Painful Progress

Updated: July 1, 2016

hard work

The Cajun Chronicles
Mike Whiteman, special contributor
October 23rd 2023
New Orleans, Louisiana

National news are just sensationalists. They have no idea of the world of a manager, or of a baseball team for that matter.

Whatever happened to quiet contenders? Can’t teams build those anymore? In the short-attention-span world that we live in with facebook and cell phones, can’t we enjoy the process of a pro sports team shedding itself of it’s demons anymore? Does it have to be instant gratification?

When the season began, our New Orleans Trendsetters had a lot to do. No matter how many home runs we hit, no matter how many sluggers we signed, we were missing a whole half of the puzzle: one including both pitching and defense. This is something that had to be adressed. Like a fire in another room, you can ignore it all you want, but it will eventually consume you either way. You might as well put it out before it puts you out.

Having 4th outfielder Luis Salars as a DH for this season was no accident: we weren’t looking for some other godzilla, we were looking for a 9th player that could cause havoc. A fast-moving player that could get someone on base to accentuate the power of guys like Nash and Heard.

In that respect, the team is still a work in progress. Luis batted .253 this year, but remember he is in his first season in the majors. Arriving as a lead-off guy is not easy. He certainly did well, all considering. But, the best is yet to come. His eye at the plate will be a guide and a great asset of his. Keep an eye on him… no pun intended.

On the days where Luis didn’t lead off, we had Dave Hurley. He was great in that role, and a good second-baseman, and did marginally better than Salars, but his focus is on transplanting his considerable wisdom to the youngsters. He knows that this attitude will become the new ‘Setters. Scuffling for bases and runs, fast-movers and good defense. Until a concussion limited his season to 117 games, he was one of the team’s highlights.

Who can really summarize a man like Dave Nash. He is a bonified superstar, a fixture of the all-star game, and a surprisingly well-rounded player for the team. His defense in left field is not to be understated, and he can do just about anything.

James Heard was a stud for us. He slugged, and was overall a beast. A great guy, and we wish him the best, since it is no secret that we can’t match his salary expectations. We will see what the future holds for him. Jim McIntosh was the revelation of the year. This young outfielder arrived with guns blazing, and challenged Heard for statistical categories. He is a superstar of the future and is worth keeping.

Other players played a part, like Bartolo Chavez, who struggled at the plate, but who’s defensive prowess at any position was a great asset. We plan to keep him next year in some sort of role.

Pitching prospects John Turner and Jose Martinez were overshadowed by newcomer Justin Barton, who led the team this year in many categories. This is why waivers exist: giving players a second chance.

The team lost over 100 games last year, but managed a 68-94 record this year. It doesn’t seem like much, but the team is slowly improving, and reinventing itself.

I have enough game tapes to work with to last me the winter. I will find ways to continually improve. Our team allowed 5.6 runs per game last year. This year we lowered that to just 4.8 runs a game. Also, the offense improved slightly, despite the 25 million dollar drop in salary, and were one of the top offenses in the league. Don’t count out the Trendsetters for 2024, as things are just starting to fall into place.

It is not Hollywood, but not everyone is able to reinvent themselves overnight. Sometimes it takes a bit of time.

Manager Mike will make sure it does … *wink*