I have never been a Shelton fan, and during the off season I even said that they had a solid hitting instructor in their midst with Orestes Destrade.....You listen to him in the pre game and he knows what he is talking about.....He even let it slip that he was the one that gave Sean some advice on his hand placement and shorter swing to get maximum effort and just from listening to him I am sure he has passed on some things to the players as well......
I have seen in BP, Shelton just standing on the side basically doing nothing while Joe, Hendricks and Foley are more active with the players.....I still think that Orestes Destrade would be the ideal hitting coach for the Rays and will keep pushing for that to happen.
I asked him a couple of weeks ago during a commercial break, when they were outside doing the pre game show, if he'd ever consider being the hitting coach and he said, "They've never approached me about it, but yeah, I would be interested."
You know ... for years I chalked those kinds of failures up to "The Primadona Syndrome" existent among horrendously overpaid and terminally coddled players ... and then ... among other things ... after watching Upton, for example, with that wacky left foot of his over several years ... I started to think that maybe the coaching was totally ineffective in some instances on some teams ... OR ... maybe ... a lot of the highly overpaid and higly coddled players were actually uncoachable, untrainable, unteachable.
And, of course, some oldtimers ... older than me ... suggested that believing that ANY real "coaching" was EVER actually going on was just plain silly ... because ... MLB managers and coaches NEVER messed with the players in that way or tried to change anything the player did ... figuring that whatever a particular player was doing MUST be OK ... because, "h*ll, he's up here in the majors, ain't he?"
THEN ... in the reportage coming out of this year's spring training ... some sports reporter was quoting one of the Rays' coaches (and I've forgotten which one) stating that "We absolutely cannot 'tell' them what to do ... we can only 'suggest' ... and if they follow the suggestion, that's great ... but if they don't ... there's really nothing much we can do about it! All we can ever do is 'suggest'!"
Pretty sad if true all around. BUT ... in baseball ... there seem to be countless and never-ending examples of all of these things going on. (?) H*ll, in pro golf, certainly a "skill" sport, they ALL have their own personal hitting coaches, putting coaches, strength coaches, physical training coaches and physical therapists, nutritionists, etc. Pro tennis players, too. But ... I guess ... today ... there's some point in the baseball progression from Littel League to pro where actual "coaching" ... at least in some cases ... tapers off to almost nothing. (?)
All the questions and failures you comment on are legitimate ... and in my experience ... through college ... the coaches I came across NEVER let those kinds of things slide; they noticed things outside the prevailing baseball practices and wisdom ... told you what adjustment or adjustments they wanted you to make ... they made you practice making the adjustment until you just couldn't stand it anymore ... and if they didn't see you putting that adjustment into action in a game ... you were gone! End of case.
So ... I dunno. But ... one of the things that lowered my opinion of Upton's play back over the last few seasons was that he has repeatedly made the same mistakes, more or less continuously, over the last eight years. He just doesn't seem to learn (especially from his own mistakes) ... he just doesn't seem to improve significantly on any CONTINUING and consistent basis.
Anyway ... if it is true that these managers and coaches can only "suggest" ... then, for the most part, there'll definitely be an endless continuation of a lot of the problems you pointed to in your post. You know, unless a player is extremely and properly self-directed and goal-oriented like Zobrist ... or whose Father is a long-time successful coach ... like Rodriguez' (and Kotchman's) Father ... you're not apt to see a lot of improvement ... as in Upton's toe dance, Brignac's uppercut, failure to choke up when applicable, learning to bunt effectively, etc.
(We used to drill so d*mned much in bunting and punching the ball to pre-determined spots off of different kinds of pitches ... that I swear I can still feel the exasperation and exhaustion when I think about it! And ... I can't tell you how many times a coach winged a ball at me with some zip on it because I "wasn't making the adjustment" ... or "wasn't paying attention to what I was doing"! Times have changed ... I guess our "enlightened culture" stipulates that kind of stuff can't go on any more ... but ... I don't know why these young guys cannot be formally instructed in the finer points of the game ... and be REQUIRED to make the adjustments "suggested"! Apparently, the employee earning $400 weekly is expected to respond to orders much more rapidly and fully than the baseball player making a few hundred times that amount weekly. ?)
And ... in reality ... I think that uniquely "good hitters" are very, VERY difficult to find today ... and maybe that's just the result of the truism that young players just aren't being sufficiently schooled all along the way by coaches who actually know what they're talking about. On the other hand ... the ML baseball excuse-makers say that pitchers have become too good (which, frankly, I don't see as a widespread phenomenon, either); and, oldtimers like to say (and I agree with them to a point) that there's just not enough elite talent to go around since the expansion from 16 to 30 teams.
To me, though, it does seem that "The Rays' Way" kind of player ... which most of them seem to be at the moment ... should be eminently coachable! (???)
As you say ... the really "good players (in ANY sport) adjust"!
(Of course, I'm a devotee of the Bobby Knight School of Coaching ... which, I guess, has long ago gone the way of the dodo bird and the dinosaur!)
I agree with you on Destrade!
(However ... it is funny to me ... because ... back in my Yankees days ... I never heard the anti-Yankees crowd make more fun out of ANY one of the Yankees than they did to good ol' Orestes! Even my own Father used to rank the guy out up and down ... even more than he picked on ol' "Knock-Kneed McDougall"!)
You know ... certainly Destrade ... and definitely Anderson, too ... in my not so humble opinion ... DEFINITELY know what they're talking about! Frankly ... it seems to me the two best Rays' coaches may be involved in broadcasting the game! Of course ... maybe neither has any interest whatsoever in becoming involved in the on-field drama and politics. (?)
If you recall, when BA's comeback as a pitcher with the Rays failed, they offered him a coaching job in the minors and then he became the Rays Assistant Pitching coach in 2009 and 2010, but he and Hickey didn't see eye to eye, so when Kevin Kennedy left the booth the Rays wanted him to stay in the organization and offered him the job as DeWayne's partner........Can't fault what Hickey has done, may not agree with everything but he has been a major reason for the turnaround......
However, if it were me, BA would be the pitching coach and Destrade would be the hitting coach. They both know of what they speak and offer insights you normally don't get from broadcasters.
I have no idea what you're talking about.
If you're still making some kind of reference to Upton ... then you're just uninformed. Upton has been a polarizing and controversial figure since he arrived nine years ago ... and there has been significantly divided opinion all along on his abilities and performace ... some believing he was over-rated and definitely not among baseball's best performers ... and others believing he had it in him to becomes one of the "elites". I have always been a believer in the former ... and the totality of his body of work thus far is ... in my constitutionally-protected opinion ... mediocre. And, given his history and the record thereof, differences of opinion regarding his play and his abilities are clearly legitimate.
Upton has always been mercurial ... which some believe is due to what they perceive as his often "drive-by"-type attitude ... being very occasionally interspersed with some "drive" ... but ... overall ... his "highs" do NOT represent his "norm" ... and those highs, like the one he's riding now, are fairly few and very far between over the last eight seasons.
I would have traded him last summer to the Nats if the rumors were true. I would have traded him anytime during or before the PRIOR TWO seasons if any other team evidenced an interest. Right now ... his trade value is probably the highest it's ever been over his nine seasons thus far ... so, if I could, I'd definitely trade him now for a proven catcher, a proven long-reliever, or a couple of proven and top-shelf minor league prospects. There are sports writers out there suggesting the same. I stand by my opinion in this regard ... and many others perceive Upton the same way.
I've never eaten crow and don't intend to. In fact, I'm probably most partial to Alaskan King Crab.
Yeah, I'm aware of Anderson's history here as you've described it ... and I did think it a little strange that he didn't stay with coaching ... but I wasn't really aware of the fact back then that he had serious differences with Hickey ... but I sure can see now that he does ... often in spades!
I was glad he was able to stay with the organization, though, and I truly believe he's definitely among the best, most agreeable-to-listen-to, and most instructive "color men", analysts or "sidekicks" currently in baseball broadcasting. And ... as a former pitcher myself ... I've heard a lot of the technical baseball insights and wisdom he recounts going all the way back to the REAL "good old days" when I first entered Lttle League ... and I had a high school coach back in those prehistoric times whose "coaching insight" is often repeated by Anderson word-for-word!
It's also clear that Destrade ... apparently in his efforts to become a better hitter ... has obviously studied pitchers and pitching intently and in depth! And, he too, dishes up "the right stuff" in terms of inside baseball principals, techniques, methods, etc.
You know ... given their personalities ... and given their communication abilities ... and given their apparent knowledge of baseball pitching and hitting ... from a pitcher's and hitter's perspective ... Anderson and Destrade are seemingly superior substitutes for Hickey and Shelton. (?)
(Sometimes Todd ... and a little less DeWayne ... seem to be a little bit in awe of some of the inside insights that Anderson and Destrade put out there ... stuff that was totally "new"-sounding to broadcasters who have been in the baseball business for quite some time!)
You know ... when you look at America, its culture, and its collection of social mores today ... it's very easy for me to believe that bringing back some of that "old School" from "back in the day" would BE A BIG IMPROVEMENT! They didn't call it "The Great American Century" for nothing!
(Regarding that "dime" for "a cup of coffee" ... I've never been inside one ... but people have told me that it's not uncommon for "a cup of coffee" to cost as much as EIGHT BUCKS at a Starbucks! ???)
I can relate to that as well from the "old days" as I was also a a pitcher, LH with a sidearm delivery and my old high school coach would say things that I hear from BA today.....
Don't know if you remember Joe Cunningham 1B for the Cardinals for sometime and then the White Sox.....Joe and I played our high school ball together at Lodi HS in New Jersey, he was a year ahead of me and our coach was a p/t scout for the Cardinals...He got Cunninham a contract witb St. Louis and the following year, got me one as well for the BIG bonus of $100.......I spent a year in the Class D Applachian League with the Johnson City Cardinals (Now that WAS an experience!) until I blew my arm out and that was the end of baseball......So I went back home and back to skating in the Roller Derby for a couple of years until I went intot the USAF. I skated for the Jersey Jolters and then was "traded" to the New York Chiefs!!
I don't remember Cunningham ... BUT ... growing up ... I was focused ONLY on the eight teams in the AL. As a young kid, my Father did take me to Braves, Giants and Dodgers games (I refused to go to Red Sox games with him!) ... but I never paid any attention to the NL at all ... and hardly do today! We would also take occasional weekend trips to Philly, D.C. and Baltimore (we had family in all three cities) for As, Os and Senators games ... and, of course ... my "regular" beat as a kid was Yankee Stadium.
My Father was a helluva pitcher ... semi-pro ... and got me going w-a-y before age 8 ... which, I think, was the LL minimum age then ... and I learned sidearm and 3/4 or (maybe a tad higher) ... and used both. He was the same ... but ... he could also throw the so-called "submarine pitch" ... which was truly scary coming at you ... and he ultimately converted to fast-pitch semi-pro and industrial league softball when he got older ... and he played fast-pitch regularly well into his late-40s/early-50s. For me growing up ... it was all about control-control-control ... and he had me out there EVERY day ... almost year 'round ... from, I dunno, age 6 until I started high school ... pitching-pitching-pitching ... with every kind of homemade "teaching aid" you could think of! In fact ... we even had a 55-gal oil drum which he had a small round hole cut into ... maybe 8" or so in diameter ... more-or-less mid-thigh high ... and if he wasn't around (the kids nearby, my age, absolutely didn't like to catch for me!) ... I could use that for practice ... and it paid to put the ball in the hole ... so I didn't have to go scrounging all around to pick up the balls that missed! Eventually ... the oil drum turned into thick plywood sheets with holes cut out in different areas of the stike zone. Back then, I could go to the various carnivals and amusement parks that were around and win plenty of prizes ... knocking down the kewpie dolls or metal milk bottles with baseballs. Of course ... back then ... as a kid ... baseball, basketball ... fighting ... and doing the assigned chores ... were just about the only activities any of us ever knew! And ... the best gifts of all were a new bat, a new glove, a fresh baseball or two or a new basketball! (A new bicycle was good, too ... BUT ... you only got that ONCE!)
Anderson and Destrade defninitely repeat a lot of what I used to hear from coaches way back then! But, way back then, those things were NEVER mere "suggestions"! It was the coach's way or the highway ... and drill-drill-drill ... and, apparently, you couldn't actually be a coach back then UNLESS you REALLY KNEW what the h*ll you were talking about!
I do remember avidly watching Roller Derby (on the big banked tracks) on the old 12" Hallicrafter! Even among the rough-and-tough kids of the day ... it appeared pretty intimidating!
But, hey, if you weren't at least a little-rough-and-tough and good at sports back then ... at least in my neck of the woods ... you were called "a candy***" ... and you were definitely on the outside looking in!
Oh the Derby was rough and tough and one really had to have a real desire to be part of it and take the punishment, the tough travel, the work and training involved, but like any sport, if you loved the game, you endured all of it just to be on that banked track every night.......I still have a banged up knee from it, but it's my fond remembrance of 2 years that I truly loved being a part of.....I was even part of the group that tried to bring it back about 10-15 years ago and still think it could be a big draw if it was brought back and played like it was in the 50's and 60's before it became the WWE on skates for a few years.
As I have mentioned before my love for baseball was instilled in me by my grandfather and I become such a fan of the game and a diehard Brooklyn fan, that I also followed every team in both leagues and appreciated the game from every perspective........Now as far as the Yankees i hated them from day one and always have and the only time I have ever stepped foot inside that place was in 1955 when Brooklyn beat them to win their 1st WS........Even today, I wouldn't step inside the new Skan kee stadium if I was given free tickets behind home plate, that would be total sacrilege to me and to the memory of my grandfather.
I feel the same about the Red Sox as you do about the Yankees ... but I'll give my Father the ultimate amount of creidt: He was a die-hard Red Sox fan ... a true and life-long Yankee-"hater" (becoming even worse in the George Steibrenner era) ... and yet ... he took me to Yankees' games with great regularity ... we also regularly traveled around to all the other teams' games I've mentioned ... but he NEVER bugged me to go with him to Red Sox games ... and I never went to even one ... and he never said anything about it ... or tried to change my mind or propagandize me ... EXCEPT ... jokingly ... he used to like to make fun of Gil McDougal, Yogi, 'blindman" Ryne Duren ... and a couple of others ... for my benefit ... BUT ... he somehow got me signed balls and a signed bat ... which he long ago insisted on giving away to other kids when I passed into adulthood. But ... even now ... the Rays playing the Red Sox ... and I'm still in the office typing a post to you! (I don't like the word "hate" ... but I REALLY intensely dislike the Red Sox and EVERYTHING about them!)
Hey ... it's females ... and going around in a smallish flat circle in a high school gym or local auditorium ... but there are several female "Roller Derby" teams around here ... one of which is called, I think, "The Bradentucky Bombers" ... and I've seen some of the "matches" (?) advertised here and there! In fact, one of our kid's best friend's former wife is definitely a skater on one of the teams (now, for three or four years) based somewhere in this general area. (?)
Time to go. Sure as h*ll hope the Rays are winning!
But you must be mad to see how well BJ is doing. Why you would write a book on it, no one knows.