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Most people are not fond of others who are arrogant and cocky. And, they prefer the company of those who are humble and modest. The reasons why are somewhat obvious.

However, doesn't a ballplayer need some level of arrogant and cocky attitude? Doesn't that come with the self-confidence that offsets self-doubt and insecurity?

Granted, of course, there are levels of being arrogant and cocky - and it doesn't always need to be loud and obnoxious. Quiet confidence?

Or, is being being arrogant and cocky not desirable in a baseball player?

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I think back to the movie North Dallas Forty. The offensive linemen were out of control at a party. Someone said to the QB that it had to stop and the QB said something like "No. I want them to feel like King Kong because that's the attitude I want them to have when they are protecting me on Sunday."

But, that's football and a movie.

Interesting thread topic.   I don't think being arrogant and cocky in a baseball player is neither desirable or not desirable.   People like teammates that put "team" above all else, and want to know teammates have their backs in difficult and challenging times. Where the "arrogant and cocky" goes sideways is when the individual puts himself above the team.   When there is strong team leadership "arrogant and cocky" is kept in check and gets taken care of in the clubhouse or locker room.   When there isn't strong team leadership "arrogant and cocky" runs amok.  Baseball is no different from other sports or in the real business world.  JMO.

Whether a person is an athlete or businessman he can conduct himself with a quiet, calm, collected confidence people will notice. They’re people who don’t get rattled because they know they have what it takes to get the job done. They don’t have to tell people how good they are. People notice. When you see emotion out of these people it’s genuine.

Last edited by RJM
@Dominik85 posted:

If you are arrogant you better be good because people will wait for you to fail and shove it down your throat.

I think a bit of cockyness is OK as long your performance backs it up but you shouldn't overdo it because then you just put a big target on your back.

Indeed.  My son often said, "It isn't cockiness if your performance backs it up."

I do agree that one should not overdo it.  Your performance speaks for itself.

@Dominik85 posted:

If you are arrogant you better be good because people will wait for you to fail and shove it down your throat.

I think a bit of cockyness is OK as long your performance backs it up but you shouldn't overdo it because then you just put a big target on your back.

Whether it’s baseball or business there’s an acceptable productivity to arsehole quotient. But, if your productivity falls you’re outta here.

Last edited by RJM

Remember Mel Hall and the batting gloves in the back pocket waving “bye bye” to the other team? When my son saw an old video of this he was amused. He didn’t wear gloves hitting and on the bases through high school. But he had bye bye gloves in his back pockets. It’s the only “in your face” thing I’ve ever seen him do. In every sport he was a reserved, lead by example player.** I warned him any coach born before the mid 70’s might know what he’s doing.

One game my son came to the plate after hitting a homer in the previous game against this high school. The catcher was a travel teammate. The catcher told him the coach said, “Tell your buddy lose the gloves or rip his head off.” It was the last time he put gloves in his back pocket.

Note: Twelve years ago Mel Hall waved “bye bye” for 45 years.

** Our one on one basketball games don’t count. Wow! Did he turn into a trash talker when he turned fifteen! All I had left was a weight advantage. Then he started filling out.

Last edited by RJM
@Consultant posted:

the great Satchel Paige when pitching to Josh Gibson told Josh each pitch he was going to throw. Fast ball inside corner, curve ball outside corner and final strike "knee high"down the middle. "True Story" and no, I was not there.

Bob

You just reminded me of one of the few times I mouthed off on a field. I went to 3-0 on the lead off hitter. It was with an umpire I didn’t care for. Half my walks for the season came with this guy umpiring.

All three pitches were strikes I walked halfway to the plate and spouted off at the umpire, “You have a strike zone the size of a g** d*** pie plate. I’m throwing the next three down the middle.” The next pitch was dead center of the strike zone. “Ball four.”

This time the umpire walked halfway between the plate and the mound. He pointed at me and said, “You pitch. I’ll call the game.”

When I came to the plate in the bottom of the first I told the umpire I was sorry. His response, “I’ll bet you are right now.”

Some of it is personality and culture. Some of it is what you have been through to get where you are. It’s a very fine line and people are on both sides of it in all walks of life. Most of them just don’t have Uber competitive jobs that are played out in front of millions.

I do think to be successful at the highest level of sports you either have to be so good that your actions speak for themselves or you have to have a deep belief in yourself that can overcome the huge ups and downs that come with high level sports. That deep confidence presents itself differently in each person.

In my humble opinion, I think just a little bit of cockiness, especially when its used to promote  and give confidence to the whole team is OK(maybe even good). It should signal confidence, and believe me, other teams can smell fear. Arrogance is destructive to the team and rarely is a players talent worth having that arrogance destroy the teams cohesiveness. One D1 pitcher told my son " When you step up  to pitch or hit, Know you've got the biggest di_k in the ball park".  I told my son to keep it to himself!

There is a quiet confidence that develops as a good player matures. Some get it sooner than others. You have to have an inner belief that you will win every pitch, every at bat, every game, etc. Of course the actual outcome won’t be that way, but you still have to believe that it will. To me, confidence doesn’t include anything that shows up your opponent. Showing up your opponent crosses the line into arrogance - which includes loud self promotion, bat flips, stealing bases late in the game with a big lead, etc. The teammates that I respected the most, and current players that I hold in the highest esteem, all conduct(ed) themselves that way. With a quiet confidence, sometimes bordering on cockiness, but never arrogant.

@Bulldog posted:

Huge difference between being confident and being cocky, IMO.   Good/great players need to be confident.  No player needs to be cocky.   Best example of this is Mike Trout.   

Exactly. Not like Nick Castellanos who has been cocky and arrogant since he was with the Tigers.

I don't care how well he can hit, he will never be like Mike Trout, or Yadi.

My son's team had two excellent pitchers. One ( initials IC) was confident maybe a little cocky at times but never demeaning to his team mates or the other team. The other player ( initial D.) was maybe bordering on arrogant. At the end of one game , D came up to  IC and said, "we lost the game because of you". Earlier he had said "I'm the best pitcher on this team". After a few more games and comments like that IC was recruited by anther team and left, mostly due to the bad "vibes". Now his team is without its actual best pitcher. The arrogance of IC cost the whole team. No player is worth putting up with that !!!

Throughout my playing days I was fortunate to be on really good teams. I played with 3 D1 All Americans in college. They had traits in common. All were supremely confident and fierce competitors. They were also humble, didn’t believe they were more important than anyone else, and treated everyone with respect. They were leaders in every sense of the word.

Two stories:

I coached a young man in HS who was extremely talented.  He received a lot of press and was always talking about his teammates and never about himself.  I asked him one time why he never talked about himself.  A direct quote is, "Coach if you are truly talented, you'll never have to talk about yourself.  Others will do that for you."  He was joking and laughed but he told the truth.  He went on to be an HS All American, played at a tremendous baseball school in college and then played professionally.

Second story - My daughter was playing her freshman year in college and the team was having a tough spell.   Coach called the team into a meeting and started asking each player their BA and other stats.  Eventually, he got to my daughter.  He asked her what her BA was, how many RBI and home runs she had.  She replied that she didn't know.  Coach then ended the meeting by pointing out that the reason that the team was going through a rough spell is that they were all bragging about their stats etc. putting each other down ... and yet, the player who led the team in those stats didn't know her stats at all.  Those young ladies really did dislike each other but things changed after that year.  Side note and a probable explanation for why these young ladies thought the way that they did.  We had to win one more game on the road to make the conference tournament.  My daughter hit a homerun to tie the game and send it into extras.  One of the dads from the team came over and said that people think that my daughter had power but he had seen real power and she was never going to be as good as his daughter.  Really?   

Confidence can be perceived as cocky at times. Something my kid was accused of several times by opponents, but never by any team he has played on. He's a pretty humble kid, but also very confident. There were a handful of times in HS when he was on the mound, other dugout is jawing specifically towards him, he sends them packing, and he'd give them a staredown. If that's cocky, I guess he was, but ironically it never happened when the other dugout (or fan section) didn't make it obviously personal. He remarked several times that he wished people would just shut up and play the game.



I believe confidence is a must in a ballplayer. Cocky, maybe that works for some, but you'd better be able to 100% back it up, I personally don't like it, there's no margin for error. Arrogance has no place on the ballfield.

I remember asking son why an outing went so well, his answer would be, because all my stuff was working!

All players have good outings and bad outings, pitchers and hitters at every level.

That's why a player that hits a HR and flips his bat, gets hit on the back his next at bat!

Last edited by TPM

I've seen both.  Sons have actually been called both but I think you have to have confidence which is my word to some degree when you step across any line onto the playing field/court.  It will come across to some as cocky but the really good ones exude confidence.  When a confident pitcher/hitter is playing against you, it will come across as confidence.  Asked a kid once what he was thinking while throwing a no-hitter and he said I was so good today with all of my pitches that I didn't care who they put in the box I knew I could beat him.  He might get a hit off me but I was gonna beat him more than he would beat me.  Not a cocky kid but confident in his pitches that day.  I think we see cockiness when it is on our team or the team we pull for but we put up with it if that player is successful as fans/teammates.  It is when cockiness hurts you that you really don't like it.  (When the batter before you or pitcher in the last inning shows up the other team, and you are the one who gets hit or you get a tiny strike zone or big strike zone because of the other player or they get a penalty which hurts the team.)  Fine line but in most cases a clear fine line.  I think in today's world it is not as clear a line in baseball because there are written and unwritten rules.  Per Castellanos' actions the other night.  Old school says it is across the line and young guys say you hit me I flex in your face, karma.

Thought of this post after our game last night. Our team goes up 5 through 2nd inning. Other team starts a come back. Their big hitter (already disliked by many) hits a 3 run HR, bat flips in front of our dugout and gives the dugout the finger to mouth "shhhh" as he walks to first. Rounds third and starts grabbing his crotch. Other things happen and the wheels fall off. They go up 13-5 on us. Then the wheels start falling off for them. They put in a pitcher who was throwing decently hard. After every pitch he would yell at our batters. Shaking his head and yelling "yea". Got them out of the jam and he turns to our dugout and flexes and yells. Back out for the next inning. Walk here, hit there, and 3 run bomb there. Coach left him in and we hit a walk off double to win the game. Silence is golden! The kid ended up taking his glove and throwing it out over the visitors dugout onto the track next to it. Best throw of the night!

For me, there's different kinds of Arrogant and Cocky.

"I don't care how many other catchers are on the roster. I'm not worried about them. They should be worried about me. I will work my tail off to make it impossible not to start me."

"Ugh. I just missed that pitch. If he throws that again in my next At Bat, I'm not going to miss it twice. I will hit it over the scoreboard in left field."

Thoughts or self talk like that aren't a bad thing to me. It's not even bad if said out loud to a trusted friend or family member in private.

But, showboating and/or taunting during play is really not a good look. That's a different kind of Arrogant and Cocky behavior.

Story from when Arrogant and Cocky backfired....

This happened to another pitcher but on our team, Mr BigTime P5commit goes yard on a clearly outmatched pitcher.  Thinking he's just hit his second homer of the day, Mr BigTime does a huge bat flip and starts to jog his big leaguer trot, except before he can get to first, the ball pulls foul.  Granted, it's still a bomb, but it's foul.  Mr. BigTime gets back in the batters box but not before responding to his teammates "Watch this, I'm gonna hit it OVER the school (building that sits pretty tight to the of fence)". Well that poor pitcher, who tops out at 78, threw what must have been the best slider of his life (for a ball in the opposite batter box) except Mr BigTime was too busy swinging for the building to notice.  Literally fell to his knee.  Ended the inning and stranded two runners. Cocky and arrogant. One of these kids will play at the next level, but that other kid will remember THAT moment forever

@ARCEKU21 posted:

Thought of this post after our game last night. Our team goes up 5 through 2nd inning. Other team starts a come back. Their big hitter (already disliked by many) hits a 3 run HR, bat flips in front of our dugout and gives the dugout the finger to mouth "shhhh" as he walks to first. Rounds third and starts grabbing his crotch. Other things happen and the wheels fall off. They go up 13-5 on us. Then the wheels start falling off for them. They put in a pitcher who was throwing decently hard. After every pitch he would yell at our batters. Shaking his head and yelling "yea". Got them out of the jam and he turns to our dugout and flexes and yells. Back out for the next inning. Walk here, hit there, and 3 run bomb there. Coach left him in and we hit a walk off double to win the game. Silence is golden! The kid ended up taking his glove and throwing it out over the visitors dugout onto the track next to it. Best throw of the night!

I get particularly annoyed when I see stories like this that involve Texas high school teams. The coach of your opposing team should not allow that kind of behavior. I would love to know what school that is, in a PM if you please.

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