Hi, and welcome to another episode of Ask Oprah's All-Stars.
[Cue the opening interview montage.]
Yost: Hi, I'm Ned, and I am a single manager of 25 ballplayers.
Yost: They walk all over me. Figuratively speaking of course, they don't tend to "walk" much. But because I don't have someone backing me up, I spank over 20 of them. There's no pulling down of pants - it's just one fell swat - but I don't know if it helps. I don't have any control anymore. They will hack at balls, miss at strikes, throw belt-high fastballs in fastball counts, lose balls in the lights, say "I hate you", and after a period of time it tends to wear me out.
Yost: My third baseman has meltdowns. In public I've been asked by virtually everyone if he's physically hurt because his hubris is so excessive that he won't watch video of his problems despite not having looked competent since June 2012.
Yost: Dr. Phil, is it ok to spank, and if so, what is the right way?
Lefebvre: Dr. Phil's going to tackle that question for you in just a second, but first we want the fans to weigh in on this issue. You guys know the drill, look under your seats, take out those handy dandy cell-phones, and here's the question: would you spank your ballclub?
For "no", text 1.
For "yes", text 2.
For "yes, Wu-Tang style, on the player's nuts with a spiked [expletive] bat" text 3.
Lefebvre: Well, Dr. Phil has an opinion but first let me see what you guys think. Let's see the answer please...
Lefebvre: Ok, that's the wrong image. Let's try again.
Lefebvre: Ooh, wow, I'm surprised! You fans look like such nice people! Dr. Phil, what do you say to Ned, who's in the audience today?
Dr. Phil: Well now, Ned stand up if you would.
[Dr. Phil extends hand towards Yost]
Dr. Phil : I want you to spank my hand as hard as you've ever hit one of your players.
[Yost lightly smacks the back of Dr. Phil's hand with an open palm]
Dr. Phil: Now that's it?
Yost: [chuckling] No.
Hudler: I don't believe you, Ned!
[audience laughs, Ned laughs nervously]
Hudler: Go for it again and just hit him no matter what! Get him in the wheelhouse!
[Hudler mimes a vicious closed-fist beatdown while snarling at the camera]
Yost: Well, it's usually in like the meat of the thigh...
Ryan: You can spank his thigh, get his butt!
[Yost and audience laugh. Yost removes his belt from his pants, makes a loop, and takes a full swing at Dr. Phil's hand, making a loudly audible smack]
Yost: That's about it.
Dr Phil: [grimacing, through clenched teeth] Ok, your third baseman weighs what, about 210 pounds?
Dr Phil: Ok now that's a problem, and let me tell you the issue here. It confuses the player and it teaches them nothing. You gotta see things through your player's eyes. You love them, right?
Yost: [Barely audible, fighting back tears] Yeah...
Dr. Phil: And you tell them you love them, right?
Dr. Phil: And then all of a sudden you jump up and inflict physical pain on them. That is confusing to a first, second, third baseman! They're like "I don't know... I... I trusted you! You said you loved me! You were my soft place to fall, I went to you when I was hurt! And then all of a sudden BANG! you're inflicting pain on me!" Get real! It is not an effective discipline, it is not an effective game-changer for the player.
Dr Phil: We asked you a lot of questions, right?
Dr. Phil: I know a lot about you and I want to be very clear; this is a very loving and attentive manager.
[Yost manages a relieved smile and sigh]
Dr. Phil: I want to be very clear about that, we're not throwing you under the bus here.
[Yost smiles, audience applauds]
Dr Phil: Seriously. You are loving, you are attentive, and you are nurturing to these players and you are doing some measure of what 98% of the fans would do. America's about 50/50 on this, so when you factor in that the Best Fans in Baseball down the road on I-70 would never spank a ballplayer, you're just balancing out the Missouri demographic.
Yost: What advice would you give to a single manager with 21-22 players who can't play?
Dr Phil: Oh hell, I don't know...
[audience laughs, Yost laughs]
Dr. Phil: [Throwing up hands, smiling] I'm just kidding! I'm just kidding! I kid! I kid!
Physioc: He has a checklist Ned, he has a checklist. He always has a checklist, of course he's kidding.
Dr. Phil: Actually yeah, I do have a checklist.
Dr. Phil: Number one, you gotta commit yourself to discipline because players learn. You want the players to be able to predict the consequences of their actions with 100% accuracy. They need to know that when they put up a .178/.252/.308 and have options, they get their ass shipped to Omaha. When they swing as freely as Alfonso Soriano and play like Dante Bichette's statue in the field, they get DFA'ed. If they can predict it then they're choosing their own consequences and they can begin to self-discipline. And the goal of every discipline is to ultimately internalize.
You need to be realistic in your expectations. You don't send a no-hit no-walk second baseman to the leadoff spot just because you think he's fast. You don't assume your higher OBP first baseman who falls over the plate every time he swings is going to be a power guy this year just because he plays first base. And then, this is the key: You've got to define your player's currency. There is something each player values. Maybe it's Twitter-ing, or getting Wendy's with a Frosty to dip the fries in, or being allowed to pretend they're a star for 15 minutes by hanging out in right field and signing autographs for eight-year-olds who don't know any better. They need to understand that that currency is dependent upon their performance, and when they don't perform, it needs to be taken away. And finally, use child-level logic. These are millionaire kids with the world at their feet, so you have to appeal to them in terms they can understand. "I" statements help. Phrases like "Mike, I need you to not hit a weak pop-up with one out and two runners in scoring position so that I can have a good time after the game tonight too." Or "Greg, we have a three run-cushion here in the 9th so I need you to throw strikes, not balls three feet in the dirt because my doctor said I can't drink scotch anymore."
Physioc: Thanks Dr. Phil, we'll be back with more after these commercials.