July 24, 2018

Remy Claims Young Players On Bad Teams Are Extremely Susceptible To Having Negative Attitudes Ingrained In Them By Disgruntled Veterans. I'm Very Skeptical.

NESN's Dave O'Brien and Jerry Remy had the following conversation in the bottom of the sixth inning last night:
O'Brien: [Mark] Trumbo's talked about this awful year for Baltimore. He said the won-loss record is bad, but I think there's a lot of guys who are motivated to have a good second half and try and right the ship as best we can. He said some of the younger players are fighting to establish themselves and as a player, that's motivation in and of itself. Talking about players like Renato Nunez, the young infielder who's up.

Remy: Well, you know, the other side of that is, when you're losing as badly as the Orioles are losing, you got to make sure that the veterans carry on a positive culture in the clubhouse, because if you don't, these young guys that are coming to the big leagues, that gets ingrained in them. You know, a losing attitude. And you've got to be very, very careful on how you deal with that.

O'Brien: There's a rocket foul. Yeah, we've seen that on the other side before, that uglier side.

Remy: Yeah.

O'Brien: Where if you're playing the game badly - and at times they're playing the game very badly - that becomes like an infection.

Remy: It depends on what guys, what veteran players you've got on that club, you know, what their personalities are and how they go about their business.

O'Brien: Two out, bases clean, and the 2-2. Porcello looking to make it a swift sixth inning. Instead that'll be punched through for a base hit, so Trumbo is aboard as he knocks that single to left field with two away.

Remy: And my point is, Dave, I'm not saying that the guys that are left with the Orioles are bad guys. That's not what I'm saying at all.

O'Brien: Right.

Remy: It's just that, you know, you got to make sure that the guys that go out and play hard every day, lead a good example in the clubhouse because - I'll tell you, I've been around some teams that had some bad guys that stayed around and they brought these young kids up and that's what they're looking at for a whole half of the season. It's not pretty.

O'Brien: Sometimes those are guys you want to move, but you can't.

Remy: Right.

O'Brien: Because of that very reason. Again, not saying that's going on here in Baltimore. In fact, the Orioles have a lot of guys with outstanding reputations, like Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones, Jonathan Schoop.
I am highly skeptical of the points raised by Remy.

So these young players have worked their asses off for years through the grind of the minor leagues, fighting off all competition, succeeding at each new level, and now they have finally made it to the major leagues - their life-long dream ... and they become blank slates in danger of being led astray by a few disgruntled veterans? And Remy is claiming that all young players are susceptible of having these bad attitudes "ingrained" in them?

I don't believe it.

These rookie players are not impressionable children who will automatically mimic their elders' behavior. Renato Nunez, to use O'Brien's example, is 24 years old. He has spent eight years in the minors. If he comes to the Orioles now and sees veteran players mailing it in, he's going to - if he's smart - see that as a golden opportunity to grab a job. At the very least, he's going to keep working hard and perhaps get noticed by another team that might trade for him. If he immediately gets lazy and doesn't care, and plays poorly as a result, he'll be one of the first players dumped.

Of course, Remy played in the majors and I did not. But I would think a more likely scenario is the exact opposite of what Remy is claiming. When a team like the Orioles is 42.5 games out of first place, it's the veterans that will be coasting, if any coasting is being done. They know they will not be sent to the minors, they are probably making a lot of money, they may have only a few seasons remaining in their careers, and they know the team's fortunes are not going to change whether they give 100% or 75% or 50%.

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