I’ve contested as far back as a two months ago that Ricky Romero should have seen some time in the minors this year. I did not make that comment because I wanted to attack or otherwise debase Ricky. I respect Ricky, but objectively speaking, he ain’t right. There is something wrong with him, be it mentally or physically or some combination thereof. I made those comments because I believe that some time away from the the big expectations of the Majors would do him well. Yes, the media would still report on his outings in the minors, but the funny thing about people is, they tend to quickly forget about what is not right in front of them. The minors are a smaller venue, and offer an increased percentage of camouflage.
The other thing you must learn is that going to the minors is not a bad thing. The minors exists for a reason. Going down is often a way to give a guy some priority attention, and work with them on specific things. If a pitcher wants to spend a whole game throwing fastballs, or work only with a change up, he can and the results don’t matter. Wins and losses don’t matter there. The stats there aren’t a factor for a proven player working at something. The big leagues, (if you’ve read Out Of My league, you know this) are the only leagues that matter. It’s useful to send a guy down that needs a laboratory to test himself in, and, a nice byproduct is the confidence of mowing through lesser hitters.
Some say that the confidence built by pitching against lesser hitters is a false confidence. I don’t see it that way at all. Confidence is confidence. I would rather be a player who believes in himself, even if the reasons are questionable, than a player who doesn’t. Every player who makes it to the bigs for the first time does so on the strength of false confidence if you believe that having success in the minors means nothing for him. Success always means something, and you can build on it. Besides If you believe you’re doing better, for whatever reason, YOU are. As Henry Ford said, The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.”
At first, the last two paragraphs may seem contradictory, but they are not. Failure in the minors when you’re there experimenting and tinkering means nothing. Failure in the bigs leagues when you’re not right, and trying your damnedest means something. In fact, failure in the bigs for any reason always means something—to you, your future career, and the team, to your paycheck, to your team’s paycheck. This year, Ricky has experienced a lot of failure and hasn’t had much opportunity to work on fixing whatever is wrong without massive exposure, fallout, and expectations upon him. That is why I’m pro minors—it’s no more an attack than suggesting you take your fastest race car in for a tune up when it’s not running correctly.
Furthermore, the fact that Ricky has not made a solid recovery makes me question the coaching and management. I’ve a great deal of respect for the coaching staff with the Jays, but this much struggle from the flagship pitcher over this much time makes me question the aptitude they have to fix Ricky. I don’t blame Ricky for his struggles this year because I know his heart and how hard he’s trying. I know he’d take all the responsibility on his own shoulders because that’s the type of guy he is. But it’s not all his fault. WIth this much attention on a player and this much incentive to get him fixed, I wonder if they’ve made the best decisions to fix him.
This is all a moot point now. But I’d like to think that if Ricky had been sent down earlier, he’d be up now pitching well and getting his groove back for 2013.