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Tyrus

Talent vs. Intangibles

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The question many people have discussed here recently is: Are the Tigers simply a .500 team talent-wise, or are they not playing up to their true potential?

Is this team floundering at the mediocre mark because the players assembled simply are not good enough to do otherwise?

Or, are they capable of better? Are they held back by unquantifyable variables like "heart" or "mindset"? Do these things even exist?

Some people say "heart" and "attitude" have nothing to do with a team's wins or losses. I believe otherwise.

Look at your own workplace. I'll bet there are people who have lots of talent, but because of their attitude, lack of confidence, or inability to get along with others, they are hindered from doing the best job possible -- and/or they hinder others from doing their jobs properly.

If you put more than a few people in the same room who have the same bad or lethargic attitude, the workplace as a whole often will take on those same negative characteristics. I've seen it happen many times. And the job we are supposed to do suffers because of it.

Why would this not translate to baseball? On the surface, it's obviously apples and oranges to compare athletes with office workers -- but when we're talking about things like group attitude and its effect on performance, the analogy applies.

I think when people say "heart" they are actually meaning "confidence." Some people, like Gibby and Michael Jordan, thrive when the chips are down, because they have the confidence that they will succeed in those situations. Others, who may be very good players in non-pressure situations, simply choke. It's not because they don't have "heart" -- it's a lack of confidence.

If you put a few of these people on the same team...well, you have the 2005 Detroit Tigers.

That's not to say this team has not won a few games via the walk-off homer, or that the Tiger players always choke under pressure. Of course they don't.

But this team does seem to have a problem with getting above .500. It's happened so many times, I think it's to the point where the players are thinking about it in the back of their minds, and it's affecting their performance.

Why do some people believe this can't happen? Ask the players whether or not their mindset plays a part in their performance. . Talk to Gibby. Or, more feasible, read his book. It's all about mind vs. baseball.

Teams underperform and play above their heads all the time. I think the White Sox are doing the latter this season. It's just part of baseball.

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They've been one of the best teams since the All-Star break. I don't think any intangibles changed at the time. However, around that time all of the talent became healthy.

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Originally posted by ian_a

They've been one of the best teams since the All-Star break.

The Tigers went into the All-Star break at 42-44, two games under .500. Now, they stand at one game under .500. Big improvement.

And every time since then that they've had the opportunity to go above the .500 mark, they've failed miserably. That's my point. They have not been able to get over the hump.

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Perhaps it's just some kind of mental block. For some reason, they just can't get over the hump.

Or maybe they are just plain jinxed (the jinx of the pizzapeople)?

Honestly, the only way The Tigers are ever going to get to the playoffs again is too have an owner who DOESNT own a pizza joint.:classic:

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Maybe I'm naive, but I just don't buy this whole .500 mental road block thing.

I'm not in the lockerroom before the game, but I just can't imagine all the guys sitting around talking about how "we really need this game to get above .500." I don't really see it as that much of an issue. And even if they are thinking about it before the game, I have a hard time imagining it carrying over into the game.

I seriously doubt that Craig Monroe dropped that foul ball because he was thinking about the .500 mark. I can't imagine guys stepping into the batters box in the 3rd inning thinking "I need a hit here so we can stay above .500"

I don't question that confidence helps, but I don't think there is a mental barrier on this team that keeps them around .500.

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I think it mainly comes down to overall talent. We have good pitching and pretty good offense, but our defense and fundamentals are really bad, and the latter 2 are just as important as the former 2. A team's record is a pretty accurate representation of total team talent, and the Tiger's record is reflective of that.

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There are too many guys with injuries.

Guillen and Infante play well together. Last year they were in sync knowing exactly where the other one would be on double play balls and they put on a show.

Defense up the middle is important and we are lacking that this year with Guillen missing so much time and Polanco sitting out from time to time...they need a chance to get to know each other so they can gel.

Same with the outfield. Lots of different pieces and parts this year. Monroe drops the flyball in CF with the bases loaded and 2 outs and 3 runs score last night....the moving around is getting to the Tigers.

Hitting is good. Pitching is okay....Defense and baserunning have been lacking.

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I think intangibles is just a codeword for when someone can't come up with any other reason why they prefer a certain player or team.

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My team of surly, selfish Barry Bondses and sloppy, lolligagging Manny Ramirezes beats your team of scrappy, heart-on-your-sleeve, never-say-die Scott Podsedniks and David Ecksteins.

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Originally posted by OldTimey

Talent beats intangibles any day. It's not even close.

Tell that to the 1988 Oakland A's. Or the 1969 Orioles.

Talent beats intangibles on most days. But there are exceptions.

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Originally posted by Tyrus

Talent beats intangibles on most days. But there are exceptions.

The exceptions are luck and the statistical improbability that the best, most talented teams will win every single game.

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You mean the one where Orel Hershiser outpiched the great Storm Davis in two games, Glenn Hubbard made an error leading to two unearned runs and Gibson hit a not in a million years HR?

That wasn't intangibles, it was baseball in a 7 game series.

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Originally posted by Oblong

You mean the one where Orel Hershiser outpiched the great Storm Davis in two games, Glenn Hubbard made an error leading to two unearned runs and Gibson hit a not in a million years HR?

That wasn't intangibles, it was baseball in a 7 game series.

Although almost every baseball expert would tell you otherwise -- that Oakland had way more talent on paper than the '88 Dodgers -- forget it. Some guy named Oblong proclaimed otherwise; so it has been written, so it shall be done.

What your'e saying, Oblong, is that teams never overperform or underperform? That seems to be ridiculous on its face.

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Originally posted by dt35456884

My team of surly, selfish Barry Bondses and sloppy, lolligagging Manny Ramirezes beats your team of scrappy, heart-on-your-sleeve, never-say-die Scott Podsedniks and David Ecksteins.

==========================================

Tak about "intangible" here..... like in $42M... the combined amount both Manny & Barry will make this season. 95% of the MLB teams are going broke fast with you as their GM... lol.

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Originally posted by dt35456884

My team of surly, selfish Barry Bondses and sloppy, lolligagging Manny Ramirezes beats your team of scrappy, heart-on-your-sleeve, never-say-die Scott Podsedniks and David Ecksteins.

Yet another simplistic, smart-alecky comment by dt.

You're right. There are no variables in baseball. The team with the most talent obviously wins every time. So why even play the games? All you SABRmetrics types can simply get out your calculators in April and you'll know who is going to win.

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Obviously teams underperform or overperform, that's what determines winning and losing. I just don't think LA won because of something called "Intangibles". They won because they scored more runs than Oakland in 4 of the 5 games and 4 is all you need to win the series. I also think the effect of Gibson's HR is overstated. If you add that to Hershiser's matchups against Storm Davis and it's 3 wins right there. Nothing surprising about that. Hershsier was better than any other A's pitcher.

Like I said, people use that word when they can't think of anything else to say.

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Originally posted by Tyrus

Although almost every baseball expert would tell you otherwise -- that Oakland had way more talent on paper than the '88 Dodgers -- forget it. Some guy named Oblong proclaimed otherwise; so it has been written, so it shall be done.

What your'e saying, Oblong, is that teams never overperform or underperform? That seems to be ridiculous on its face.

Lots of times teams with more talent on paper lose a series simply because a pitcher gets hot or some key hitter goes into a slump. There is not always some deep psychological explanation for every game and every series. Sometimes stuff just happens by luck.

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How is "luck" any less of an intangible than "heart" "toughness" or "attitude"...its all an undefinable category that no one can account for? You can't discount this "intangible" argument, while chalking exceptions up to luck.

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Originally posted by Tybalt

How is "luck" any less of an intangible than "heart" "toughness" or "attitude"...its all an undefinable category that no one can account for? You can't discount this "intangible" argument, while chalking exceptions up to luck.

Luck is random and not inherent to the player's abilities. You don't say "We need to add such-and-such, he has a lot of luck"

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Originally posted by ian_a

Luck is random and not inherent to the player's abilities. You don't say "We need to add such-and-such, he has a lot of luck"

Alright, I'll accept your argument...but if I pick "X" player because of his "leadership" qualities, and he beat's your team and you claim it was just "luck" there's no way to prove or disprove who was more right. It's just a pointless argument IMO to on the one hand discount all intangible qualities as unprovable, while at the same time claiming that "luck" is the only thing that prevents the best team from winning every time. Neither theory can possibly be proven - its just a blind belief.

And also, the infamous "clutch" or luck theory can definitely be argued. You can't tell me the Spurs weren't thinking about Robert Horry's "clutch" (or luck) ability as a factor when they signed him.

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Originally posted by Tybalt

How is "luck" any less of an intangible than "heart" "toughness" or "attitude"...its all an undefinable category that no one can account for? You can't discount this "intangible" argument, while chalking exceptions up to luck.

When you say a team has intangibles, you are are implying that there is something good about their psychological make-up which makes them outperform their talent. When I say a team is lucky, I'm saying that

they win games which they seemingly shouldn't not because of some personal quality but just because they happened to have a good or bad series by random.

I do believe intangibles can help a team on occasion but I believe most results are explained by talent and random luck. And I also don't think anybody can say for sure whether a certain result is caused by luck or by some intangible quality that the team possesses. This is especially true for fans who don't know the players personally.

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I think the fact that you can "fail" so often offensivly in baseball and still be considered a success contributes to the "luck" factor. A very good player can outperform an average player 50 times out of 1000 at bats. (or something like that, you know what I mean)In a 7 game series that would mean like 2 at bats.

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