Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Aggressive Mistakes vs. Mental Mistakes

I saw a major and borderline unforgivable mistake made by the Rays last night in the game against the White Sox. With one out in the 8th inning, Jason Bartlett was standing on 2nd base while B.J. Upton was on 1st. Bartlett broke for third base and was thrown out. The Rays continued the inning with a runner or 1st and 2 outs. Although Bartlett was thrown out, he did not make the mistake.

I will never ever criticize somebody for being aggressive while playing within their means. For any of you who question Jason Bartlett’s attempt to steal third, shame on you. If he made it, you would have said how great of a job he did. I like his aggression and his desire to give his team the best possible chance to win. Bartlett is an accomplished and proven base-stealer, and he should be trying to get the extra base. He knows if he can get to third with one out, it’s a huge advantage. I will not judge Bartlett based on the result that he was thrown out. Good job Jason, I hope you try it again.
The problem I had on that play is with B.J. Upton. With a runner on 2nd base and a lefty at the plate, Upton was not held tight to the base. He needs to be aware that there is a potential base stealer on 2nd base. His focus as the pitch leaves the pitcher’s hand should be on Bartlett. If he sees Bartlett break for third, Upton HAS TO break for second. He has the speed that he should beat a throw to second, and he should have a big enough lead that it won’t be an issue. There is no excuse whatsoever for Upton to not get into 2nd base. It was a mental mistake, a moment of lost thought, and an opportunity wasted.
Just like all of you, I was very frustrated when I saw Carl Crawford hit a single into deep left field. However, I didn’t once say “Bartlett would have tied the game if he didn’t attempt to steal third.” I did say “Upton would have tied the game if he didn’t make a mental mistake.” Mental mistakes are brutal and may have cost the Rays a win. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.


  1. First of all let me say I love JB, nobody has done more for the Rays than him!
    But to try to defend him in a 100% wrong decison..makes you look stupid also!
    He should have NEVER tried to steel, 1 run down on 2nd with 1 out, CC & Longo coming up!
    And Maddon is your brother because he didn't know what was going on either!

  2. I'm curious BL, why was it wrong? Was it wrong because of the result of him being caught stealing? Would you have said it was wrong if he was safe?

  3. I would have it was wrong no matter what the result was....If he scored it was wrong...
    If you get on base with your best hitters coming up, 1 run down, you have to depend on them,
    NOT take it upon yourself(no Maddon) to make a obvious mistake