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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:37 AM
Really now, no expectations? I submit to you that opening day 2012, the Cubs team faced as much pressure as they would in a playoff game. One needs only to read the reactions after Thursday’s loss to understand that. All the bywords such as “new culture”, “the Cubs Way”, “a new era” and all the rest of what has been heard created enormous pressure on the team to win the first game of the new season. I believe that even the players put extra pressure on themselves. Well, they lost, and what do we hear? It’s all over the papers and the Internet: “Same old Cubs”
Now, I am not a professional baseball player. I didn’t get that talent. I have poor eyesight, not very good balance and am pretty clumsy too. What I am is a professional musician. Now, I am the first to admit that I can’t see everything that a serious baseball player sees on the field. In a situation where I may see one or two possibilities, a professional baseball player will see 10 or more and there will certainly be among those possiblities, things I never even thought of.
But one thing I do understand very well is pressure. It’s amazing how one simple little note, in one context can be so easy and yet in another context be so incredibly difficult. You’re sitting in a recording session where every second is extremely expensive. Sure if you get it wrong the first time, you can go back and do it again. But if you make it a practice of getting it wrong the first time, you won’t be working long. And even if you do have the time to go back and do it over until it’s right, you always loose something in your playing as you keep going in the session.
You sit there on the stage in Symphony Center, (in my day in Chicago, it was called Orchestra Hall) with the players in the Chicago Symphony or the Konserthuset here in Stockholm and suddenly everything is different. There is an incredibly high standard on those stages and everything about your playing is exposed in a way that you never thought possible. So while I may not understand everything about baseball, pressure is something I understand very well.
Looking at the opening day game, a few things came to my attention. Kerry Wood walked in the run. I believe he had control problems because he has not pitched so much during Spring Training. I Understand Dales reasons for holding him back in the Spring, but I wonder if it would have been better to begin to hold him back somewhat after the first month of the season when the rest of the bullpen had begun to get it’s feet wet in “real games” for lack of a better word. To use my own experience, if you have been out of action for a long while, that first big solo is much harder than it needs to be and I wonder if his control problems were a direct result of not having pitched so much in the spring? I know about his back problems, but it was said time and again that his back was not the issue.
I think that Carlos Marmol has a head problem. I’ve seen it in music so many times. All of a sudden, you can’t play. Things that were easy “yesterday” just won’t happen and suddenly you get so caught up in the concept of “I can’t play” that you can’t sit down and solve the problem. Or, you get so caught up in trying to solve the problem that you run into what one of my teachers (Arnold Jacobs for any brass players reading this) that you come into the concept of “paralysis by analysis”. I can’t help but wonder what harm Thursdays game did to his head. He needs to be used for a while only in games in which the Cubs have a good lead to build up his confidence.
I do buy into what the new administration is doing. I think that it will happen for us. For this season, in all our games, I would like to see as Jimmy Valvano put it, that the team does it’s best to "be in a position to win" and then see what happens at each game. I think that the players did do that on opening day. They did go down fighting, which was a good sign in my eyes. It didn’t happen for them, for whatever reason, but they did make a run at it.
One day, it’s going to happen for the Cubs. But, then the preassure will be unbelivable because both the fans and the players will consider even a World Series loss a failure. That is how great the preassure is on the Cubs, even now in a “low expectations” season.
Nothing would help the Cubs more than we as fans as well as they as players to try remove this thing that has possessed both us and them too. Everyone talks about taking “one game at a time”, but in Chicago, that doesn’t seem to be possible after 104 years of failure. There is no curse, there is only preassure and what it does to your head is stronger that any “curse” ever could be.
Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:25 AM
P.S. You studied with Arnold Jacobs?? That's a pretty big name to be able to throw around, haha. That's awesome. I studied with John Bruce Yeh during my time at De Paul...obviously Im a clarinet player, haha.
Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:09 AM
Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:15 AM
Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:09 PM
Well, I was long gone by then. I haven't been able to get back to Chicago since 1997. I really miss it. How do you feel about the Astros going to the American League. You'll hardly ever get to see the Cubs then.
Ha, I was at DePaul from 2003-2005. I transferred, since the Music Ed department wasn't um...going to suit my needs. I had a really tough time at DePaul. Either way, it was great to study with a member of the CSO! Lessons at Orchestra Hall was neat.
Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:04 PM
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