Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Verlander & Skip

I'm wondering whether there's any friction between Justin Verlander and Jim Leyland after all that went down last  year.  Jim called Justin out a couple times for not owning up to bad outings.   Justin expressed surprise at said callings out.

I agree that Justin failed to come to terms with a poor season for him.  He really did appear to be in denial about some stuff.  Sure, the offense let him down this year.  He had incredible run support in 2007, and not so much this year, but it was a lot more than just poor run support.  This could all be a problem, in that if he doesn't see himself as having any problems, there would be nothing for him to work on over the off-season or in spring training.  Also, if he really believes there's nothing wrong, it could breed resentment against those who say otherwise.  He'd feel he was being unfairly targeted as a scapegoat for last year's abysmal performance.

I hope Jim and Justin got it all out behind closed doors, and have a good working relationship going into next year.  The last thing we need is ill will between our supposed ace and the manager, who is now a lame duck.  That could snowball into all kinds of bad clubhouse vibes, undermining Jim's managerial abilities.

There was some legitimate discussion about Jim leaving Justin in way too long in games, something he didn't do at all for any other pitcher.  I wonder how Justin felt about that.  Did he feel his arm was being burnt up, or was he cool with it?

We'll probably never know.  That's what's hard for fans--there are always so many unanswered questions.  We don't see what goes on behind the scenes, and players, coaches and managers keep all that stuff pretty much under wraps.   A lot of it is for good reason.  Things get blown out of proportion by media, stuff gets taken out of context, etc.  However, a little more transparency at times would be so welcome by fans.  That's why you have to like the honesty of someone like Gary Sheffield, even if you don't always like what he's saying.  At least you're not getting the "Bull Durham" clichés that Crash taught to Nuke.

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