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Curve's turnaround all about having fun

Commentary

May 20, 2012
By Cory Giger, cgiger@altoonamirror.com , The Altoona Mirror

The simplest advice is all it takes sometimes, and when the Curve were hitting rock bottom last week, all they needed was a reminder of one basic principle.

Have fun.

Catcher Miguel Perez, who's serving as a player/coach even though he's not on the active roster, showed some leadership when he addressed the hitters a week ago in Erie.

"Miggy came up to us and said, 'You guys just don't look like you're having fun. Baseball is fun. I know you guys love to have fun with each other, but have some fun out there and enjoy your time out there,'" catcher Tony Sanchez recalled.

The Curve were having a tough time enjoying the game because they were playing so poorly. They were trailing in the early innings nearly every night, were committing bad errors and not getting many hits, especially in the clutch.

Losing isn't fun, and when the club dropped six in a row to fall to 13-22, no one was having a good time.

Less than a week later, after the team's longest winning streak in a season and a half, the attitudes have drastically improved.

"Whether it's just about having fun or not I have no idea, but I know we're all playing well now and we're picking each other up," Sanchez said.

The Curve won their fifth straight game Saturday against Erie -- the first time that's happened since August of 2010 -- and the difference between the club a week ago and now is night and day.

"We talked about having a little more fun with what we're doing, and I think they've taken to it," manager P.J. Forbes said.

Fun sounds like a simple notion, especially with regards to playing a game. But for reasons Forbes pointed out, having fun with an incredibly difficult game like baseball can be easier said than done.

"I want them to have fun when they're doing their work," Forbes said. "I mean, if you love this game, then you have fun with everything you do in this game.

"Is it tedious? Absolutely. It's every single day. That's why this game is the hardest game to play of any professional sport, because it's every single day. You have to bring it every single day."

If a player can't find a way to enjoy the day-to-day grind and somehow find a way to make it fun, Forbes said, "This game will eat you up."

That's what appeared to be happening to the Curve a week ago. Then they went to Bowie, won three in a row against a Baysox team that struggles at home and came back to Altoona to win twice more.

In the span of a week, the club has gone from looking awful to finding a way to have some fun with the game and take it out to the field every night.

"You have to realize the game is fun, and that's why we're here," infielder Kelson Brown said. "Sometimes when you're losing, you get down on yourself and everyone kind of mopes around. But you got to realize, even when you're losing, this game is fun and you have to come back the next day with a ton of energy and excitement."

Now that they're playing well and winning, that shouldn't be a problem.

Cory Giger is the host of "Sports Central" from 4 to 6 p.m. daily on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM. Reach him at 949-7031 or @CoryGiger on Twitter.

 
 
 

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