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May 22, 2024 54 mins

In this episode of 'The Book of Joe Podcast', Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci discuss when it's time to be concerned about hitting slumps.   What is happening with Corey Seager and Ronald Acuna Jr. at the plate? Joe reveals the two factors that determine how much he is concerned.  Tom questions the ability for a manager to critique their own players without being slammed by the media. Plus, we highlight 'The Moody Blues' and the passing of Mike Pinder.  

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe podcast is a production of iHeartRadio.
Hey darreon welcome Back. You have found or returned to
the Book of Joe. Most interesting baseball podcast on the
planet with Me, Tom Berducci and Joe Madden. Joe, you know,

around here we love originals. We don't like sheep, so
to speak, the ones that just follow the herd. So
later on we're going to get into we lost another
rock and roll original pioneer. You're down with me on
this or this concept, right, We like original thinkers.

Speaker 2 (00:43):
Always, you know, tell me what you think, now, what
you've heard. That's one of my first lines back in
the day with the Rays. I put it on a sweatshirt.
At that point, it was like two thousand and five,
six whatever. I was concerned with the fact that everybody's
regurgitating everything, and even today I think it's gotten even worse.
But I really prefer the person that does me what
they think, not what they've heard. And I think in

today's world, most of what we hear from other people
under the assumption or the way they want to present
it as though it's something that they've thought of, that
they an original thought. It's not. It's something that they've heard,
So tell me what you think, not what you've heard.

Speaker 1 (01:18):
I love that line and we will get to the
rock and roll portion of this show in a minute.
But first I want to talk to you, Joe about
another one of your passions, and that's hitting. And I
know you've done a lot of hitting instruction all the
way over to Europe and in the minor leagues. Our
subject here with hitting today is when good hitters go bad.
And listen, it happens to everybody. Everybody goes into a

slump at some point. But in this twenty twenty four
baseball season, we are now almost fifty games into this season,
so you're starting to see something that to me sounds
more like a trend than a slump. Usually slumps don't
last two months. But I want to talk to you,
Joe about and your thoughts about slumps and when good

hitters are slumping specific and there's a bunch of guys.
I think I've got about eight guys who's slugging percentage
is down more than one hundred and fifty points this year,
and we'll dive into what the heck is going wrong
with some of these guys. First of all, your thoughts
on when good hitters slump. Is it something you just
don't worry about at all because they have track records,

or does it get your attention?

Speaker 2 (02:27):
Depends if there's an injury involved, or if there is
age involved, then it would get my attention. If there's
no injury in age is not necessarily involved, then it
doesn't so much get my attention. So that's it. In
other words, of a guy still you know, relatoly young,
and you know, still got the thing going on, and
he's not been hurt. I'm pretty patient with that, and
I think we're going to figure this out. He's going

to come out of it. However, if something has happened
over the last year, a dramatic difference in how he moves. Again,
just the age consideration. Is he coming off an injury
or has he got an injury that he's really not
Nobody really knows about it. Think chronic that's something an
annoying then then you know it could it could be
something more lasting in today's game. I'm not so sure about.

I mean, that's I'm sure of that, but then there
might be an added layer of We've talked about this
a lot. The analytical component of the game where hitters
have had no advantages at all with the analytics that
have been put forth. I'll argue that with anybody that
could talk about all the different videos and machines and
getting up there and hitting and the machine throws something

comparable to Greg Maddox as you're watching before the game begins,
and I don't think that has any really lasting substance
to it, because the pictures have so much know what
the hitter does not do well with, and that's what
they're attacking, and then they're attacking it with like their
pictures are being formed at the point where there's even

more break, greater velocity, more movement, and again they're they're there, well,
they'll they'll prefer just walking you as opposed to giving
in on any account either. So there's there's so much
advantage to a pitcher in today's game over a hitter,
just in regards to preparation and then when it comes
down to physical ability. So I think all these things

are conspiring to make it difficult.

Speaker 1 (04:15):
All right, what we're gonna do is we're gonna look
at individual hitters. I'm talking star hitters too, whose numbers
are way down, and I'll give you some some numbers
that maybe give us a clue to what's going on,
and you can give me your thoughts about whether there's
concern or not. And I'm gonna start with the guy
who's got the biggest drop in slugging percentage from last
year to this year. And it's shocking to me because

he was the MVP of the World Series in the ALCS.
Corey Seeger slugging percentage is down two seventy two. Check
this out, Joe Against four seam fastballs, Corey Seeger is
really struggling. He's hitting a buck forty three with one
seventy one slugging percentage on four seam fastballs. His slugging

on force seemers last year was six fifteen. Now, he
did have an injury, you know, before spring training, a
little bit late getting started. Maybe that's got something to do.
But Corey Seeger ken hit a four seam fastball, What
the heck's going on?

Speaker 2 (05:14):
Especially elevated I mean for a left handed hit, or
he could really get to an elevated fastball. He kind
of lays back on his back side and gives you
that little bit of an upper swing to even an
elevated fastball. What's going on? That is really curious. You
did mention somewhat of an injury, then the next thing,
I'm just you know, Other than that, he's definitely not

old coming off of a long year. I mean, there's
still a little bit of a World series residue I
think floating around. I always argue that that is a
concern or a problem. That's why it's so difficult for
teams to repeat. So is he attaching himself to information?
Maybe he's looking sophomore often it sounds like that to
me a little bit. He's afraid to commit to the fastball.

Possibly is he being fed all this kind of stuff.
That just be a curiosity thing for me. If in
fact that, or if he's trying to change something within
this way for whatever reason, somebody may come up to
him and say, listen, you should try this. You're gonna
be even better. And that's I've seen that happen also,
And sometimes we try to get too smart. So just

grasping around trying to figure it out. I would say
I'd be interested to see if any of those things
were in play, because listen, he is that good. I
walked in with the basis loaded a couple of years
ago he was that hot, that good, that whatever. So
I would bet there's something bothering him that's not permitting
him to get to the fastball right now. Whatever the

injury was, number one, number two, he's got to He
might be sitting sophomore. Maybe he thought he thinks he's
gonna get pitched too softly, and he's in the maybe mode,
and there's it gonna be fastball, he's gonna be a
breaking ball. And if you're sitting soft, then it comes
at you hard. It's hard to catch up. So I'd
be curious. But for me, there might be several different
reasons why he's in this particular juncture.

Speaker 1 (07:00):
Yeah, and good point about the sort of year after
a for World champions World Series teams that next year
really do get off the gate slowly. You've lived at Joe,
You've seen it with a couple of teams. It just
it to me. It's happened so many times. I do
think it's real. I think it's more of a mental
letdown than anything. Maybe there's something physical with pitchers. You

can pitch you know that seventh month, but it's a
real big deal. I remember Terry Francona after the sixteenth season,
where his team played during the World Series. He talked
about the mental grind that you play that month of baseball.
Every game is exciting, that the crowds are filled, every
pitch counts, and then you come back to next year,
and not that you're not trying hard, but the amount

of energy and the mental focus just isn't there, especially
when you're playing games in April and May. You know,
it's a long season. The crowds aren't as big. You know,
losses aren't as crucial as they are in October. It's
just a little bit of a mental letdown. So you know, listen,
Texas is hanging in there right around five hundred. They
should be better. No one's running away with that division,

so they're in good shape. But we've seen this happen
a lot.

Speaker 2 (08:06):
Yeah, that's that's all part of it. You're absolutely right. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (08:09):
Now I want to move on to another guy who
strangely is having trouble with fastballs, and it's Ronald Acunya Junior.
His slugging percentage is down two hundred and fifty four points,
and I looked at the numbers. He's actually seeing more
fastballs he's gone from fifty eight percent to sixty five percent.
That's a really high number. Sixty five percent fastballs in
today's game, only two home runs off heaters and a

three twenty three slug against heaters. Last year it was
like seeinger over six hundred and Last year Ronald did
a great job. He cut his strikeout rate almost in half.
Well that's not the case this year. The strikeouts are
way up for Ronald Cunya Junior. He has not got
going yet. He still has ways to impact the game.
We know that. Am I worried about Ronald Acunya Junior. No,

He's one of the most talented players in the game.
But again, Joe, it's odd for me to see a
guy getting fed fastballs and he's not really doing damage
with them.

Speaker 2 (09:02):
This I agree. I mean I've seen that. You know,
it happened to Mike Trot a little bit too when
I was there also that. And again I think this
is the residue of this analytical scouting that occurs, and
then how it's being passed on to the pitchers. As
you know historically, you know, you went off the advanced
scout down and a way up and in they say
you know, throw the ball down and away, break the

ball up and in fastball, move them off the plate.
Blah blah blah. And that was kind of a generic
scot report given back then. But now you can be
a lot more specific. Now if if Seger's late on
a fastball, and if Acuna is late on a fastball,
they're going to see fastballs. In the past, historically they're
not only because they are who they are. So a
pitchers and a catcher is not going to believe that

we could just keep throwing fastballs by these guys. We
got to throw something else. You speed up their bat,
you throw something soft, you throw a breaking ball, striking
all of a sudden poom, there it goes. And you
can not convince yourself as a catcher or a pitcher
that it was the right thing to do, in other words,
to keep throwing this sky fastballs, this prolific hitter. But
now you can validate that until they both show that

we're going to start catching up the velocity. And then
even more specifically with velocity, what velocity are they not
getting ninety four, ninety five, ninety six, whatever, And who
are my pitchers that particularly night, whether it's started or
relieve it could be that specific to be fed to
the picture catcher during the course of the game. So
I think all of these things are in play. All
these factors are in play. Until these guys start turning

fastballs around, they're going to keep seeing them. And again
I think it's because of the way scouting occurs now.
You can be so specific pitchers all the advantage where
with the throw and where to throw at defense, where
to stand hitters reactionary. These hitters are probably dying for
a break and ball strike to be able to feel
that they could catch up to it. They ain't gonna

see it. They're not going to see it till they
prove they can hit the fastball.

Speaker 1 (10:51):
So Corey Seeger has the biggest decline in slug this year,
Ronald Cuney Junior, fourth biggest and fifth biggest. And it's
a similar story here is Corbyn Carroll down two hundred
and forty six points on flug. And I'll go back
to your point, Joe about the scouting reports. Last year.
He had a great year, is no question about it.
But he did have a hole at the top of
the zone on fastballs and they're preying upon that for

this year, Corvin Carroll's hitting one seventy against fastballs. Now,
it's interesting he knows that. And recently he talked about
how his stroke had become and his words, too flat,
which I had not heard before, but it's an interesting concept,
and trying to get on top of the fastballs, he
was flattening out his stroke. And when you think about it,

in the old Ted Williams theory that the path of
your bat should be matching the path of the pitch.
If it is too flat, you're not going to get it.
You know, it's got to be a little bit of
uprise to that path, even at the top of the zone.
But Corvin Carroll has worked trying to have his swing
get back to where it was and not. He thinks
he overcompensated because he knew he was getting all these

high fastballs and he, as he said, flattened it out
too much, which I had not heard before. Interesting to me.

Speaker 2 (12:06):
Well, yeah, and what that does then it opens up
to a lot of other stuff. Now you're saying he's
missing the basketball. But if you get too flat left
handed hitter from a right handed pitcher, you're really got
a huge hole underneath you. That breaking ball at your
back foot really becomes problematic. So you try to do
fix one thing, and the other thing kind of opens up.
Erstad Darren was hot two hundred and forty hits one year.

His hole was down and in a little because his
swing was so flat, but he could back spin. Wow,
he could backspin a baseball as well as I've seen.
That was in the mid nineties, early two thousands, and
so he started trying to compensate and cover the pitch
down and in, and when he did that, his sowing
can develop more tilt and lift on that side. So

all of a sudden he was able to maybe pull
more pitches underneath them towards the hole, but he lost
this ability to really make pitchers duck, I mean duck
with some tremendous backspin back up the middle. And I
try to encourage him even on the ball down an
into state inside it and take it back up the
middle as a try as opposed to try to pull
it only because that's who he was. That's who he was.

Some guys need to pull that ball downe and in
because they can't drive it back through the middle. So
I having I'd have to watch Carol a little bit more,
but it sounds like too flat. Possibly, But if he's
not catching up or hitting the fastball, then he's really
opening himself up to a lot of other things, I
would imagine, and that's maybe part of his problem.

Speaker 1 (13:31):
Also, you know, I had not thought of that till
you mentioned it. I do see similarities between Erstad and
Corbyn Carroll. I mean, you wouldn't say they had the
most gorgeous swings in the world. I mean great players
speed part of their game, definitely power as well, but
sometimes a little bit of an unusual swing it can
go sideways. I'm not sure if you thought Ersty was

that same way, but great player, but as you know,
he had his ups and he had his downs.

Speaker 2 (13:57):
Oh yeah, Ersty was. He'd liked to guess a little bit,
you know. He actually I was part of that. The
year he had all those hits. We would sit down
before the game and literally try to guess or figure
out exactly what that picture was going to do that
night versus him, and then he would you know, kind
of cheat to that area. And not that he needed
to cheat, because he was definitely quick enough, but just
really try to gain an advantage, and we just happened

to guess a lot that year, and then when you
get to the point where maybe you're guessing wrong, that
it becomes confusing a bit. So Ersty had that short,
choppy I mean, Hansy Wow, Hansey's and the guy had
like such an intense appearance that I mean, Caroll probably
does present in some similar ways. I just haven't seen

Carol on the field in person enough. But Ersty's one
of my all time favorite baseball players as a player
and as a person and as a teammate. So maybe
I'll start watching Carol more closely. But the other thing
you're talking about everybody's we get beat on fastballs all
of a sudden, isn't this year the breaking ball?

Speaker 1 (14:56):
Yeah, it's supposed to be.

Speaker 2 (14:57):
Part of what we had talked about earlier was the
Red Sox success based on the proliferation of their breaking
ball usage. And I thought, wow, that's kind of interesting,
because I would believe if you're sitting breaking ball, that's
easier to hit than sitting a really good fastball, especially
with the velocity that we have today. So I don't

know if it's like something that's being presented to these
guys before the game, if they're up there breaking ball
in their head because we're seeing more breaking balls and
all of a sudden the fastball becomes more of a weapon.
It's a back and forth constantly. So I'm sure as
the year plays out things these things are going to change,
But that would be my curiosity right there.

Speaker 1 (15:36):
Yeah, I actually like that theory. I think there's a
lot of that going on here where you know, we
talk a lot about the fastball rate is the lowest
that's ever been in the history of this game. So
the idea of something off speed coming has definitely been
planted and hitter as heads and when they do get fastballs,
they're not catching up. I doubt there's a lot of
guys sitting on off speed unless it's a very specific

count situation. But yeah, I think that's a good working
theory in general about some of these guys getting beat
with fastballs. Sure, I got one more guy for you
here who's in the top ten dropping slugging percentage, and
again to me, it's an unusual swing path and set up,
and that's Matt Olsen of the Braves. When you look
at his numbers, he's struggled against breaking balls, four seen fastballs,

his slugging percentage is down almost two hundred and fifty points.
Power has not been there, Joe. You've seen this guy hit.
You know, he'll start with his hands away from the body.
He's got a little bit of a loop in the swing.
He's also a tinkerer to me. To my eye, his
swing and set up look a little bit different. After
he had really an MVP quality season last year with

fifty four home runs, he has not been right and
he has been a streaky hitter. He's the pure power guy.
He's not going to hit hit three hundred, but it's
hard to see him struggle for as long as he
has without the power. Matt Olsen again, an unusual swing,
I would say, or a different kind of swing just
not working so far.

Speaker 2 (17:01):
Big fan right there, Man, this guy is so goodness.
Guy hits lefties. I mean, actually, there's there has been
no advantage bringing a lefty in to face him. There
was no advantage at all. So go ahead, bring in
your lefty. You know, the manager just going to make
the move based on that's what you're supposed to do.
I think there's times this guy likes a lefty and
I don't even know what's happening, right is he's seeing

more righties out of the bullpen also right now, because
sometimes a lefty needs a lefty to get back on track,
believe it or not, especially a guy that hits him
so well like he does. A couple years ago in Oakland,
he went south a little bit too. There was a
time I remember, I can't remember the year, but things
just weren't playing for him either. And then I next

year we come back and all of a sudden, I mean,
he ain't missing nothing. So maybe it's just something that
he goes through on occasion where he will go through
some funk. But I would say, if I'm facing him
right now, I definitely put a righty on him, because
this guy needs some lefties to really get back. Stay
on the on the plane with the ball, better get
back in the left center field gap or just the

middle of the ballpark in general, because he listen, he
pulls a left and he beat us my first year
and twenty twenty, Milner comes in relief bases loaded, ninth
inning boom. I mean, upper tank left on left, there's
no advantage, So stay with him. I'm that much of
a fan of his. I think he's that good. But
I'd be curious what's going on the plane of his swing.

Are they getting underneath them all of a sudden, get
a left just and if they're pitching more rightis against him?

Speaker 1 (18:34):
Because I would we're talking about when good hitters go bad.
We're going to take a quick break and we get back.
I want to ask Joe on our list. There's a
one of his former players on the lists, and he
knows him well, so I'll give us an insight on
what has gone wrong. We'll do that right after this.

Joe mentioned, one of your former players is on our
list of guys with a really big decline in slugging
percentage so far this year, and it's Nick Castillanos. You
had him with the Cubs. He's a little bit different hitter.
We all know his power really is to right center.
But you look at his numbers this year and against

secondary pitches, breaking balls and off speed. He's hitting a
buck twenty five against breaking pitches this year. He's hitting
one ten eight for seventy three against breaking pitches. You know,
Nick is a different can be a streaky hitter. He's
a different kind of hitter. You've seen it. I'm not
sure if he had trouble with breaking stuff. When you

saw him, Joe, I mean he can be. I've seen
him take sliders out the other way. Of course, give
me your thoughts on Nick Castillanos and why he might
be struggling against off speed.

Speaker 2 (19:54):
Chase except your walks. It's I mean, when he's going
better for me, he's not chasing that thing down down
in a way. It's just he's he got his propensity
to do that. He gets in the swing mode. When
he gets in swing mode, he's really easy to pitch too.
If he fouls off his fastball, doesn't hit it hard
and keep it fair, that's it. He ain't going to

see another one. So it's all about Chase. It's all
about accepting his walks. Nick is a doubles machine, as
we all know. I've never been on the field with
somebody that hits line gap gap line as often as
he does. It's so crazy how the ball never goes
at an outfielder when he's right the other on the
right field line, left field line. But and Thatchle, like

you said, I could be fastball or breaking ball. To me,
the biggest thing with him is wolf And I usould
say to a lot of my hitters, when you're walking,
you're hitting, just meaning that you're going to see better
pitches to work with. When somebody's chasing in chase mode
and somebody's out of the zone all the time, pitches aren'tdumb.
I mean, we just talked about that, you're not going
to see the pitch that you can drive. So before

he really starts hitting again, he's got to start walking
some he's not a walker. I understand that he wants to.
He loves to swing, but he's got to become a
little bit more patient, except as walks create more of
a finite strike zone to start getting back to the
pitches that he can hit for his doubles and more.
That's exactly what I see. It'll happen. He will get
to the point where he'll start seeing it sooner, see

the spin better, and he's a layoffer for me. Guys
like Nikki I would as a hitting coach. I take
him out, I put him on the field with the
pitching machine, breaking ball machine, and I have it start
from strike ball. I wanted to see strike ball break,
and then I wanted to see ball strike break, and
just to really re emphasize to him, he knows this.
Of course he knows this. These guys get in the

habit sometimes they just want to swing and they get
in chase mode. And that's where he's at.

Speaker 1 (21:45):
Yeah, especially on first pitches. I mean, he is one
of the most aggressive swinging hitters on first pitches in
the game. And he's behind the count so many times.
It's all wanting to blink of an eye and not
necessarily strikes that he's swinging at first pitch, So that
would be a good place to start another guy. He's
got an unusual approach. Boba shit. I mean, I thought

when he came up, Joey looked at me like almost
like a Pete Rose type where this guy is gonna
get two hundred hits a year, loves to swing the bat.
He's always had a high chase rate. He's got an
unusual way of swinging. He's heavy, rotational. He's a great
opposite field hitter, but the slugging percentage is way down.
He's got like no damage to the pole side of

the field. And what I see is teams are pounding
him in with velocity inside fastballs to tie him up
because he does like to shoot the ball the other way.
Even if it's middle, he's going to shoot the ball
the other way. But that rotational swing that he has,
sometimes he's a little bit tardy and he's not getting
the bat head out to do any damage to the
pulse side, So he's essentially using half the field. And

the guy with a sky high chase rate his whole career,
you know, he's getting burned sometimes. So listen. I look
at Toronto and I've never been really as high on
their offense as a lot of people have been. But
I mean Bashett and La Guerrero, there's a lot of
ground balls, there's not as much damage as people think. Bobaschett,
to me, he should be a repeater, a guy who

has a lot of hits, as I said, year in
year out. Just not happening for him this year. And
I think pictures have adjusted on him.

Speaker 2 (23:17):
That had his daddy. I mean, you're talking about Dante
a little bit. Although Dante wasn't over rotational. Dante would
stay through the middle of the ballpark, great to right center.
Rick Dan was his hitting coach. I was his afterward
hitting coach, and it was always about that. I remember
throwing bpt to Dante in Jackson Mississippi on a hot,
humid day and we're there and the drill. I used

to do what Dante was. I want to hit one
out to right center. Then I wanted to pull a ball.
It went out to right center. Then pull a ball.
I remember throwing the ball and I could literally see
like water flying off my hand. And he was doing
it so well. Poem right center out and Jackson wasn't easy.
And then he would rip one of the left side.
So there's a lot of hereditary factors going on here.

What you're talking about with Bo, Yeah, he's gonna want
to swing, because again that's that's what a bashet is.
They like to swing the bat. When you talked about
get jammed up. And I haven't watched him often enough,
but if it is that bad, there's a couple things.
Get off the plate, possibly get off the plate A
or B. Get your back foot closer to the plate.
See what happens is wherever you're standing, your front foot's

going to go to the spot on the ground where
it thinks it needs to be to cover the outside corner.
It just doesn't. It has a brain. Your left foot
has a brain. Right hand hitter, and it's going to
go there to cover. But sometimes if your right foot's
so far off the plate, your left foot drives so
much you start blocking out your backside. Your hands go
away and you really can't get your backside through. So

for me, the adjustments a lot of time, or not
most of the time. Get your right foot in little
micro adjustments closer to the plate, and when you do that,
when your front foot lands, it's not going to be
so extreme closed, which blocks out your backside in your hands.
So I'd be curious to watch all that as if
he's getting jammed up like that, it sounds like he's
diving a lot. And again that is his strength is

to go the other way. But we're talking about the
way these guys are pitching and what they know. Now
he's not going to see that. I don't know how
if he does, he get hit with pitches off in
It sounds like he might. I don't know that for
a fact, but I would really look into that. Get
your back foot closer to the plate, which then permits
your stride to be more direct line with the pitcher,

and then because of that, your hands and your backside
become more active.

Speaker 1 (25:29):
Yeah, I would think with his style of hitting you know,
the right on right two seemer In on the hands
gives him a lot of trouble. And then for a
guy who likes the swing that opens up the outside
part of the plate with breaking stuff, here's another guy
on my list. Here again we're talking about good hitters
gone bad. Slugging percentage way down this year from where
it was last year. And I'm surprised he's on the

list because I thought, again he's a repeater type guy
where you don't worry about him, your Don Alvarez. I mean,
he hits lefties as well as anybody you talk about
Matt Olsen. We've seen guys bring lefties in, do you
or Non Alvarez and get absolutely burned. He's got tremendous
balance at the plate. I rarely see him on his

front foot, but Joe, this year against breaking pitches, he
has no home runs. His lugging percentage on breaking stuff
this year is two forty five. I mean, it's just
amazing to me to see. For again, I've always thought
Jordan had some of the best balance in the batter's
box that I've seen. He fills up the box. He's intimidating,

doesn't give ground. But it's just not happening so far
this year.

Speaker 2 (26:36):
Brother, I have I've had him in my top ten
from twenty twenty whatever I first laid eyes on him.
This guy's that good, he's that scary. He's like a
bigger version of Chili Davis. He just hit from one side,
but when I see him standing up there, he's got
the kind of Chili stance, Chili sensibilities at the plate.
I mean, you talk about competing and just this unbelievable

ability to make adjustments. So the fact that he hasn't
this point is kind of interesting. And also again you
talk about fatigue from playing and playing and playing in
the most critical times of the year, and all of
a sudden, it's still at that point where the games
don't mean enough yet, And they will because they're starting
to pick up a little bit Houston and he will.

This guy hits lefties so well, just like Olson, there's
no advantage in Tucker. There's another guy in that lineup
there with Houston that hits lefties so well that there's
no advant advantage at all for bringing in the left
haender to face these guys. If he's chasing break in balls,
that's just a focus thing or concentration thing. To me,
he'll get beyond that because he can. He hits them,

hits them really far, hits any and he hits them
the left center when it's there, you know, reachable away,
and then gosh, if the if you if you leave
them over the play at all, they're going so far
to right field. I would not worry about this, fellaw.
I'm that big of a fan of him and Olson.
I think a little bit is playoff fatigue. Uh. They
need a little bit more adrenaline going right now, and

I think when you see that, they're going to up
and really take off like they had in the past,
again without injury. I'm not worried about either one of
those guys.

Speaker 1 (28:10):
Yeah, I'm with you, and you're done. Last year, this
is amazing hitting against breaking stuff. He hit three twenty three.
I mean, nobody hits over three hundred against breaking stuff.
The major league average is about to twelve, way beyond
that last year. He's down the two to eight this year,
so that's going to change. And by the way, if
you look in your rear view mirror if you're Seattle,

you see Houston coming. For all people who thought Houston
was buried in the first month of the season. That's
slow out of the gate. No, they're gonna be just fine.
I think they're gonna be a great second half team.
It reminds me a lot of your some of the
teams you had, especially in Chicago, where once these guys
have done it. And listen, they've done it year after
year after year. There's no panic, not that any team

really panics, but they know this team is built for
the long haul. They know the length of the season.
They're too talented. They're back in it. So if people
thought Houston was going away, they were absolutely wrong.

Speaker 2 (29:01):
This year, correct. I mean, there's no doubt about that.
I've been watching the whole thing unfold, and they do
look a lot at the previous year's playoff teams what
the Yankees have done this year because of the tough
year they've had last year. They're so motivated right now.
My god. They they heard about it, They read about
it every time they have their wheaedies in the morning.
They thought about it some more the entire offseason. All

of a sudden, here here it comes, and they're they're
so mentally focused in sharp right now, and that is
the residue of a tough year the previous year, whereas
teams that have been good and consistently good. Now the
Phillies maybe an anomaly. I like, I just love the
Phillies grit. I love the way this group. I know
Schwerber as an example, I know him and I know
Harp a little bit. They're just got this thing on.

Unplus their healths such a high level of accountability by
the fan base there in Philadelphia, so you know, teams
like Houston you don't have that same kind of you know,
push from the fan base. They you know, they a
little bit nice compared to what Philadelphia might be. So
they're gonna come back. They're gonna come back, and yeah,
they're definitely gonna press shadow there. They have to get

their pictures healthy. My god. I mean, these guys have
been doing this whole time without a large number of
their better pitchers, and they're still holding it together nicely,
and they're going to get over this malaise and they're
going to start playing like Houston can play. There's no
doubt in my mind they will be there at the
end of the year. All these guys that we're worried
about right now, will by the end of the season
start resembling the back of their bubblegum cards again, because

they're not old and they're not hurt.

Speaker 1 (30:26):
One more for you, Joe, and it's Julio Rodriguez. He's
got two home runs. I mean, we're forty seven games
into the season for Seattle and just two home runs.
And it's interesting when I was looking at his advanced metrics,
the overall numbers, he's hitting the ball just as hard,
he's not chasing as much. He's actually hitting more line drives.

His expected slugging percentage is the same as what it
was last year. And that's a measurement of how hard
you hit the ball and what angle you hit it.
So you have to dive a little deeper into what's
going on. And what's happening is he's lost his pull
side power. He has no home runs to the pole
side of the field. This lugging percentage is down under
three hundred to the pole side of the field. He's

what he's doing is he's drifting a little bit. You know,
it can happen in time to time, but now this
has been you know, getting into his second month. Here
where a guy where we saw his first two years.
He's one of only three active players with sixty homers
and sixty doubles in his first two years. Josea Brew
and Chris Bryant were the other two to do that.
And what we're not seeing is the pole side power

from Julio Rodriguez. Again, he's hitting the ball hard, and
he's hitting actually more line drives. But to elevate the ball,
to stay behind the ball, click it out front, it's
just not happening for him right now. What would you
do in a case like that?

Speaker 2 (31:47):
Yeah, the biggest Again, that sounds like it's going to
change of its own volition. Also, I believe what you
do with something like that, And you gotta be careful
if he's hitting the ball that well, that hard, you
don't want to put a whole lot of thoughts into
his head. The biggest thing would be, like in a
batting practice, even you know, I would put a batting
tea on the field. Actually, in situations like this, I

take the tea out there and I move the tee
around like you can imagine the ball inside of a
strike insider slightly off the plate inside as a longer
swing with less time to make up your mind. Then
you move the ball back to the middle. It's a
little bit shorter swing with more time to make up
your mind. Then you put the ball off the outside edge,
and then you have more time to think about and

a shorter swing to make up your mind what you
want to do with it. So right now, he's just
maybe just focusing on the middle more. I mean, it
might be part of what he's been trying to do.
It might have been a goal of his this season.
If he is striking out less and making more contact,
that sounds to me like it was a gold driven
or oriented for him. So in order to get back

to the pull side power, he just just has to
see where do I need to make contact on this
pitch without jumping, with letting the ball come to me,
letting stay back, and still permitting the ball middle to
travel and definitely the ball away to travel even far
there in order to get the desired results. So I
think he's done something different intentionally from what you're saying
to me, because overall it's the same hitter, which just

not pulling the ball as often. Last point has been
playing in colder weather. I don't know, has the weather
been different this year? Has it just been off a
little bit? Who knows? Is he hit some balls well
that have gotten held up in some strong wins. I'd
be curious, because even a couple home runs like that
will make a guy change his mind, or is confidence
level will begin to store just because the ball went
over the wall or it did not.

Speaker 1 (33:34):
Well, it's interesting here. First of all, they need Julio
to hit home runs because this team is hitting two
twenty eight and they strike out more than any team
in baseball. So listen, I love their pitching. Everybody loves
their pitching. They're filled with just absolute strike throwing machines
with swing and miss stuff. Great. That keeps them at
every game. But their path to win that they have

to hit home runs because they just don't put the
ball in play enough. You're punching out ten to eleven
times a night. That's a lot of empty at bats.
There's few rallies, so you need people on base, you
need home runs. This guy should be a thirty home
run hitter. I think he will be. What's interesting Joe
is that he has started slowly in each of his
first two seasons, and Scott's service told me what's gotten

him right believe it or not, is the home run
derby where, let's face it, you need to stay behind
the baseball. You're trying to hit the ball out of
the park. And you look at his lugging percentage, it's
more than one hundred points higher in the second half
of seasons. Obviously, that's following the home run derby's that
he's been in. And it's interesting because the home run
derby has gotten this myth that it'll ruin your swing,

which is a bunch of balogey. But in this case,
Scott's Service just half jokingly said that the home run
derby has actually helped hould you over Adriguz, because, let's
face it, to hit the ball out of the park,
to try to hit a home run, you have to
stay behind the baseball. You can't drift.

Speaker 2 (34:55):
Well, then again, he might have some built in governors
that he's trying to do to stay inside the ball line,
drives the right center and then maybe all of a
sudden he just rids himself of those thoughts. Like you said,
it's in there. The power, the ability, this guy is phenomenal.
It'll eventually show up. But like you said, the home
run derby stuff gosh. I mean, once something a narrative

is created, it's incredible how it gains momentum, even though
it has no substance whatsoever, zero and not always. It
used to amaze me. It no longer amazes me, but
I could see that it's no different than like, I'm
gonna go out and play golf. Pretty soon, you know,
I'm gonna get so upset with how crappy I'm driving
to bominous can eventually say screw it. I'm gonna hit
it as hard as I possibly can. And I think

that's that kind of method mechanics plays in every sport
that you're swinging something because you get frustrated, You get
frustrated with not doing what you normally do, and then
you just caution into the wind SAE kind of screw it,
and you go ahead and just let it happen, become
more athletic and not so intentional.

Speaker 1 (35:59):
All these guys we talked about here are great hitters,
and you figure they're on their side that they're going
to get back to the usual level that they've established
in the big leagues. My question for you, Joe, is
whether you've been around somebody who's been a good hitter
and just has a year that goes sideways that for
whatever reason, whether it's batting average on balls and play,

is unlucky that swing mechanics got in the way and
they never got it back, just kind of got underwater
early in the season and never recovered. I'm talking about
a good hitter. When a good hitter goes bad for
a whole season, have you seen something like that.

Speaker 2 (36:34):
Well, Kb's done that more recently, you know, because when
KB first came up, I mean obviously the Hall of
Fame plaque was already being chiseled at that particular time
based on the first couple of years. So in over
a short period of time, KB has kind of regressed.
Obviously we talked about him a couple of weeks ago,
and he's had several injuries too to contribute to all

of that. But he and then Hobby, I mean, look
at what Hobby. Where Hobby's at right now. There was
no more influential player on that CUB team for me
when I first got there than him. I remember my
first ring training. I remember talking to Dio and others
and I said, I know you know about his hitting,
and I know that it's we're not quite sure what
he's going to do, but I know we're also a

better team with him on the FIELDY have a better
chance to win when he's on the field because he's
such a great baseball athlete. However, you're seeing what's going
on with his hitting right now. I don't know if
it's the Detroit Ballpark, I don't know. I just don't
know where he's at mentally. But there's two guys that
you know, Hobby never really achieved great numbers, but really
he was a very good offensive player, and so is KB.

So just in my own backyard, I'm looking at two
guys there specifically that in the beginning it was like
I can't miss kind of a thing, and then it
wasn't so much so, And I do believe a big
part of that is analytics regarding what to throw these
guys where not to make a mistake with Hobby again,
do not just make him chase Nikki Castellanos, make him

chase KB eventually down in a way break ball, let
him roll it over. When you get that kind of
certain information, then there's no ambibolist. This is what I'm
gonna throw. And you've told this no, no, no, no, just
stay with it. You don't have to try to change
things up here. Just stay with these pitches in this
method until they prove you otherwise. And these guys have
been victimized by it.

Speaker 1 (38:21):
Well, Joe, we started talking about originals, and when we
get back after this quick break, I want to talk
about a manager and a rock and roller who are
both originals, and do that right after this, Joe. I'm

glad we have Ron Washington around. He makes me smile
all the time. He loves the game. His passion is unquestionable.
But it's interesting, and I think we talked about this
before with Mike Trout taking a called third strike to
end a game. You know, there was a situation here
where last week Ron Washington put the squeeze play on

the left handed hitter in the box against the left
handed sinker ball pitcher. The hitter was Luis Gillormey. Basses
loaded eighth inning, one out down. One didn't like the matchup.
It's already a one zero count. I was trying to
avoid a double play with a sinker ball pitcher on
the mound. Calls the squeeze play makes perfect sense in
that situation. You don't see a lot with the bases loaded,

but based on the matchup it seemed to make sense. Well,
it's a sinker well down and a way out of
the zone. Gior May didn't make a great attempt at it.
The technique was not the best in the world. Tough
pitch to get down, but he missed it. Runner gets
tagged out coming home on the suicide squeeze end of rally.
Angels lose the game, and after the game it just

cracks me up. All Ron Washington basically said was he
needs to get that bunt down, which is just stating
the obvious, and the media reacts like and they did
use this phrase, Ron Washington threw him under the bus.
I mean, that's the kind of era we're in now, Joe,
where if you if you say someone didn't get the
job done, you're accused of calling him out, you know.

But thank goodness for Ron Washington by stating the obvious
and not worrying about oh am I going to be
called out myself for calling him out right.

Speaker 2 (40:23):
I mean, that's we've gotten so far away from that.
In our game. We you know, we do cover. I
mean one of the biggest things you and I've talked
about this I think we have it in the Book
of Joe. I have always felt from a manager's perspective
is that we're always there to protect. You're always there
to protect your brood. You're always there, maybe even sometimes
to make excuses for your guys just because you can,

and you take some of the heat off them, and
you'd really like for them afterwards to come out and
say no, no, no, no, that was on me. That was
my responsibility. I should have done better in that moment.
But for the most part, we as managers have really
protected a lot of guy in a lot of very
different situations, talking about end game execution or lack of it,

whether it's missing a cutoff guy, whether it's failing to
execute a sacrifice, but anything base running gas, which there's
many in today's game, but we're so careful because it's
really it's a fragile situation. Quite frankly, there are some
players out there that can deal with that and handle
with that and others that cannot. And part of the

problem with that is, again something we've talked about, is
are the allies when you do are perceived to have
called somebody out. The allies that the player might find
within the clubhouse and within the group, and then all
of a sudden you gain this cachet or this cadre
of guys that all of a sudden are like, they're
not liking you for a reason because you happen to

call out Tom Berducci over something in a way. And
then he had this ability to create this group of allies,
and all of a sudden, several or a group of
the clubhouse guys are adverse and and that's that's tough.
So honestly, you keep all that stuff in mind. But
you know, with WASH's perspective, I know Wash very well.

He was just saying, like you said, stating the obvious,
saying what he believed in the moment. As the manager
of the team. Back in the day, you know, we
we got called out a lot. It wasn't so much
that you were called out publicly, obviously, or as a
minor league player and as a minor league manager, and
that whatever. Our conversations with the players were more among

the players, and so if you did it that way,
it wasn't as obtrusive in a sense where the player
would be offended or hurt. But in this situation today,
you do. I'm just telling you it's going to happen.
It's it's not only about the player becoming offended. It's
about the allies that he might grab along the way.
That makes it a lot more difficult within that clubhouse.

Speaker 1 (43:00):
Yeah, because that ally is thinking maybe I'm the next one.
Here's the exact quote, you know, asked by reporters after
the game about playing the first squeeze there. He didn't
do the job. It ain't anything I did wrong. He
didn't do the job. Now you can see as a manager,
you know, a tough loss you had to play on,
you thought you would work. And I think when he

put the spotlight on himself and say, hey, it wasn't me,
I didn't do anything wrong, that's probably what turned more
people to get at least raise an eyebrow.

Speaker 2 (43:30):
No different than having a hobby attempt to safety squeeze
on a full count in Cleveland and then Game seven
of the World Series. You know, it's just it's like
wash saw something and it's the it's the Don Zimmer
moment right where Zim taught me. If it comes to
your mind, you think it's the right thing to do,

do it. And part of it is a couple of
things had to happen there, Wash had to think about it,
he had to give the sign in time to the
third base coach. A third base coach how to get
the sign and then relay it to the hitter because
this is an unusual play. So from that perspective, a
lot of for me, a lot of good things happened.
Everything worked, and then what didn't work is the execution
didn't occur. But yes, I'm sure he probably alerted these

guys in advance we might do something like this and
just be heads up for it. I would bet that
the player probably said, you know what, that's fine, do it.
I'll be ready for it, I'll get it done. That's
the kind of conversation that happens in advance of these moments.

Speaker 1 (44:30):
Yeah, and let's not lose perspective here because it's been
a rough year for the Angels. They've had a ton
of injuries. You're trying to win a game anyway that
you can. You know, it's like an undermanned football team.
If you're trying to beat a better team, straight up,
it's not going to happen. So you're gonna have to
maybe throw in a trick play or have a junk
defense or something different. So Ron Washington should be trying

these things. Through forty seven games, the Angels record has
only been worse in nineteen sixty one, nineteen sixty four,
and nineteen sixty nine. That's how reugh it's been for
the angel And obviously they miss Mike Trout rendon and
on and on and on. But listen, if Ron Washington
wants to run a play that's an unusual one based

on where the Angels are going here, I have no
problem with him trying something outside the box.

Speaker 2 (45:19):
Exactly what I would do. I mean, when you get
to that point exactly right, they've literally got nothing to
lose and you're looking to garner some momentum in the
situation right there. So that's when you do try to
do something differently. You know, whether it's like putting one
of my power hitters in the leadoff spot, whatever, it's
maybe it's not so obvious or so controversial, but you

do different things in order to get this thing moving
in the right direction. It could be the Ed Hardy
road trip when you see Don zimmer Citty next to
you on an airplane flying with the race to a
playoff situation. Wow, that definitely gets everybody stirred up. So
when you are in these moments, conventional wisdom really doesn't work.

Speaker 1 (46:01):
Thinking outside the box. And that brings me to the
Moody Blues and Mike Pinder, the last surviving original member
of the Moody Blues, passed away last month at the
age of eighty two. What I like about his story,
Joe is he was one of the first adopters of
this instrument called the melotron, where that unusual sound, sort

of orchestral sound the Moody Blues had was from this.
It was actually a new instrument. It's sort of like
today you would call it a sampling instrument, but in
this case it was connected to an analog tape machine
where you press the key and this beautiful sound would
come out. So he was one of the first adopters
of this, and going back to their album Days of

Future Past, they kind of changed the sound of rock
and roll. They'd wound up calling it progressive rock and roll.
But that machine actually he convinced Paul McCartney and John
Lennon to use that. If you listen to Strawberry Fields
Forever in nineteen sixty seven, it's got that sound in it.
So we think about someone's career as an innovator. Sometimes
you can change the sound of music by just one thought,

one instrument, one person. And in this case, I'm not
saying he invented it, but he certainly popularized it.

Speaker 2 (47:14):
Latter day classical musical symphonies. I mean, whether it's Black, Beethoven, whatever, Wagner, whatever,
back in the day, then all of a sudden it
comes to moody blues, and here does come the Beatles,
and here does come the Stones, all the different sounds
that we heard today. The Emerson, Lake and Palmer to me,
still one of my favorites from that that era also,
and their sound was completely different too.

Speaker 1 (47:36):
Yeah you have yes, Gens.

Speaker 2 (47:40):
So I often think about that group, that that particular
era in music as the latter day classics, and the
fact that they're still played on radios or whatever your
system is right now, serious whatever really really screams at us,
doesn't it. I mean, you know, the music before that,
she's still here. You still want to hear it once
in a while. But I think this, the classical music

of that generation, in that honor is going to continue
to live on. I mean, after all, is what is
the classical station is going to be playing twenty years
from that. It's not. It's not what's going on right now.
I'm telling you that. Although everybody who had died out
and maybe there's not going to be the clamoring for it,
but there's no comparison to the musical genius of that
time to what's happening now. That everybody wrote their own music,
everybody wrote their own lyrics, everybody had their own distinctive

sound that you'd hear the first five notes of something
on a radio and you knew exactly who it was. Today,
there's not so much Knights in White Satin Wow. Anytime
I hear that comes on, I hear it coming on,
I stop. And that's that's listened to, like Tiny Dancer
or Leveon from as an example, John, I'll go back
to Satisfaction with the Rolling Stones, all these different groups

from that generation. It comes on and you got to
stop and listen to it, and you're hearing it for
the what thousand times? Maybe, but it's unique.

Speaker 1 (49:00):
It's still unique, right it is.

Speaker 2 (49:02):
That's that's it. It is exactly.

Speaker 1 (49:04):
You know the sound, Like you said, you're looking at
a car with some fins or hood ornament and you know,
or maybe it's the growl of the engine. You know,
it's unique, and I think music today, you're saying, are
they going to play it twenty years from now? Yeah,
they will because people get nostalgic. You fall in love
with songs based on your age, and as you become

an adult and you go through these milestones in life,
you associate it with certain sounds that won't change. But
I'm not sure there's going to be the same connection
to all generations. It's a very timely thing, I think
with music today because it is so disposable and it
is formulaic. I mean, we have algorithms now that tell
us what type of songs work, the length of the song,

the beat of the song, and if you want to
hit song, you follow the algorithm. And this is what
I enjoy about. In this case, the Moody Blues, the
idea of a concept album, which was Days of Future
Past that was new back then. The idea of a
concept album. I mean, you say that today to a
young person, they have no clue what you're talking about,
because don't really matter, right, It's about the hits and

having one or two hits, so what's interesting, too, Joe,
is when they're doing something this different, unusual and new,
as it turns out timeless. We didn't know that at
the time. Listen to a couple of reviews of Days
of Future Past from New York Magazine. A Ponderous Mound

of Thought Jello, A Ponderous Mound of Thought Jello, Rolling
Stone called the Moody Blues, an English rock group strangling
itself in conceptual goo. This is how it went over
at the time. Sometimes when you get outside the box.
A lot of times you get outside the box. It's
not popular, that's.

Speaker 2 (50:48):
Writing, So you got to be careful, you say. Sometimes,
and it's always when you meet with change. A lot
of times we mock what we don't understand. So whether
it's me popping off about something that I'm going to
be proven wrong in a couple of years with or not.
But that happened a lot back then. I mean that

generation prior to Like my dad when I grew my
hair a little bit long, meg, he did not like that.
When I were white shoes to play football, he did
not like that. I mean things that just on like
a visceral level that they could not deal with it,
and then again on a visceral level, I love just
the sound of that time. I didn't even have to

listen to the words. The sound of that particular era
from the sixties to the seventies. Man, does that bring
me back? You know you it's weird. I don't know
nineteen or excuse me, twenty fifteen to twenty twenty. I
can't recap that very well, but I could recap the
sixties and the seventies very well based on a song.
And it's crazy how we paid attention and how much

we felt it. We felt it, man, and even until
today when I drive my van and I got a
great sound system in there, and I'll, you know, fired
up really good and like it's like I've talked about
often driving at night by myself. Wow, it's you talk
about bringing you back in yours and there's nothing better.
There's nothing better than that. And it also if you're

a little bit of a funk, it gets you back
on track pretty well and quickly. So all about it, Man,
Moody Blues outstanding.

Speaker 1 (52:24):
So before we bring the curtain down on this episode
of the Book of Joe, let me ask you once
again to take us out here and I know you're
gonna come up with something that will not be classified
as thought jello or conceptual goo.

Speaker 2 (52:37):
Right right, And you know, something caught my eye. I
don't know if it's I'm trying to figure out if
it pertains specifically to what we're talking about today. But
it's just about communication, so maybe maybe there's something involved
in that. It's from George Wynarntshaw and I really love
this because so often, you know, we talk to somebody else,
whether it's a colleague, family member, friend, whatever, and you

thought the point was gotten across, but it wasn't. And
he said, the single biggest problem in communication is the
illusion that it has taken place. You know, we just
gloss over things so often that it doesn't stick obviously,
and then we continue on thinking that it had been
taken care of it It is not. In our game
in baseball, that's a big part of a clubhouse situation,

when there's an illusion that communication has taken place, but
really it has not. And then eventually things start to fester.
They do go sideways and you come back to the original. Well,
I thought you said something to him. I did, but
I guess he didn't understand it. So that's What really
stood out to me that communication can be an illusion

in a sense that you thought it's taken place and
it is not.

Speaker 1 (53:51):
That's a great observation. Listening is definitely a skill. Just
because you hear it does not necessarily mean you are listening.

Speaker 2 (53:58):
Seven and Garfunkle love it.

Speaker 1 (54:01):
See you next time, Joe, see your brother.

Speaker 2 (54:03):

Speaker 1 (54:15):
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Who Killed JFK?

Who Killed JFK?

Who Killed JFK? For 60 years, we are still asking that question. In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's tragic assassination, legendary filmmaker Rob Reiner teams up with award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien to tell the history of America’s greatest murder mystery. They interview CIA officials, medical experts, Pulitzer-prize winning journalists, eyewitnesses and a former Secret Service agent who, in 2023, came forward with groundbreaking new evidence. They dig deep into the layers of the 60-year-old question ‘Who Killed JFK?’, how that question has shaped America, and why it matters that we’re still asking it today.

Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang

Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang

Ding dong! Join your culture consultants, Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang, on an unforgettable journey into the beating heart of CULTURE. Alongside sizzling special guests, they GET INTO the hottest pop-culture moments of the day and the formative cultural experiences that turned them into Culturistas. Produced by the Big Money Players Network and iHeartRadio.

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