Categorized | Mark Timmons

I call it the way I see it

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

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.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

42 Responses to “I call it the way I see it”

  1. Badger says:

    You went a long way to prove your choking analysis. I would just point to the “favorites” and “lead” portion of that piece. The Dodgers weren’t really the favorites and though we all had high expectations with the new additions, but obviously it takes time for a team to gel. The midgets are a team. The Dodgers are not yet at that level, but I still like their chances. This team needs everyone at 100% and right now they just don’t have that.

    I will not admit to a choke job. I call it a team slump with several key players including and especially our BEST player not at full strength.

    This season is not over yet. Those who think it is are the chokers in my book.

  2. Reggie says:

    I did not have time to post yesterday, but I totally agree with Mark on this issue. Call it what it is. The Dodgers lack of hitting in the clutch is choking. If you are clutch, it means you do not choke. At this juncture, this team is choke, not clutch. I too do not know how you fix it, but it has to get fixed.

  3. RogerCraig says:

    It seems to me that this choking started with the Torre regime. Mattingly also was the hitting and bench coach during that period. Maybe it is something about the approach to hitting that he advocates which causes the choking.

    Maybe the problem is the manager. I am not sure what the problem is, but it seems to me that it started with Torre (and Mattingly).

    You cannot fire all the players, so maybe…

    • Ken says:

      Amen!

      Take the first pitch fastball down the middle every time, get behind in the count, and then create High Anxiety

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsJE8sYoe0E&li

      Most pitchers throw a first pitch fastball to every batter except Cruz because the scouts know that HE has an adaptive approach to hitting. The rest of the dodgers belong in adaptive PE until they finish their psychoanalysis. :) :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know why some of you have problems with Mark calling the Dodgers chokers. Lots of other people are. The Dodgers are a joke to most other baseball fans right now.

    Face the truth!

  5. Bobbie17 says:

    If this were a last place organization without the great and beloved history, choking might be acceptable. It is not and it is not. Someone at the highest level has to wake up and make winning THE ONLY THING. Not just a winning season; not just winning a division; not just winning a pennant; but winning THE WORLD SERIES. It starts with scouting and developing. With a few exceptions, this organization does not produce good major league players. I see it and feel it at Spring Training. There is no sense of urgency anywhere. I still can’t believe that not one of those AAA hitters is a good major leaguer. Of all the bunch, only Cruz has performed. Why?????? Until this is solved, I’m afraid the choker label doesn’t go far enough. How about LOSERS?

  6. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I don’t have the time, or even the inclination to spend much energy on this “choke” thing. For the most part I agree with Badger’s comments that “I will not admit to a choke job. I call it a team slump with several key players including and especially our BEST player not at full strength.” And I also agree with this: “This season is not over yet. Those who think it is are the chokers in my book.”

    Found this article interesting:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/dodger

    Seems that Colletti’s deals haven’t really cut very deeply into the Dodgers’ farm system. Except, I believe, in the case of Carlos Santana. His stats are linked below. Seems to me that he’s hitting about what A.J. Ellis is, with some more power. And if you look at his OBP’s for the past several years, they are exceptional in comparison to his batting averages. Santana was an on-base machine in the minor leagues, and remains so to this day. I know he’s had a few injuries to deal with, but all in all, he still appears to be a player that the Dodgers could use. And let’s not forget, he’s still only 26, so there’s reason to believe he just might get a little better.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/santa

    And B17, I agree with your comment that it “It starts with scouting and developing.” But I disagree with your assessment that “Someone at the highest level has to wake up and make winning THE ONLY THING.” That’s exactly what our new ownership has done. They traded some of our better prospects and took on a major expense by picking up the contracts of A-Gon, etc. But they did so to fill positions with impact big league players that the farm system simply cannot duplicate given the state of dis-repair that McCourt left it in. And together with taking on the additional salary, they also reversed a long time McCourt trend, and signed a passel of young international players that together with the draft should begin to fill the pipeline of talent in the Dodger organization for years to come. They are spending big to win NOW and LATER. And they will likely spend this coming winter in free agency, and perhaps trade off another young player or two. Whatever was in the farm system prior to the recent trades was not going to get the Dodgers a championship anytime soon, and probably wasn’t enough to get it at all. And although the Dodgers are now beginning to invest heavily in scouting and development, don’t expect immediate results. Most of those international signings are probably for players in the 16-18 year old range. So it will be some time before we begin to reap whatever benefits those signings are going to bring. Maybe Puig will come a little sooner, but even he will probably take at least of couple of years. And like any prospect, he’s not sure thing until he proves it at the big league level.

    • Bobbie17 says:

      Time will tell. A LOT OF TIME!

    • Gionfriddo says:

      Brooklyn, you have made this point so clear and concise (at least once before to B17) regarding the objectives and actions being taking by the new ownership.. at this point in time you might as well find a wall and beat your head up against it, because certain individuals will not only fail to see the obvious, but they will refuse to even entertain the idea…

      One of my good friends is a retired advance scout (retired after 40+ years in the game in ’10 w/3 organizations) and basically what you have laid out in several of your posts on the new ownership group in regards to its’ renewed commitment to scouting (on the internatioal front & U.S. side) is EXACTLY what my friend has told me is being done with the Blue and that the organization will return to having a plentiful system in due time…

      The choke issue is just that, a non issue in my book. Things don’t go your way and the easy path is to place blame or to simply throw a label on it to pacify your own disatisfaction. I watched A Football Life on NFL net last week on Ray Lewis (who has never been a favorite of mine) and he said a very interesting thing at the end in reference to Billy Cundiff blowing a 30 yd gimme FG vs NE with just secs left in game that would have put the Ravens in last yrs Super Bowl– “Billy didn’t choke and he’s not the reason we lost, either. What about the tackle I missed in the 3rd quarter? We win as a team and we lose as a team.” After watching this on Lewis I had a better understanding of who he is and what he’s about.. Yes, it’s football and not baseball but the theory or idea is still the same— you win as a team and you lose as a team, bottom line..

  7. Bobby says:

    Wow, this is how bad it’s gotten? The team sucks and we spend our time debating the definition of “choking???”

    We suck. Plain and simple. This last month has been a complete embarrassment. We’re watching an inferior team up north clinching the division while we struggle to score a run. Pure trash.

    Define “trash” instead of “choking” and you’ll see the dodgers the past 30 days. Yes, I said dodgers, as they’re not worth capitalizing.

  8. Badger says:

    For those of you who have given up, take a seat on the bench and as my squad leader used to say – hide and watch with the rest of the women.

    Look, you guys may be right about this bunch at the end of the year but this is baseball and there is no clock in this game. This team has time to find its heart. Maybe it won’t happen, especially with its leader not 100%.

    I find it very interesting that when McSuck was driving this team over the cliff Mark was the guy heading up the cheer leading squad and I was the guy making the predictions of disaster. Looks like our roles have reversed.

    • Gionfriddo says:

      Amen to that Badger– I could not agree more.. Bitching, whining, and negativity begets ?? that’s right, more bitching, whining, and negativity… It’s dire right now but the games still have to played..

  9. Ken says:

    14 MLB teams with a team ERA higher than the dodgers in September have more wins than the dodgers. That = CHOKE

    Pitching
    ERA 5th
    WHIP 10th
    BA 7th
    Wins 21st

    Batting

    BA 30th
    OBP 29th
    SLG 30th
    OPS 30th
    CS 29th (Can’t even run!!!)
    BB 30th (Don’t even walk anymore!)
    RBI 30th
    HR 25th
    3B Last
    2B 20th (WOW NOT LAST – Time to Celebrate!!!!!!!!!!)
    Hits 29th
    Runs 30th

    The worst dodger CHOKE of ALL TIME!

    FIRE everyone who has anything to do with improving, changing, or monitoring their hitting approach.

  10. Ken says:

    There is one rule in sports that I adhere to 99% of the time.
    When the players are not able to, for any reason, positively respond to the coaching then the coaches must leave.

  11. JERRY says:

    so with all this choke talking..why will it be any different in 20`13 they maybe all on the down side. would love to hear why it would be different

  12. Roger Dodger says:

    The Dodgers being seen as a joke to other teams / fans has some truth in it.

    Why? Making all those trades, and playing worse baseball than before the trades.

    And making that commitment in years and money – and having a terrible August and September.

    That first AB of A-Gonz was powerful = HR. But since that – nothing. That has been so surprising.

    We might think that, well, come Spring Training, this heart of the lineup: Kemp, Ethier, A-Gonz, Handey will get it together – but this lack of hitting has gone on for weeks and weeks and we cannot be sure in any way that they can turn it around by April. One would think so, but major league pitchers are getting them out.

    The Manager and Coaches are great guys, but they could not get this team going. Ownership should start there.

  13. Bobby says:

    I have no issues getting rid of Mattingly and the hitting coach.

    Go see if we can get Kirk Gibson, a guy who WILL fire up this team. If Anaheim dumps Scioscia, bring him home

  14. Roger Dodger says:

    Another thing:

    If I were a Dodger starter in the pitching rotation – I too would say I have a pain in my arm and want surgery. These hitters cannot score runs, and I loose. So, go on the DL, fast.

  15. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I don’t know. It doesn’t look like Gibson did such a great job of firing up the D-Backs.

    Personally, I have no problems with the current manager and coaches. Yes, I don’t always like everything Mattingly does, but I can say that about almost any manager.

    For me, the choke issue is over. I’ll keep rooting for the Dodgers everyday, and hope for a miracle. If it comes, great. If not, we just gear up for next year. And Roger, you’re right, we can’t be sure that this team will turn it around by April. Like I said once before, the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees.

    But that said, I do believe that this team is pointed in the right direction. And I’m hopeful that given the winter to re-energize themselves, there is a strong chance that this team will acquit itself very well next year. Then again, maybe A-Gon has hit a wall, Matt Kemp will suddenly become injury prone, and Hanley Ramirez will go over the cliff.

    But enough about next year. There’s still games to play this year. And like Badger, I don’t intend to “hide and watch with the rest of the women.”

    Friddo, I appreciate your support. There are voices of reason on this site.

  16. Mark_Timmons says:

    Brooklyn,

    When you say \”There are voices of reason on this site.\” you know that it is on. So, you are the voice of reason? So, if your, use some, because what you say and what Badger and Friddo say is illogical and not founded in reason whatsoever. You guys say the Dodgers haven\’t choked – you say it is a slump.

    This is not manby pamby land you jackwagons (watch the commercial).

    Roger nailed it. The Dodgers are a joke right now because they went out and spent hundreds of millions. They got Victorino. The Giants got Pence. The Dodgers got Ramirez and Choate, the Giants got Scutaro. The Dodgers got Gonzalez, Beckett and League. The Giants lost Melky Cabrerra (the best hitter in the NL). The Dodgers lost Chad Billingsley (who last I checked was not a hitter anyway).

    With all of that firepower, the Dodgers became the prohibitive favorites with a batting order that included players who were All-Stars at all three outfield positions and two infield positions.

    The reverse happened. If you have friends who really follow baseball. I mean really follow baseball, ask them what has happened to the Dodgers since the trade and they will most like say they have choked. My baseball friends give me a hard time about it and call the team choke artists.

    You say they have to gel. The Giants had no problem. Scutaro has hit .361 as a Giant. Prnce has hit just .227 but has 37 RBI as a Giant, but the rest of the team just picked it up after they lost their best player. The Giants had every season to lay down and die and THEY DIDN\’T. The Dodgers had every advantage and they layed down and died.

    The pitching, patchwork as it may be has held up. The hitters choked.

    But, according to you three (who are the voice of reason, thus smarter than the rest of us), this is just as slump.

    BS! It\’s a choke job!

    Friddo, I never have said it was anything but a team choke job. Thanks for making my point with the Ray Lewis comments.

    I don\’t know why you guys are so loathe to admit it is a choke job. Less than 2.5 runs a game since THE TRADE. That\’s a choke job. But, you reason it is not because you are just smarter, but have no facts.

    To accuse me of being negative and whining is as stupid as you can get. I\’m the biggest Dodger Homer there is. I watch every inning of every game and will until the season is over. I know you all don\’t do that. I am just very adept at perceiving the obvious – something that has eluded you all.

    Don\’t give me your feelings or what you think. Give me some hard facts why it is not a total choke job. You can\’t.

    Voice of reason, my ass. You wouldn\’t know reason if it hit you in the face.

  17. RedSoxNation says:

    Let me tell you what the problem is. I am from the East Coast (Rhode Island) and you got a big loser in Ramirez. He is a real nut job. You also got a player in Gonzalez who was not well liked by his team mates in Boston and another one just like him in Crawford. Josh Beckett was a clubhouse cancer and then you have Shane Victorino who wants to be back in Philly.

    Your organization is a train wreck and the team has choked because your own players see what a-holes the new guys are. I find it funny that some of you don’t want to face the truth.

    • Dave says:

      I hate to admit it, but you may be THE voice of reason on this thread. I wanted so badly to avoid this discussion but what you wrote is exactly what has “phucked’ with my mind lately considering the slump/choke and the reputation of the players. I’ll TRY to stay positive and throw out the old cliche, “Wait ’til next year.” Of course to simply try is to imply failure so I’ll probably fail at staying positive. I fear that next year might not work out so well either with this mixture of super egos. It KILLS me to see the lack of ego and team cohesion displayed by the Giants. I can only hope that the new owners will make the adjustments necessary if the super egos cannot.

    • Badger says:

      I find it funny the Red Sox stink.

      We’ll see if getting the hell out of that dysfunctional organization allows all those All Stars to get their mojo back.

      btw, Gonzalez has hit well everywhere he has been including bean town. The clubhouse problem was not him.

  18. Bball says:

    I guess we have to wait till they are out of it to see Gordon. I truly believe he would have sparked this team. If Donnie would have had the balls to play him when he got off the DL

  19. Bball says:

    That homerun doesn’t make me any happier. In fact itakes me more pissed for some reason

  20. Bball says:

    Is there a chance if Hanley doesn’t approve a switch to third he dealt. I really love this guy but I think he’s best suited for third, but I see Hanley not approving of this

  21. Jae says:

    The opposite of Clutch is Choke.

    Is there anything close to being Clutch about the Dodgers hitting?

    No! It is exactly the opposite.

    Mark, some of these guys are just grumpy old men. They have no clue…

    • Badger says:

      The “grumpy old men” as you call us are the ones keeping a cool head. The rest of you guys sound like whiney little girls.

      The Dodgers are heading in the right direction. We won’t know about the “choke” until the season is over. Some of us don’t give up. Some of you do. Brooklyn and friddo play for me. Most of The rest of you watch from the bench.

  22. Bball says:

    That’s what dee does. Electric

  23. Jae says:

    It is good to see Adrian get untracked.

    To have any chance, the Dodgers have to win out.

  24. Reggie says:

    Mark Ellis is quietly a really good player for the Dodgers. Him and Luis Cruz have been solid if not spectacular.

  25. Mark_Timmons says:

    The Big Dodger in the Sky is smiling on the boys tonight.

    Maybe since Adrian is starting to roll, he is happy.

    These guys could win out.

    That\’s our only hope.

  26. Ken says:

    Reds do have a Spring Training lineup tonight

    Gordon – He has a strong arm but you do not play long toss during the game. :)

    • Dave says:

      Arm strength eh? Coupled with speed. . .I think we may just have found our LFer to start next season (until Crawford is healthy – physically and mentally). OOPS – mental game is not this guy’s strong suit. Two speed demons with demons to fight. Hard to stay positive.

  27. Roger Dodger says:

    Adrian hitting two out so far tonight ——

    is like the guy hitting HRs in the 8th and 9th innings, when his team was winning 8 to 1 in the 7th. They were just add on, and not at a clutch time.

    Adrian hitting two here, but where has he been since August 26?

    I agree, the foundation is basically here. I’ll take them. Fine tune Hanley, add a real catcher and at least one more pitcher and next season we tee-it-up.

  28. Ken says:

    Won first series in 4 weeks.

    Gordon has a Steve Sax arm :)

  29. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Too busy to get in a back and forth about choking and my powers of reason. Besides, if I wouldn’t know reason if it hit me in the face, neither would you. In fact, you haven’t presented a single FACT to prove your argument. The fact that these guys aren’t playing well could just be a slump. It doesn’t have to be a choke job. But then again, this unreasonable person doesn’t live in a black and white world. There are shades of grey, not just choke and clutch.

    And before the Dodgers made their deals, did they know that Scutaro would get hot and that Gonzalez would slump? History says it shouldn’t have been so. It just turned out that way, because in baseball a star player can get cold for a month, and a lesser player can get hot. It’s got nothing to do with intestinal fortitude. And please, don’t give us that mamby pamby land nonsense.

    And your baseball friends give you a hard time about the Dodgers being choke artists for the simple reason that they’re not Dodger fans, don’t really think or know much about the Dodgers, and probably enjoy getting under your skin. If you take that seriously, you need some serious help.

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  31. Reggie says:

    Fact is- you are either clutch or choke.

    Forget the spin.

    The Dodgers are choke!

    A blind man can see that.

    Why not call it what it is? It’s a choke job!

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