The Pirates hire a new "Mental Conditioning Coordinator"

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We must begin by asking it:  “What is losing?” Losing is a disease. As contagious as polio. Losing is a disease.  As contagious as syphilis. Losing is a disease as contagious as bubonic plague; attacking one, but infecting all. But curable. Now, I want you to imagine you are on a ship at sea on a vast, gently rocking . . . gently rocking . . .


Bernie Holliday, who has a Ph.D. in sports
psychology and spent the last six years working at the United States
Military Academy, was hired as mental conditioning coordinator. He
replaces Geoff Miller, whose contract was not renewed.

Much, much more on Holliday and his particular assignment in this Post-Gazette article:


[Holliday] could bring to the Pirates such Army teaching techniques as
workshops, simulations, on-field exercises, videos and MP3 audios
personalized to each player, attention-control technology and
biofeedback analysis. The techniques cover a variety of mental skill
sets: from adaptation to analysis, from energy management to
establishment of a purpose, from preparation to perseverance, from
self-awareness to self-regulation.

The above “Natural” quote notwithstanding, I’m not trying to be snarky here.  I’ll grant that there’s more to this kind of job than telling people to be the ball or breathe through their eyelids or whatever. But really, do all teams have a “mental conditioning coordinator?” The article says the Red Sox and Indians do, and Pittsburgh apparently had one for the past few years.

I’d really like to know what people in the game actually think of this kind of stuff.  I guess I’m more curious about this than anything, but my gut says that ballplayers would be a bit less receptive to biofeedback analysis and energy management than your average bear.

CC Sabathia wants to pitch beyond 2017

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.

Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”

The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”

Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.

Red Sox lose on Mark Teixeira’s walkoff grand slam, but still clinch AL East

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Dustin Pedroia #15 and pinch runner Marco Hernandez #41 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after both scored in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 28, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.

A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.

For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.

This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.