Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Play to Win

The Yankees play to win. You know how you can tell? It’s funny, all of a sudden they’re on a winning streak, they get a nine-win winning streak, and then they lose. But here’s the thing: They’re trying to get the balls, diving through the air, missing. Which is fine, as long as you’re diving through the air trying to get the ball.

Now how would you like to go flying through the air and fall flat on your face and not catch the ball and you bounce a couple of times and then you got to get up with how many millions of people looking at you?

Not you. You’ll look good trying to make believe you’re getting the ball without looking bad. That’s the way you’re playing. Is that clear?

If you’re going to play where you play, you can’t win. Impossible. You’ve got to be playing to win.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What Are You Throwing?

From June 16, 2007

Now the Yankees have a pitcher named Farnsworth. Six foot something. Pretty strong guy, young. He can throw the ball 98 mph. That’s fast. 92 mph is fast. 98 is even faster. He can throw the ball unbelievable. Every time he comes in about the seventh inning. Every time they put him in the game, he walks people. His walk ratio is pathetic.

Every time they put him in the game I go: NO GODDAMN WAY! DON’T PUT HIM IN THE GAME! Why? I know what he’s going to do. He’s going to walk the guys. And what do you think is going to happen? They’re going to lose the game. Sure enough, I’m watching the game, they put him in and walk, walk, walk, the bases loaded. They lost the game. I can’t believe it.

Now here’s the important thing to know: Do you know why the guy walks all these people? He doesn’t want them to hit the ball. So what do you think he does? He has no faith in the people out in the field. If they hit the ball the team will get it. He won’t throw the ball across the plate. He wants the batters to swing at balls that are outside.

Think about that. You’re a professional. You’re going to get up to bat, and he’s going to give you nothing but bad pitches to hit. You’re going to wait and you’re going to walk. That’s what he does. All the time. And every once in a while they go talk to him and they go, “throw it across the plate. You’ve got nine guys.”

And they walk back. He’ll throw one across the plate, and then the other ones go off. No confidence. This is a guy that should be getting the Cy Young Award. He doesn’t believe in that his team is behind him. Throw the goddamn ball.

Is that clear? Where are you playing?

If you’re going to play, if you’re a pitcher, you play to get them out. I don’t care how you get them out. You know what I’m saying? It doesn’t mean you have to get a strike out every time. I need to get him to hit the ball so that we get him out.

Anybody hear of Rivera? He throws the ball. Ninth inning comes in he saves the game. Guess why. He throws the ball, they hit the ball, it’s always on the ground, they pick it up, throw it out at first. Out one, out two, out three.

Not Farnsworth. He’s going to throw 8,000 balls an inning. Then he gets himself in a position where he has to throw it across the plate. Last time it was a home run, they cleared the bases. Grand slam. I get so mad.

Where are you playing? Are you throwing or are you pitching? What are you doing when you’re up there? What are you doing when you’re the pitcher? What are you doing when you’re the hitter? How are you playing?

If you’re pitching, you’ve got to throw sinkers. You’ve got to throw sliders. You’ve got to throw fastballs. You’ve got to throw the changeups. You’ve got to be willing to do that. You’ve got to be at risk. Every time you throw that ball you’re at risk. They may hit it out of the park. But that’s the game. What am I going to do, throw it outside? And then I get myself into a situation I’ve got to put it across the plate. Every time, home run.

So, in life, you throw a curve ball. You throw a sinker. You throw a fastball. You throw a changeup. You never throw the same ball. You’ve got to be at risk.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Standing for People

Watching the manager – Joe Torre – manage the team [in 2006]. It blew me away. I’m going, man, this guy is amazing.

What is amazing is that he’s got a player Alex Rodriguez, that’s making $29 million a year, who goes one for 28 hits at the beginning of the 2006 season. One for 28! My word! One for 28! I can do that! One hit at 28 at bats. Average? .200 something. Jeter? .300 something. One for 28. What is that ratio? Below 10 percent.

Guess what I’m saying? Get rid of this guy! Get him out of there! Before he was in a hitting slump, he was in an error slump. He did more errors in that one week than he did in the whole year before. And you’re paying him… I’m going, this guy needs a psychiatrist. Get him off the team.

Guess what? Joe Torre didn’t do that. Joe Torre didn’t even move his position in the batting order. He was clean up. Did not move him. Game after game after game. Hanging in with him, hanging in with him, hanging in with him. Guess what happened? He gets out of the slump. Hits three home runs in one game. The whole week is great. Turns it around just like that. Unbelievable.

What happened? I would have fired the guy. That’s why I’m not the manager, not making the money Torre was making. Get that? How many times have you done that with people? How many times have you given up on them? How many times have you told them, forget it, they’re never going to make it. By the way, the year before it was Giambi. He came back unbelievable. Joe Torre keeps hanging with him, and all of a sudden he’s doing an unbelievable job.

Why am I telling you this? I’m clear Joe Torre is a leader. I never got that about that guy. Too nice. All of a sudden the team is producing results. Inside of leadership that’s what it takes. You have to be standing for people even when they’re not producing results. You’re standing for the vision that that person has. And the vision they have is to win the World Championship. And he knows they’re all playing for that. He knows it’s not personal. And he knows sometimes they get to be down the tubes. Is that clear what I’m pointing to?

So, you can’t quit on people.