Dealing With Grief

The Kubler-Ross model for dealing with grief identifies five stages one goes through. The first of those is denial; then comes anger followed by bargaining, depression and acceptance. When the Washington Nationals season “died” in that magnificent meltdown against the Cardinals almost two weeks ago, there had to have been some grief in the clubhouse and within the organization. About a week after the meltdown, manager Davey Johnson seemed to have moved past the denial stage and was somewhere straddling the anger and bargaining stages with this comment:

“Any manager in baseball, they will tell you, if you can get to your closer with a lead, you’ve done good. I don’t give a rat’s (posterior) what anybody else thinks. If it’s a one-run lead, a two-run lead, you did it.”

On second thought, perhaps Davey Johnson is still in denial; I would leave that to a psychologist to determine because what he said there is equivalent to:

    An NBA coach saying that if you have the lead going into the final five minutes of a Game 7, you have done a good job.

    An NFL coach saying that if you have the lead with 8 minutes to play in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, you have done a good job.

Now, the fact of the matter is that the only thing that would matter in a loser-goes-home game is the final result. I guess I do not know where on the Kubler-Ross scale Davey Johnson was when he uttered those words, but it sure does not sound as if he has accepted that he and his team fumbled the ball – to use a mixed metaphor.

After Alex Rodriguez’ dismal showing in the AL playoffs, the NYC tabloids had fun following the exploits of a thoroughbred horse stabled at Belmont named A-Rod. On 17 October when “two-legged A-Rod” was mired in a 3-23 slump, “equine A-Rod” went to the post at Belmont. The horse did not do very well; it was an eight-horse field and A-Rod ran seventh at odds of 28-1. In racetrack parlance, he finished “up the track”. No matter how you look at it, Alex Rodriguez the ballplayer has it better than A-Rod the horse. Consider:

    1. The horse is a gelding. That cannot be a positive factor in this comparison.

    2. Alex Rodriguez can – and did – suffer from being benched and pinch-hit for due to his shortcomings. While that is an ego-bruise, it is hardly fatal.

    3. A-Rod the horse might suffer the fate of arriving at a cat food factory should his success rate not change in a positive manner. That makes an ego-bruise look like Christmas morning…

I mentioned previously some of the differences that baseball fans will see in the major league schedule next year when interleague play will happen on every day of the season. I am sure that a thorough examination of the schedule will find other examples of strange doings there, but consider these three:

    1. Based on performance this year, one might project that the Detroit Tigers will be in contention for a playoff position at the end of the 2013 season. If they are in the race in the final days, they will be playing the Miami Marlins in Miami in the final season meaning they will be playing for an AL playoff spot using NL rules.

    2. There is a road trip on the schedule in September for the Boston Red Sox that has them going to Colorado for a series and then on to Baltimore for a series. Gee, why not have them go to Seattle next?

    3. The SF Giants will spend an entire week in NYC next year. They have back-to-back series scheduled with the Yankees and the Mets.

If you want to go looking for other scheduling oddities, here is where you can find next year’s MLB schedule.

Rumors abound in Miami that the Marlins may fire Ozzie Guillen, but nothing seems to have happened since the season ended about 3 weeks ago. The Marlins were very disappointing in 2012 and managers tend to take the blame when teams have playoff aspirations and wind up finishing in the basement but Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria has been silent on this matter. Greg Cote had this observation in the Miami Herald recently:

“As Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria weighs whether to fire Guillen, we might note that two of his previously fired managers here, Joe Girardi and Fredi Gonzalez, both made the playoffs.”

Switching over to the NFL, the loss of Ray Lewis to the Baltimore Ravens is obviously a serious blow to the team. ESPN spent a week analyzing/”debating” the magnitude of this blow to the defense and trying to project how this will all play out over the rest of the season. Here are two questions that remain unanswered to this point:

    During the telecasts of Ravens’ games, who will inherit the more-than-ample face time that had been given to Ray Lewis over the past decade or so?

    If Ray Lewis is on the sidelines with his arm in a sling, will he get more face time than any active player in the game?

Finally, here is one more observation from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“Parting thought: Ohio State freshman QB Cardale Jones said on Twitter, ‘Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play football, we ain’t come to play school, classes are pointless.’

“Question: Is an idiot who comes out against education able to see the irony in that?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Peter  On October 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

    In re the aspiring Remedial Studies major at the bottom of your piece: While he is emblematic of so much that is wrong with Minor League Football (and NCAA revenue sports in general), I cannot help but find his candor refreshing.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm


      Agreed his candor is refreshing. However, when it comes to “critical thinking” and “the ability to reason out the logical consequences of one’s actions”, this young man would have to get a grade of “F-minus”.

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