ANAHEIM, Calif. – As he grabbed a new bat from his trunk full of them, and fresh looking pair of batters gloves in preparation for his daily session in the indoor batting cages, Dee Gordon looked at a few members of the media standing nearby and made an unexpected comment.
“Do y’all want a story?”
Well, yeah, that’s never a bad thing.
“Well, then walk with me,” he said.
Gordon walked through the back tunnel of Angels Stadium that connects the visitor’s clubhouse to the dugout and batting cages. He gripped the bat and talked about the Mariners, specifically the winless homestand, which led to a current six-game losing streak.
“I think we needed it,” he said quietly.
With the exit of several players from last year’s team, including Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, who were massive presences in the clubhouse and lineup, Gordon has embraced an increased leadership role on the team and the new direction of the organization. Because of that, he felt the need to talk about the team, its play and where it needs to get to.
He saw the excitement surrounding the team’s unbelievable 13-2 start, carried by an offense that was scoring eight runs per game and hitting an avalanche of home runs. He also understood the discontent when the team’s offense got basically shut down at home. The reality check of that regression was needed.
“It’s not sustainable,” he said. “It’s not even the runs. When you are hitting well as a young player, your deficiencies are overlooked. We really weren’t playing that well. We were just outbanging people. I think this is reminder, at least for myself, that, ‘OK, the big leagues are hard. So what is it that I don’t do well to make sure that I get better?’”
It’s why he tried to make sure he told his teammates after being swept by Houston and then by Cleveland that this is all part of a season and a process.
“I didn’t get upset when we got swept by Houston. I told them, ‘We all right.’ I said it again last night, ‘We all right.’ I think we needed that. As a team leader, that’s what I feel.”
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