Colador, I'd be really interested in a more specific breakdown of who you thought was in the game/not in the game based on what you observed. If possible. THanks!
Lannan was... special. I don't remember a game where a player was watching the fans during the game as much as he was today. It's honestly weird to glance at a player and have them staring at you.
There are some players I'm not going to mention although they deserve it for today, but they've been great all season. But to give you an idea of just how wide spread what I saw was, I'll name one right off the bat who's been the best all year. Morse. He looked dejected. Werth looked dejected. Now one thing I'm comparing them to was last week. And I think it is fair to do so. We had sealed the playoffs already. Last Monday was icing, but not a shock. The only shock was if we didn't clench. Morse and Werth were both as full of fire and passion as I have *ever* seen. It sounds crazy, but Morse was actually a little bit scary last week. He had crazy in his eyes, he was so full of "it". Today, it was "Get an AB, go into the dugout."
So instead of calling players out for being dead, it's easier to just say Desmond is the only one who acted like he gave a crap. The dude gets three hits, finally gets an out and he's the only one throwing stuff in the dugout? Uhh...
None of them were standing and watching the game anywhere like they normally do. Lannan was the one standing the most, and thus the one I saw the most. And like I said, he was watching the fans more than the game. Harper is usually intense. Eighth inning he had his hat off, standing around and during the eighth I'd say 1/3 to 1/2 of that inning was at the rails while we were batting and with his back turned to the field.
During the season, I'd often see the SPers standing together chatting during games they didn't pitch. Lannan was the only one I saw, and he's not a starter for the playoffs. I have no idea what they were doing inside the dugout. One of the problems is they weren't watching from the rail. Games players aren't playing in, usually they spend at least a couple innings total watching from there and chatting with each other.
So it's a combination of *not* seeing them, and what I saw on the faces of the ones who played. Every time they came back from an AB or fielding, it was... it was like our roster in 2009. They did not want to be there. Usually they'll acknowledge fans, smile, wave, something, as they come off the field from defense. Usually they'll toss balls up as they come off, or benched players toss to kids during the game. Not today.
I'm not a fan of the word, but there was no "hustle". Most games they'll halfway jog down the dugout steps, but not today. So I can call out a player here and there. But sitting where I sit, you just notice how things usually are. And it had been building all season, culminating in last week where every player's blood ran with fire. Today? Desmond is the only one of the starting eight I'd say was into it. I don't know if they got their asses kicked in St. Louis, partied too much, stressed from press and interviews, if there is some internal conflict we don't know about, or if it's just the old "losing is contagious." But you could have had the SRO tickets and saw what we all did. The players, their lack of interaction with each other, watching from the railings, no "hustle", no smiles, no energy, no frustration. That's the biggest one for me. That's why I give credit to Desmond. Fine, they got beat. Get pissed off when a hit is robbed, you strike out, etc. They didn't. Most of them seemed not to care either way.
And when I can say that about Morse, who has been wild all year... I don't know what happened today, but hopefully tomorrow is "back to normal".