Treat Shane Like Cole?

As I mentioned in my recent post on Cole Hamels, fans were all too eager to proffer theories on his poor performances in 2009:

There was something askew with him the whole season. He spent too much time in the off-season posing for magazines, appearing on television shows and lending his persona in advertisements. He got cocky; he wasn’t focused; he was immature; he lacked the mental strength to go through another 162-game grind after reaching the pinnacle of baseball. Right?

Of course, as we found out, Cole’s poor 2009 was mostly due to poor luck on batted balls in play (BABIP), but the reputation still remains. Some fans and media types were suggesting Cole should have been packaged in a trade that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and kept Cliff Lee.

Another Phillie has been making the rounds this off-season with his newfound fame: Shane Victorino.

The Fightins has tracked him:

Clearly, baseball isn’t the only thing on Shane Victorino’s mind. He’s been married, been to J-Roll’s wedding, gone to UFC and NBA games, and attended the Grammy Awards. This has “ugly 2010 season” written all over it!

If Shane does have a bad 2010 season, will the fans and media concoct crackpot theories explaining his freefall? Will we admonish him for having a life outside of baseball?

Will he take creepy pictures with his wife?

Of course, Shane is more likely to stay in line with his previous achievements as he improved his walk rate and cut his strikeout rate in ’09 while maintaining a steady BABIP, ISO, and wOBA. None of his plate discipline splits indicate a cause for concern. But in the event he does go into a tailspin and the crackpot theories start a-swirlin’, I’ll be right here linking back to this post.

It’s the cardinal rule in baseball: performances are inversely correlated with off-the-field fun. As off-the-field fun rises, baseball performance decreases. I think I read that somewhere in The Book.

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