Roenicke reiterates aggressive running philosophy
Carlos Gomez was thrown out trying to steal third base with two outs in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Dodgers, with Jonathan Lucroy at the plate going for his fourth hit of the night, and, no, manager Ron Roenicke was not happy about it.
But in a lengthy discussion about the matter Sunday morning, Roenicke explained why he’s going to continue giving Gomez the green light.
“I thought about [putting on a stop sign] last night because I really didn’t want him going and getting thrown out,” Roenicke said. “He knows that when he goes, he needs to be safe in that situation. It can’t be a question. He knows he needs to be safe.
“But in saying that, when you take things away from a player, and you don’t allow him to do things, they get frustrated and then you see it starting to get into the other parts of their game. It’s a battle I’ve tried to do before, and I do take guys off [running on] their own at times, but it’s just, ‘What are the negatives that are going to come from it?'”
The positives of letting a player be aggressive, Roenicke has argued and will continue to argue, no matter how loudly anyone screams about “bad baserunning,” far outweigh the negatives of an occasional “dumb out.”
No one is going to convince Roenicke otherwise.
“If you rein him back, then you don’t get any of the other [good] stuff you get from him,” Roenicke said. “That’s what this whole thing has been about. That’s why [Gomez] has turned into a good player, I think. They’ve tried to do this [pull back Gomez's raw aggressiveness] for years with him, and it hasn’t worked, and they haven’t gotten the player I think we have right now. The pluses outweigh the minuses.”
He feels that way in general — that being super aggressive on the bases generates more positive than negative, both because, in Roenicke’s view, it disrupts opposing teams and makes his own players better in every other facet of the game.
There’s no metric to measure that. Roenicke simply believes it to be true, and anyone arguing with him otherwise is wasting breath.
“Absolutely, there’s no question about it,” Roenicke said. “If you feel free to do things and you’re aggressive, it carries over into all parts of your game. No question. This whole game is about what goes on upstairs. These guys are all talented by the time they get to the big leagues, they all have physical talents. But it’s the mental part.”
Asked whether he developed this philosophy during his own playing career, or subsequently as a Minor League manager and big league coach Roenicke said, “I was a different player than these guys are. I was talented, but not even close to these guys, so I had to really think my way through it. So I did not make mistakes like this. Like, when you’re on second base and a ball is hit in front of you — you’re taught in Little League how you don’t go. Well, I never went.
“Sometimes these guys go. I saw Derek Jeter do it two weeks ago. So it’s a different game, a different era. Guys are freer to do things more now than they’ve ever been. Some guys, mentally, you can tell things to and it doesn’t affect their game. David Eckstein, I could tell him anything and it made him better. A lot of these guys, I tell them something and it restricts their game and now, all of a sudden, they’re not instinctive anymore. Now you don’t have a good player. It’s all types.”
Does it make him crazy sometimes?
“Sometimes,” Roenicke said with a smile.
Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy