`The Chicago Cubs’ team psychologist, Marc Strickland, is history. As one might surmise the Cubs are most likely an emotionally vulnerable group – bearing the burden of 106 years of failure to win a World Series. The 2014 baseball season is days away and the powers that be need to think out of the box to give the team the mental stimulus and morale boosting that they will surely need. No worries. I have three sure-fire ideas, but first let me tell you what I have read about Marc Strickland.
He wasn't exactly your typical team shrink – You know someone who might be available two days a week from some plush Michigan Ave office complete with the proverbial couch and ticking “sorry, that’s all that we have time for today” clock on the table.
Nope, Marc was in the trenches. To quote a recent Chicago Tribune article by Paul Sullivan:
“Not only was Strickland available for consultation with players, the specialist in sports psychology had his own locker at home and on the road, dressed in team workout gear and played catch and shagged balls before games and during batting practice…Strickland even stood in the dugout tunnel at Wrigley Field after victories bumping fists with players as though he were part of the team.”
However, apparently Strickland’s “one of the guys” approach was deemed dispensable as team president, Theo Epstein has let him go – presumably sending him back to the world of a more ho-hum practice. Time to hang up the jersey, Marc. Bummer.
But now…who are our Lovable Losers going to talk to? How will they vent about their frustrations? Who will console them when (I mean if) they have yet another miserable season and fans are shouting expletives from the bleachers, and the players just want to go home and curl up into a fetal position and stare at the wall? 106 years and counting is a lot of pressure.
1) This one is a no-brainer...Put a bar in the locker room, a post-game hang out, of course. A bar that would duplicate a typical sports bar – corner tavern-like – baskets of stale peanuts, half naked posters of Jessica Alba – and the KEY to it all – a friendly bartender.
Who – at one time or another – has not bared their soul to a sympathetic bartender?
Bartender: “Hi guy – how’s it going? What can I get you? How was the game?”
Player: “The game sucked. Lost 10-2. I sucked. Struck out 3 times. My wife wants to leave me because she’s sick of all of the travel and my jock itch is back.”
The bartender will listen, console and advise as he or she tops off their half empty glass.
My guess is that between the beers and the "bar-talk therapy" the player will leave feeling positive and renewed and ready to face another challenging day on the field.
This would totally work.
2) Why not give the occult a try? I am thinking locker room Psychics, Tarot Card Readers, Fortune Tellers, and Astrologers.
Imagine the interaction with the players:
“Don’t worry, your batting average is down but this card could symbolize a journey...probably means that you'll be running all the bases"
Or, "You will be coming out of your slump because the sun will be in Taurus"
Or, “You’re channeling Babe Ruth today – you are sure to hit it out of the park.”
OK – a little far out – but hey – what if the Power of Suggestion – just like a placebo – could catapult the Cubs into baseball fame? (Bonus: A great Hollywood plot line – How the 2014 Cubs won the World Series by looking into a crystal ball) It could happen.
Note to Cubs Management: If you are skeptical about ideas #1 and #2 – then my #3 Idea has to be your “go to plan.
3) Hire a Team Hypnotist. Sports hypnotherapy is proven. And, I have seen shows in Vegas – a good hypnotist can make a subject bite into an onion and they will think it’s an apple. A good hypnotist can make you think you are a barking dog or an opera star – so how hard would it be for a Class A Hypnotist to take a team of professional athletes and program their sub-conscious so that every pitch would be almost perfect and every swing of the bat would make contact and no outfielder would ever fumble a ball?
Badda Bing. You’re welcome, Cubs' Decision Makers. Get it going..
So now, contemplating my brilliant suggestions for our struggling Cubs, I walked into the living room to see My Sports Guy laying on the sofa.
It looked like his eyes were half-closed – so I decided (as a mere novice, of course) to test the hypnosis premise. I leaned in, close to his ear, and in a low deep voice, I slowly repeated…”You are totally relaxed…you are getting sleepy…you will soon be in such a relaxed state that you will be absolutely receptive to anything that I will command of you…
He started snoring – really loud. Was he under my spell? I didn't know, but I made an experimental suggestion to his sub-conscious….I'm a total believer, but I’ll see if my attempt to put him under my power via a hypnotic state will be successful.
You know that If all of a sudden he starts putting the toilet seat down – it will definitely be the first of many sessions.
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