BaD Radio visits with Tom Grieve

by Dan M | Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2014

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Bob: I feel like [the All-Star break] hit at a pretty good time. That was a pretty rough homestand… Pretty close to near the bottom I would have to imagine.
Tom: That was rough. I played on the 1972 Rangers and we weren’t very good to say the very least and in  fact, if you go back and look at the offensive statistics for that team, it’s pretty mind-boggling how bad we were and the Rangers just went I think 3-22 I think to tie the worst stretch that we had in 1972, so you’re right, it has not been good at the ballpark recently.
Bob: Do you feel like the competitive battle is where it needs to be or have some of the guys who are certainly comfortable with winning baseball having a hard time giving you everything they have every night, which sometimes happens when things go really poorly?
Tom: I don’t think it’s effort and I don’t think it’s how hard they play, but they’ve got to play better. There are players who are better than the way they’re playing right now. There are players who are making careless mistakes. Balls that are falling out of gloves and plays that aren’t being made by people who are better than that and I’m going to wait and reserve judgment until after the All-Star break hoping that getting away from the ballpark for 4 or 5 days will maybe freshen everybody up a little bit, but it’s hard when you go out there and you’re not playing the way you’re capable of playing and the team is not playing very well, it wears on the players. But at the same time you’re making a lot of money and there’s a lot of people going out to watch our games. We had 40,000 people there the other day in the middle of this bad streak and so, you have to figure out a way to motivate yourself and give it the best effort you possibly capable of giving because you’re being handsomely paid to do that and people are paying a lot of money to come out and watch you. Going through the motions is not an alternative and making plays the way they’re making them right now, it can’t continue. People will say ‘Well, is the team letting Ron Washington down?’ The players love Ron Washington. He is not a problem. They love playing for him, they play hard for him. They just have to play better. They’re just not making plays they’re capable of making. You know, a couple of them ought to be embarrassed for some of the plays they’re not making
Dan: It’s interesting you mention 2 things that motivate these guys. The fact that lots of money is changing hands and you have tons of fans. Those two things I don’t think were the same in 1972. What did you motivate yourself with? You didn’t have a lot of fans coming to the ballpark I would guess and you weren’t making millions and millions of dollars.
Tom: No, and you know what, it shouldn’t take the money to motivate you. What should motivate you is pride and the fact that you’re a professional athlete and when I look back to 1972, we knew that we weren’t as good as the other teams. We didn’t have as much talent as other teams. It was obvious, but I don’t think there were very many times we went out and said ‘eh, who cares? We’re not going to win tonight,’ because at the time, most of us were trying to play well enough just to stay in the big leagues and so, the one good thing about baseball is you can play a little selfishly and it’s still good for the team. If I play well defensively and I come to bat and get a couple hits, that helps the team. I dive and make catches; that helps the team. If I pitch and strike guys out, that helps the team. So you can almost focus on yourself and play with the pride you should have for being a professional athlete to the best of your ability and not even think about the rest of the guys on the team and how they’re playing because all you can do is take care of yourself and you have to go out there and motivate yourself if for no other reason. You owe your employer a great effort for what they’re paying you. You owe a great effort to yourself to have the pride that it takes to be a professional player and that should be easy to do. You can see people play slow-pitch softball that are motivated to play. They’re sure not making any money. I’m motivated when I’m on the golf course and I stink! I want to be as good as I can be and I can hit balls all day long and I practice. So, there’s no reason to go out there with anything less than your best effort. I’m not suggesting these guys aren’t giving the effort because I think to a man, they’re giving it their best effort. They just have to play better.
Dan: Did you give the Home Run Derby any time at all?
Tom: I watched it off and on, but I still come away thinking it lasts too long. I look at some of those batting practice pitchers; they must’ve thrown 300 pitches. Not that they’re throwing hard, but still. You wait around for 45 minutes and you come back and take more swings. I wish there was a way that they could cut the time in half and still accomplish what they want to accomplish, but it’s made for TV and there’s a lot of people there watching it and evidently, there’s a great deal of interest in it. I like watching it, but to me, it’s just a little bit too long.

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