For the first time in a long time (if not, ever), Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa actually showed some support for our slumping pitcher, Jason Marquis, last week after his troubled outing against the Colorado Rockies. Instead of his usual cold shoulder or public jabs, our skipper actually backed up our starting lefty and put his efforts in a positive light.
LaRussa was quoted after the game– Marquis’ fourth loss this season– as saying:
"I respect him because he is working real hard to get it right. He’s out there grinding as hard as he can. He shows you by the way he’s able to pull it together and get into the last third of the game that it’s there. He’s in a rough stretch right now but he’s not giving into it. He’s out there cranking."
I was floored. And couldn’t help but wonder if Tony hadn’t read my tirade– of biblical length, no less– just days before accusing him of purposefully brow-beating Marquis and contributing to the pitcher’s slow rebound. (Read it if you’ve got the time: "This Is Long, But I Have A Point To Make," listed on 4-6-06. (Sorry, I don’t know how to give you a direct link.))
At any rate, I would now like to illustrate what positive reinforcement and leadership support can do for a guy’s psychological, if not pitching, welfare.
Today, in his first appearance since LaRussa publicly put some faith in his left-handed hurler, Jason Marquis took the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks and held them to one run. One.
The adage has come to us in a million forms: "You get what you pay for," "You reap what you sow," "You must give before you can receive," "What goes around comes around…" And it is just as true in baseball as it is in life. You see, Tony, you can only get out of a player what you are willing to put into him. Give him your faith and support and he will deliver winning efforts in return.
Yeah for Tony. Hooray for Jason. And way to go Cardinals!