Commentary

Too much time in baseball

Updated: April 10, 2008, 9:47 PM ET
By Mark Schlereth | ESPN.com

Editor's note: This season, former NFL player and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth and his son, Arizona reliever Daniel, will keep a running journal on ESPN.com of Daniel's season. Mark outlines what it's like to watch a son compete through a father's eyes in the first part of the series.

Baseball is driving me crazy!

I'm a football guy, which means I have a mentality driven by panic. Football coaches teach their players to panic from pee-wee football all the way to the pros. We're taught that one loss can derail a season and that perfection is the ultimate goal.

Baseball players are the complete opposite. A losing streak during the regular season isn't a big deal because they play so many games. They subscribe to the theory that every season has ups and downs and that losing is part of the equation. The thought of a perfect season is simply laughable.

Simply put, in baseball there is always more time and in football there never is enough.

Right now, watching Daniel and his Arizona team is absolutely killing me because there is no sense of panic on the team! This is a team that started the season ranked among the top teams and is now out of the top 25.

If I were on this team when that happened, I would be bald because I would've pulled my hair out trying to figure out what the heck was going on. But Daniel and his teammates are completely confident that the work they are putting in on and off the field will show up and they will start playing well again.

Who knows, maybe they are right. But dang, can't they show some fire and start punching stuff and screaming like my former teammates and I would have done?

Don't get me wrong, I believe in these kids. I know how hard they work and how much work they put into what we see on the field. I know this isn't just a game to any of them and that the passion burns bright in each and every one of them. I just want to see that passion. I want to see guys freaking out over a loss and see some stony silences in the locker room.

I guess in the end I'm just like all fans when it comes to this team. I'm going through what fans of every struggling team go through every week, trying to will them to win with every cheer and whispered prayer. I want to see them going through the same agony that I'm going through -- and while that's selfish, it is human nature.

Oh well, maybe I just need to relax and wait for their results to start matching their hard work.

Mark Schlereth, a three-time Super Bowl-winning lineman, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.

Former All-Pro guard Mark Schlereth joined ESPN in 2002 as an analyst for NFL 2Night, now NFL Live. He brings 12 years of NFL playing experience to the role. Schlereth has also filled in on numerous ESPN radio shows.

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