We all know the Dodgers are capable of scoring runs and scoring them in bunches… with or without the long ball. We also know that too frequently, they don’t. For a team that leads the National League in Home Runs and Runs Scored, it is very troubling that they sometimes forget how to score.
To say that “This is the team FAZ built” is absurd.” They have repeatedly shown they can do what is needed to win. They have the talent. They are also the #1 team in the NL in team ERA. The players can do it – they just don’t! Why? It boils down to expectations. Before I explain that, I am going to tell you a couple of real-life stories about expectations.
I played City League Softball until I was 56 years-old. The last 9 years were as pitcher and manager, and while I lost my power years before, I played at a pretty high level – lots of doubles and singles. We didn’t win any championships but we were always in the running. If you have ever played in one of those “beer leagues” you know that a few teams have sponsors who actually pay some players a “stipend.”
Anyway, there was always bickering as to where certain players should hit in the batting order, so one day before the game, I came out with a bating order based solely on your batting average. If you want to hit higher in the order, raise your batting average! The top 10 hitters started and the rest were on the bench – every game, unless there was an injury. No one could be mad at me with the lineup, because you hit where your batting average said you should hit.
In my next to last year, I hit lead-off all except for two games and was second in runs scored. My last year, I hit 5th most of the season. It was a good way to run a beer league team. I am not saying Dave Roberts should manage the Dodgers like that, but if he did, the lineup might look like this:
- Turner 3B – .300
- Kemp LF – .282
- Verdugo CF – .280 (oh wait, he’s at AAA – what the hel is he doing there?)
- Puig RF – .267
- Machado SS – .263
- Bellinger 1B – .260
- Muncy 2B – .256
- Grandal C – .247
On the bench are Dozier, Taylor, Pederson and Kike – Sorry guys, you wanna’ play raise that BA!Tell me that lineup is any worse than the abortions Dave Roberts runs out there! I am starting to believe that there is a LA JINX. Some players flourish in Hollywood and others wilt under the bright lights. Manny Ramirez thrived under the microscope while Manny Machado has wilted. Dozier is just a bunch of Bull. What kind of player has a dog named “Pickles” anyway? A real junkyard dog name is Brutus, Spike, Satan or Axel. Dozier and Machado are just pretty boys to me. Where’s the beef? The Dodgers need a “butter and egg man“, like A-Gon used to be years ago. Some of these guys make me pine for A-Gon.
In my business, for years our top sales people sold $50,000 to $75,000 a month. That is what they were used to selling and that is what they expected to sell. Even when we installed new contact management software they still sold $50,000 to $75,000. I battled with our Sales Manager who said there was no way they could sell more. His expectations controlled his results. Long story short: I had to fire him… and a few other sales people. I hired a new sales manager. Unlike my old sales manager, he was not a water expert (he was from the appliance business), but I have many water experts and I am a Master Water Specialist. He was/is a true sales manager who understands how to train, manage and motivate a sales force.It took two millennials, both 19 years-old to break the $100,000 threshold in a month – now people do it routinely. Our top sales people do $100,000 to $140,000 a month and now our middle-of-the-pack people write $50,000 to $75,000 a month. The biggest change is expectations. Change your expectations and you will change your life.How this Applies to the DodgersContrary to what many believe FAZ does not make out the lineup. They gather all the data, provide all the statistics and Dave Roberts and his staff make out the lineup. FAZ does not expect a different lineup every day, they are smart guys and know what “productive outs” are… in fact they probably have a stat for that too. What Doc does is not just by the stats, but rather a hodgepodge of trying to appease every player. If Cody Bellinger is 4-4, he should not sit the next day, even if Mad Bum is pitching. Ride a hot hand – the fact that Doc doesn’t isn’t on FAZ, it’s on him. FAZ has proven that they believe in the mental aspect of the game as much as the statistical aspect of the game. What Bill Plaschke wrote for The LA Times back in 2015 about Andrew Friedman is as true now as it was then: Numbers are only part of the equation.I call it “changing expectations.” AC called it “Holding players accountable.” It’s really very similar, and it starts with changing your and their expectations. More often than not, you get what you believe. Believe something else!