rotation. It’s even more lame that the Padres aren’t in the top five. It’s even more lame that the Dodgers are in the top five.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove06/columns/story?columnist=kurkjian_tim&id=2760117

  32. 33: The Red Sox’ rotation does project as ridiculously strong (perhaps the best). I agree that it’s lame to see the Dodgers rotation in the top five while the Padres’ superior rotation is left out, though.

  33. Re 15: Debbie, This is is your older brother. Didn’t I teach you any better? What are you doing harassing the Texans??? They are liable to shoot you.

  34. My beef with Boston is that Papelbon and the Japanese pitcher have never started a major league game. That’s a lot of projecting.