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Friday Email Bag


  by - Radio Host - Friday, March 7, 2014 9:39 AM
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Friday Email Bag
Each Friday I publish your comments and answer your questions.  To submit a comment or questions please email me at mickeyplyler@hotmail.com.

Mickey,
This past week we have heard and read about South Carolina beating us 13 of the last 16 games and 23 of the last 31 but that doesn't tell the whole story.

I just wanted to get your thoughts on the following facts about Clemson baseball the last seven years:

Against South Carolina we are 7-19.
Against Virginia we are 2-12. We were swept by UVA the previous year, so we are 2-15 against UVA in the last eight years.
Against North Carolina we are 4-16.
Against Miami we are 5-9.
Against Florida State we are 10-10.
Against those five rivals over the last seven years we are a combined 28-66.

In terms of the season series, we are 0-6-1 against South Carolina.
We have lost the last six series to Virginia.
We are 0-5-1 in the last six season series against North Carolina.
We are 2-2 in the last four series against Miami.
We are 2-3-1 in the last six series against Florida State.
We are 4-22-3 in the season series against those five rivals.

Over the last six years we are 99-80 in the ACC.
In the ACC tournament we are 6-12 over the past six seasons.
We have not been to a super regional in the past three seasons.
We have not been to Omaha in the last three seasons.

Those are facts. Your comments?

Bill

Bill,
Ouch! I could have done without seeing that today. I have seen those numbers floating around this week but it's hard to look at. Thanks for ruining my day. JK. You are correct, those are facts. I think everything you listed is below the standard for Clemson baseball. Hopefully this trend will turn soon. I do think the previous recruiting coordinator at Clemson let the program slip but feel Bradley LeCroyBradley LeCroy
Assistant Head
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is rebuilding it.


Mickey,
For the past two seasons the Clemson Baseball team entered the season with pitching touted as being the strength of the team. Last year and well into this year, I am hard pressed to see our pitching staff as a strength. In football, when it was obvious that our defense was an issue Coach Sweeney made a change and that has worked out well. Is Coach Leggett not willing to address staff issues?
Thanks!
Jay

Jay,
I am not sure how much of it is coaching. I am not close enough to the program to know that. I agree that the pitching has not been as good as we need but don't know why. I think Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
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will agree that it is his responsibility to get it back on track. The pitching needs some help from the defense too. I think 13 errors in the past four games is a major issue.

Mickey,

I hope you are doing well.  I know you tend to not like to hear negative talk about our coaching staffs, but the loss to Western Carolina sealed the coffin on Coach Leggett and his lack of leadership in my opinion.  This year's team was supposed to be do really well.  However, losing 18 to 10 against Western Carolina is ridiculous. I don't want to hear about how frustrated the players or coaching staff are about losing to South Carolina or anyone for that matter.  The bottom line is that Jack Leggett is responsible for producing a winning team.  He took over a program that had a very proud history.  However, winning only two ACC championships in 21 seasons and losing to inferior opponents is a sign of problems.  Most importantly the team makes the same mistakes from game-to-game and season-to-season.  I simply think Jack Leggett has lost whatever ability he had to get the most out of his players.  I am not sure anyone on the current staff can do any better, but I do think  a change in leadership is needed.  I really hope Jack will do the right thing and simply recognize his time has come and gone.  

Sincerely,

Kirk

P.S. I reserve the right to apologize if he suddenly turns things around and wins the CWS this year!  :D

Kirk,
I hope we can both look back at the end of the season and talk about the turnaround. I hope we both have to apologize for doubting this team.

Mickey: Have been to some Tiger baseball. Any coach who, after the sweep, could say in a postgame interview" we played well this series, is really clueless. Leggett clearly has had a fine record at Clemson but there comes a time in all endeavors when it is time to "hang up the spikes". I believe that time is now for Mr. Leggett. Most concerning, other than some suspicious moves such as leaving pitchers in too long ,is his apparent clubhouse behavior. Apparently he is an autocrat and has no knowledge of the psychological part of coaching. If a coach is constantly on his players eventually he
"loses" them and his words ring shallow. At that point they really do not hear what he says. Second, some of the mistakes being made are very basic. For example, it is rather evident to these eyes that the Gamecocks to have some problems hitting variable speed pitching as witnessed in the first 5 innings of the last game. In the first two
games,The Tigers' supposed top two pitchers threw very little off speed pitches and the Gamecocks laid back waiting for the fast balls. Finally, he appears to be such an autocrat that his players are playing tense and that is never a good thing. There are many ways to get them to relax and rely on their athletic ability as opposed to pressing all the time, but apparently he is simply not up to speed on how to do that. In short, he may understand the game at his age but conveying that to 17-22 year olds is an entirely different matter. He really has no skills (from what I see) in altering his coaching style to fit a given situation. I believe he's lost his players and he needs to go and be replaced with an entirely different personality type who can motivate players and appeal to their basic athletic instincts. I'll will still be a Tiger fan but only bring these items up as a fan
who sees that it really is time for a change.

JS

JS,
I am not in the clubhouse so I can't speak to his communication with his players. I don't know the message and how it is taken. I agree with your comment about playing well. I don't think 10 errors in a three game series is playing well. There were several other plays that were ruled infield hits that could have been errors as well. Add to that three more errors on Tuesday in Cullowhee. That is not good baseball.

Hey Mickey,

Enjoyed your blog today on Clemson's series sweep at the hand of South Carolina.  Couldn't agree more that Clemson continues to play tight against The Cocks as well as most other big time opponents; this seems to be a trait of Leggett's teams.  But a team doesn't lose 23 out of 31 games just because they "play tight", the reality is that South Carolina is just a clear cut better program than Clemson over the last ten years.  What is even more disappointing is that they are not the only ones.  For many years Clemson was consistently one of the top two programs in the ACC, but now Virginia, UNC and NC State have gone screaming past the Tigers.  We can continue to "hope" that some of our recruiting classes kick in or that the talent pool will even out but I believe it is time for a change at the top.  Clemson has missed out on two potential successors when quality former assistant coaches, Tim Corbin now at Vanderbilt and Kevin O'Sullivan at Florida left and now are at the helm of teams consistently ranked in the Top 10.  Jack Leggett will always be remembered for taking an already well established program to the next level and sustaining that success for many years but maybe he's taken the Tigers as far as he can.  Will Clemson leadership make the right decision for the program or continue to be satisfied with the results we had this past weekend?

Best regards,
Tod

Tod,
Dan Radakovich says he does not evaluate coaches until after the season. I think this is the right policy. This is a long season and this staff deserves the chance to turn this season around. I can't speak for Radakovich but I doubt he is satisfied with this weekend's results. I know the feeling around the program is that they will turn this season around. I am hopeful they are right.

Mickey,
Pressure is not a deterrent to performance. One's perception of the effects of pressure can be either a deterrent or an enhancer. Jack Nicklaus always said he couldn't play his best golf unless he felt some pressure. Obviously Tiger comes to mind with the pressure putts he has made over the years. If one perceives the effects of pressure to be a negative feeling, then that person often chokes under pressure or plays tight as you described in your blog. If one perceives the effects of pressure such as the increased heart rate, the sweaty palms, the adrenaline rush, to be exciting instead of fear-inducing, then that person can control the effects and can actually become ultra focused and higher performing. In response to your blog, I do not think our players' response to pressure in the rivalry in football and baseball is as big of a factor as other factors. Tajh has played a little tight from time to time, but during a 3hr game these heightened senses level out. This cannot be a real reason for losing those football games, and I don't put blame on him. Same thing in baseball. You certainly feel a little pressure when you step up to the plate with the game on the line, but that doesn't account for poor fielding and being tentative at the plate throughout the whole game. For me there is no riddle here. I believe we have been out recruited in baseball. They have better players. They are aggressive at the plate. They have excellent pitching and they fielded balls like no other team I've seen in college baseball the last few years. We have fallen behind in talent. Errors and called strikes with players on base are the two main things that burn me up watching Clemson baseball since the Greene-baker-Johnson era. We haven't been aggressive at the plate since that group and I really hope it is just an attitude and not coaching. That group hit more first pitches over the fence than any I can remember in 15 years in college baseball. I loved it. The Cocks don't fear our hitters anymore. They believe they can go after us. They know they can strike us out if they are aggressive. When the pressure is on in the final inning they own the moment whether they are pitching or hitting in the bottom of the 9th. We don't. I remember Khalil's last at bat at Clemson. We all knew what was coming. Bam, knocked that damn ball over the oak tree. That's owning the moment. I hope we can get back to that aggressive mindset. I'd like to see us speed up the pitching a little bit like we used to and swing at more first pitches because that lets the pitcher know that a hitter is looking for a hit and not just looking to get on base. Sorry for the long email. I love Clemson baseball and rarely missed a game when I was in school. I'd like to see us right the ship and get this thing back on track, but we'll need to get aggressive and develop a little bit of cockiness and pride in the program--and swing the damn bat like we want to get a hit.
Michael

Michael,
I disagree on the pressure issue. I read sports psychology books that offer a different view. Most say you perform your best when you are relaxed and in your comfort zone. On the other issue, I agree about the aggressiveness at the plate. It is hard to watch a batter take so many good pitches and get behind in the count.

Mickey,
You are exactly correct in saying that being swept in a 3 game series by South Carolina is not acceptable and I saw the same game Friday that everyone else did and not scoring in the 5th with men in scoring position and less than 2 out was the key in that game.     I only saw part of the games on Saturday and Sunday but I saw enough to say that at least as of today, there is no comparison between the programs at Clemson and South Carolina.    South Carolina has better pitchers, better hitters and plays better defense than Clemson and is just flat out a better team.   
 
Now that Clemson is heading to conference play, some big decisions have to made on whether the right players are playing and the right pitchers pitching.    The ACC is a very good baseball conference and my fear is not only is Clemson losing ground to South Carolina but also to the conference as a whole.    The other thing that you are correct about is that Clemson is a proud program used to winning and the hope here is that this year will be another winning year and another NCAA Tournament team because not making the field is certainly not acceptable and would be the last straw for me.
 
Andy

Andy,
Thanks for the email. I hate losing to South Carolina but the slip behind many ACC clubs is almost as disturbing. I want to see this proud program return to its roots of dominating the state and the conference. Hopefully that is on the way. 


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Prayer List
We have started a prayer list on the blog. Here are the guidelines:

If you are offended by prayer or prayer lists then I apologize in advance. The blog is free and the prayer list will be on the bottom of the page so you don’t have to read it.

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