What is a “closer’s mentality” anyway?


Dash Treyhorn of The Fightins has a long post up today countering the belief among some in Phillies Nation* that Ryan Madson simply doesn’t have a “closer’s mentality.”

We get plenty of Phillies navel-gazing in these parts lately so I don’t post it for that (bring back Steve Bedrosian; I really don’t care who closes games for the Phillies). I post it for the more general observations he makes about such arguments. Arguments which seem to ignore the fact that the best closers year-in and year-out tend to, you know, not have anything approaching a single mentality and, in fact, a lot of them are high-strung loonies.

Dash is right: the whole closer’s mentality thing is a post-facto assessment. If a guy is a good pitcher late in games, voila, he has a closer’s mentality. If not, he doesn’t.  It’s pretty ridiculous stuff.

Anyway, a good read on a topic that is so rife with nonsense.

*The Red Sox have a Nation and the Yankees a Universe. What do the Phillies have?

Kris Bryant wants to be Cubs’ player rep, vows to “fight” for next collective bargaining agreement

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”

As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”

It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.