Scenes From Spring Training: DWI

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No, that’s not what you think it means. It refers to “Deal With It,” and they were the letters written on a white board inside the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse after some Navy Seals visited the team yesterday. The message: when you have a problem, get past it, dude. Navy Seals do that, and the Dbacks should do it too. (UPDATE: I see the “Deal With It” thing has spread wider than I realized).

Yeah, I think this is a different kind of training camp than the Dbacks are used to having.

The visit by the Navy Seals wasn’t set up by Kirk Gibson, but he talked about it a few minutes ago when he took media questions.  He was pleased with the visit and he’s definitely got that message at the top of his priority list as his young team gets into real baseball games starting tomorrow.  “You know what Navy Seals do,” Gibson said.  “We’re not asking them to go that far.  But we want to change our mentality.”

Gibson is pleased with the effort he’s seen, but he’s more interested in making sure that the lessons from the past week translate into action in the game.  You get the sense that he has his concerns.  “Just do it, just like you did out on the practice field,” Gibson said, explaining what the main message is to his team.  His tone is reminiscent of, say, a high school coach: he’s confident in his players, but he’s well aware that there are going to be some bumps ahead.

When you think of people who might be adept at dealing with the fragile psyches of young players, you don’t necessarily think of Kirk Gibson.  That may be an assumption based on old information, of course, as most of us think of the fiery player of 20 or 30 years ago, not the current man, about whom we know relatively little.

But the fragile psyches of a young team are his primary responsibility now.  I think it will be fascinating to see how he deals with them this season.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.