I’ve mentioned before one of my chief concerns with Jeff Samardzija is the football mentality he shows at times on the baseball diamond.
It was on full display at San Diego Wednesday night when Shark unsuccessfully tried to bare hand a hit back up the middle and later broke his bat over his knee following a three pitch strikeout.
Neither example took away from a terrific outing, but chances are this type of behavior will come back to bite him in the worst possible way–injury.
WHY BASEBALL ISN’T FOOTBALL
Baseball, as I understand it, isn’t a grunt sport. The emotional element that’s so necessary on the gridiron does little for one’s success on the ball diamond–often the greater the effort, the more production suffers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean baseball players should be absent of passion and focus on the playing field, Samardzija undoubtedly has both, but learning how to channel his emotions from wild beast to quiet assassin is what’s of importance.
It’s where the right kind of effort meets the desired results. It’s about maturity, self control and the understanding that the game of baseball pays little attention to how macho you are.
HATER IN THE HOUSE?
This post isn’t about throwing mud on Samardzija. He’s come a long way in his first season as a starter.
And perhaps, had it not been for his no-quit, football-like approach, he may not have transitioned so well from reliever to starter after the Cubs unwisely bussed him to and from Iowa at the beginning of his career.
The truth is, I’m all for Shark’s emotion. The Cubs, unquestionably, are in desperate need of his energy, his drive, and his desire to dominate opposing hitters. He badly wants to be the staff ace and I love him for it.
Samardzija has all the talent to reach those expectations, but now it’s just a matter of him learning how to wrangle his raw emotions into productivity on the baseball field.
Otherwise, he’s no better off than Carlos Zambrano, who for years self destructed under his own lack of self control.
Now, I’m not saying Samardzija is on El Toro’s level, thank god, but his recent behavior isn’t far from it, either.
I think I just want to see Samardzija succeed as much as he shows us he wants to, and the only thing I see standing in his way is himself.