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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: The Shoulders that the Opener Stands on

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Come for a fascinating look into baseball history, stay for the Jim Jarmusch quotes.

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Tony LaRussa

There is an age old adage in art and sports and life that nothing is original. Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has one of my favorite iterations of this,

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.

Now, I’m not sure I would go so far as to say baseball strategy would rise to the level of authentic art that speaks to anybodies soul. But the idea of stealing from the best, building on the ideas of others, and standing on the shoulders of giants is essential.

Innovation is key to progress and progress is key to the advancement, and it is rarely (if ever) done easily or without great resistance. Change is scary, and often the best thing you can do is fail forward and move things slightly further forward for the next folks.

And so when the Rays broke baseball and shook the Earth with the use of “the Opener” strategy, they were met with both praise of innovation and scorn from traditionalists who want things to remain the same or just move as slowly as possible. But they were not the first through the door. Their version of this strategy is different, but Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer has a tremendous read and incredibly fun investigation of baseball history on the shoulders the Rays are currently standing on.

In The Opener’s Opening Act, Ben explores the Oakland A’s (of course it’s the A’s) of 1993, and how legendary manager Tony La Russa and legendary pitching coach Dave Duncan utilized a unique and intriguing strategy to make the most out of their somewhat broken pitching rotation.

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