Yesterday Gonzo said that I preferred Loney over Pujols. He was taking that WAY out of context. Only a moron wouldn’t take Pujols over Loney. The context was whether I would take Pujols over Loney for $252 million and I said no. That is a bad contract. PERIOD! I would not do that. I still would not do that. Ardian Gonzalez’ contract is much better, and he should be productive throughout it. Pujols deal is way too long. I like Adrian Gonzalez.
In fact, even though Adrian has choked this year, I believe he will return to form. He has always been productive with runners on… just not so much now. I am not putting this choke job on Adrian – it’s a team thing. Matt and the rest of the boys have it too.
When a batter leaves a runner stranded in scoring position, it’s a failure, but when they do it repeatedly, time-after-time-after-time, it is more than a failure. It’s a choke job. This team has had that for several years now. As someone said earlier, it’s systemic. Somewhere, somehow this team collectively chokes more frequently in the clutch.
The Dodgers are the worst hitting team in baseball with RISP. That’s choking. To call it anything else is deluding yourself and giving the players and excuse. By the way, I haven’t heard any excuses from the players.
Wikipedia says this about choking:
In sports, a “choke” is the failure of an athlete or an athletic team to win a game or tournament when the player or team had been strongly favored to win or had squandered a large lead in the late stages of the event. Someone who chokes may be known as a “choker” or, more derisively, as a “choke artist.” Choking in sport can be considered a form of analysis paralysis. The opposite of choking is to be clutch. A clutch player or team rises to the occasion under pressure rather than collasping or falling apart.
Explanation for why choking happens
Two dominant theories have emerged from the research; explicit monitoring, and distraction theory.
Explicit monitoring theory
The explicit monitoring theory provides an explanation for athlete’s under-performance at the precise moment they need to be at their best. Beilock and Carr suggest that “pressure raises self-consciousness and anxiety about performing correctly, which increases the attention paid to skill processes and their step-by-step control. Attention to execution at this step-by-step level is thought to disrupt well-learned or proceduralized performances.”
Distraction theory was first suggested by Wine to explain under-performance in performance pressure situations. Distraction theorists argue that pressure creates a dual task situation which draws attention away from the task at hand. Attention is then focused towards irrelevant stimuli such as worries, social expectations, and anxiety. Wine first tested his hypothesis with academic tests but it has since been applied to athletics.
Research has found that distraction theory is supported in situations where working memory is used to analyze and make decisions quickly. Short term memory is used to maintain relevant stimuli and block irrelevant information as it relates to the task at hand.
The Dodgers, collectively are chokers. I still remain hopeful they will overcome it, but right now, they are what I say they are – chokers!
I still root for them and hope they turn it around, but this is a deep, deep organizational problem that is difficult to fix.