He's back in full force. The amount of moronic, chest-beating chatter from Tracy in this article is just staggering.
"When you lose 60 of your first 90 games, and you take a four-day break over the All-Star break and you come back, the general sense is: 'Basically, how much worse can this get?' To turn the tables in the manner in which we did and end up with the second-best record in the division in the second half says an awful lot."
"...about our division. And our run differential," Tracy (should've) added.
"There's a mindset that changes. You gain a greater understanding of the team concept in baseball, and the little things you have to do, some of the sacrifices that you as an individual have to make, in order to put the team in a position to win every day. That was not there [at the beginning of 2006].
"That terrible 30-60 record we had at the All-Star break? Not my fault!"
"It was going to take more time than I wanted it to take. To get everybody on board, to get everybody to join in, at first they're looking at it and they're not sure: 'What direction is this guy going?' Then, slowly, but surely, you found more people coming on board, accepting the fact that, hey, this is pretty good, this works if you do it right."
"What jumps out at me in Spring Training No. 2 with this club versus my first year with them, is last year at this time you had to deal with the uncertainty that was there," Tracy says. "It was there, it was there. In trying to change that culture, it really didn't start to leave until July."
I think I get it. Tracy didn't start changing the players' "mindset" until July, despite having been the manager since the previous October. Sometime around the time the Pirates started outplaying their run differential, Tracy had managed to change the "culture" of the team. It wasn't really a gradual change - it was more like a light bulb went on in everyone's head at the same time. Strangely, the Pirates' runs scored and allowed during this time seemed to suggest they were only about as good in the second half as they were in the first, but that's just stathead nitpicking, and it's irrelevant to the team's mystical, intangible change in "mindset."
For example, Tracy told the pitchers to "take a deep breath," and lo and behold, they pitched better in the second half! It's a shame Tracy waited until July to teach the pitchers how to chill, and that it didn't occur to him to tell the hitters to do so, as the Pirates couldn't score a run to save their lives in August or September. But hey, Jim Tracy is a visionary! Details do not concern him, unless somebody writes a nasty sentence or two about him in the Post-Gazette! He is our leader!