Having experienced a similar night before, Robin Ventura knew Conor Gillaspie would be easier to console on Wednesday.
No matter how much he tried to convince the rookie third baseman on Tuesday night, Ventura knew Gillaspie wouldn’t go any easier on himself after a three-error game just because his coaches told him.
Instead, Ventura and third-base coach Joe McEwing -- who said he was up thinking about it until 3 a.m. -- chose until Wednesday to let Gillaspie know his performance isn’t the end of the world nor is it how they perceive his skillset. The coaching staff is well aware just how much time and effort Gillaspie has put in to improve his defense so much so that they were more concerned about him being too hard on himself.
“I've had a night like that,” Ventura said. “I totally understand it. You don't sleep well because you care. He's a good player, had a bad night, and you don't always want to hear that that night. I think you come back (Wednesday) and kind of talk about and go over it and kind of get over it.”
Gillaspie admitted on Tuesday night a game he left after seven innings would be difficult to get over. He said he never felt less confident on the field and hoped the ball wouldn’t be hit his way. But Gillaspie also talked about not changing the way he plays even though his style is more high-risk, high-reward than others.
Because he dives for so many balls, Gillaspie knows he’ll have more chances to make an error. But he doesn’t plan to back off just because of a bad night.
“It sucks for me right now, but at the same time I’ll promise you that if there’s a ball hit the next time I’m in a game I’ll probably either wear it or get an error,” Gillaspie said Tuesday. “I’m not afraid to, so sometimes you’ve just gotta shake it off, as hard as it is, and come back and work tomorrow. I’ve been preaching kind of the same thing. I’m going to keep working.”
McEwing doesn’t want his third baseman to be worried about making errors because “they happen.” He wants Gillaspie to take solace knowing the effort put in has him as prepared as possible. He knows as Gillaspie gets further into his career and gains confidence it will become easier. For the time being, however, McEwing knows that’s easier said than done.
“When you’re dealing with your first year in the big leagues it’s tough to turn that corner quicker,” McEwing said. “It’s your first go-around of what to expect. But when you become a veteran and you become confident in yourself, that’s when you can say ‘At the end of the day, I was prepared. I was prepared for every situation that was going to happen on that field that given night. I didn’t get it done last night. Tomorrow I’m going to go get ‘em and throw it out.’ ”
Gillaspie said on Tuesday he hopes he’ll be able to laugh about it 10 years from now. Ventura heard those comments and more of the same Wednesday and deems it a good sign Gillaspie can handle a rough night and move on.
“Probably the best thing he said was in 10 years from now you can laugh about it because that's about how long it takes for you to be able to laugh about it,” Ventura said. “It is what it is and I know he's a good player and he cares. I don't know what took over his body, but that's not the player that you see going in the future. That's the tough part of playing the game, is to be able to have nights like that and be able to put them behind and just keep going.”