Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Selfishness costs Arizona State

How about the Arizona State baseball teammates throwing down before a huge game against Fresno State? One kid was the PAC-10 Player of the Year; the other was the 18th pick in the MLB draft.

Not a shock the No. 3-ranked Sun Devils lost the game that ended their season, but they'd beaten Fresno in the first game before losing two straight to the Bulldogs.

I'm struck by how incredibly selfish this was. Now, I have no idea whether these guys liked each other or not or what the fight was about. The point is, the team should come first, especially when you're on a winning team and only a game from the national championship. There couldn't be anything more disruptive to a team than to have two of its leaders engage in an all out brawl just moments before the biggest game of the season.

Really? You can't set aside your differences for a few hours? You can't see the bigger picture here? We're this close to winning a title, something we'll treasure for the rest of our lives. Let's forget this petty stuff and get it done.

Baseball is the most individual sport of all the team sports, but chemistry is still important to a team's success. Just look at how poorly the Detroit Tigers have played thus far.

The ASU fight reminded me of a Joe Torre quote: "Individual accomplishments pale in comparison to being part of a championship team." Or Casey Stengel: "Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story."

Clearly, both of these guys for ASU were good players. It's a shame they couldn't find a way to play as a team.

[NOTE:  I see now where the ASU players involved in the fight claim that the whole thing was staged to help loosen up the team.  According to this article, most of ASU's players were aware that the guys were joking.  There are so many ways to loosen up a team before a game without making it a distraction.  If the coach was somehow involved, I've got to believe he'll come under heavy scrutiny.]