Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Master of 'Tism

DCO was privileged enough to speak with chief optimist Manny Acta last night prior to the Nationals' wild (pitch) ninth-inning win over the Pirates and their handful of transplanted fans. From our brief conversation, it is clear that ManAct keeps 'tism close to his heart. It is doubtlessly this love of optimism and, perhaps more importantly, disdain for pessimism, that has kept his team so together this season. More specifically, this attitude certainly must have contributed to the Nats keeping their heads up and pulling out a win last night, even as aspiring 'tism-crusher Adam LaRoche was erasing what was a cushy Nationals lead with his blast over the center field wall in the eighth inning. Some of those lesser teams that we've heard so much about may have crumbled, or fought each other, but not this alleged lesser team.

Optimism-haters and naysayers may attempt to chalk this one up to the usual suspects of poor competition (multiple ninth-inning walks) and dumb luck (ninth-inning, bases-loaded wild pitches), but that is of course nonsense. If not for the relentless positive attitude permeating every pore of the Nats dugout, it's likely these things would never have happened. 'Tism is not merely some freaky intangbile force, it is a practical tool that begets tangible results. Think about it. A manager blowing up at his team that just wasted a late-inning lead will send tense, and possibly angry, batters to the plate. These batters may flail away in frustration, trying to end the game themselves. However, a manager who keeps his cool and encourages his possibly shell-shocked team sends patient, confident batters to the plate, who fight back from 0-2 holes to reach base, and who don't foul off the wild pitch headed for the backstop.

Off-topic, a note to the Pirates fan who yelled "How many wins ya got?" at celebrating Nats fans last night. The answer is 24, only one fewer than those mighty Pirates, who ply the treacherous waters of the NL Central, with its one whole team playing above .500. A fine argument after a loss, sir. Let us revisit this topic in a couple of years, when The Plan has come to full fruition.

We appreciate the Master of 'Tism speaking to us, and appreciate even more that other managerial candidates made it clear early in the offseason that they did not want to come to a "non-contender" (instead choosing a mediocre pretender), opening the door for the Chair Manny era.

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