"You play for pride," he said. "You play to win, no matter what's going on. You play the game the same way whether you're in first place or last place, whether you're playing for that last spot in the wild card, or 25 [games] out.
"It's easier said than done, but it's necessary. As a professional, it's necessary. It's what you're supposed to do. Regardless of what's going on around you, you have to ignore the circumstances and get after it. That's my take: There's always something to play for." - Jim Riggleman
Oh man, what could have been. There's always the path not taken, if I'd have gone left instead of right, said hello instead of goodnight. But then there is losing, and trying to be a better loser. There's holding a $20 dollar bill in either hand, and since you dropped the one on your left in the gutter, you throw the one in the right after it. Tossing the baby out with the bathwater doesn't quite fit, I'd hazzard that's more an analogy for firing your hitting coach.
Anyway. Acblue mentioned someplace that Strasburg is a pitcher for a generation, and I really appreciated that sentiment. There are talented players, and then there is the rare person that transcends. It's can be a real pleasure to watch someone with talent perform, no matter what it is they do. Skill can be acquired, but talent... that's a horse of a different color. There is talent and then there is something more. Brilliance? Genius? Whatever the chosen adjective, it's often readily apparent to all. There's just something that grabs the attention, much like the Golden Ratio, or facial symmetry. Whether you understand why or not, you're just attracted. You are nearly compelled to observe and appreciate.
Am I frustrated he's not ours? You betcha! So close yet so far, one more failure of the Bavasi Error, so bad you just couldn't be bad enough. Is it wrong to be frustrated? I don't know. I just don't know. This doesn't equate to most second place situations. It really doesn't. He was a known commodity, the team was that close. Sheesh. Take lemons and make lemonade, make the most of a bad situation, c'mon already. There are more metaphors but presently I'm drawing blanks.
Pride? Where does pride enter into the situation? From the players aspect I get it, but then I've read too many accounts, personal accounts in biographies and autobiographies, of players failing on purpose. Pitchers grooving one to give a friend a hit, hitters tanking so they could end a blowout game faster. Any number of anecdotes. From the management aspect, holy crap you blew it. Why? Just why. Answer me that, you won a game and lost so much.
So... OT wise skills you've appreciated. Personally I've wondered why it's feats of strength and tricks of the mind. The former has a positive connotation, the latter slightly negative. Funny how physical prowess often carries more weight than brain power. Feats of strength personally observed, as well as tricks of the mind.