Baker: ‘Only the strong survive’ baseball in October
September 18, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
The baseball season is a marathon. No, it’s an Ironman. It’s a test of wills, of muscles, of attention spans.
The Cincinnati Reds have been going nonstop since April, longer if you count spring training. Their season is already a success. Their performance in October will determine the extent of that success, but in many ways, how they perform in October depends on how they prepared from April to September and how their bodies respond this fall after the long grind of summer — something that has already affected all-world closer Aroldis Chapman.
Manager Dusty Baker knows that better than anyone. He played in three World Series and has coached in one. He knows exactly what to tell his players with the pressures of October just around the corner.
In fact, one question about the topic got him going for five minutes.
“Eat right, sleep right, take care of yourself,” Baker said. “Continue to do your main work, whether it’s stretching or lifting, because most of the time you get hurt it’s when you’re fatigued. It’s very important to take care of yourself. Everyone’s tired in September. The big boys just aren’t as tired as everyone else. This is the epitome of ‘only the strong survive.’”
Chapman’s arm fatigue is one example of what can happen late in the season, but most players feel the wear and tear of the season in their legs first.
“Your legs are what are going to carry you through the whole season,” infielder Miguel Cairo said. “You want to keep yourself in shape. It’s a long season.”