A very telling quote, culled from Mr. Bastian's gamer after last night's tough luck loss.
Hill declined to speak with reporters.Aaron Hill, maker of a crucial error, did not make himself available to the media. Not a big deal in some eyes, signs of petulance and a serious no-no in the eyes of others. It makes me think of one thing, the same thing I thought about yesterday: Travis Snider needs to play every day.
Obviously Aaron Hill is balls-deep in a terrible season at the plate. Aaron Hill is thought of by many, Jeff Blair most notably, as an awesome guy who is always honest and available. After 5 months of struggles and what I can only imagine is a sickening feeling of not pulling one's weight, Aaron Hill clearly had enough. Last night he didn't want to talk about it. He didn't want to say my bad a dozen different ways. He wanted to have a shower and get the hell out of there. Can't say that I blame him, but it's noteworthy either way.
What does this uncharacteristic have to do with Travis Snider? He needs to play every day, through the bad times. He must, like quasi-phenom Brennan Boesch in Detroit, face some tough lefties and pick up the pieces afterwards. He needs to face the music and deal with the psychological burden of slumps, without a three-day weekend to twist in the wind or a sabbatical in Vegas to bash some confidence out of triple A fodder.
Will a month of steady at bats on an also-ran provide this experience? Not on its own, but you must start somewhere. If the Jays plan on competing with Snider as a key piece, he needs to start making these adjustments immediately. Whenever it is the Jays make their real, concerted push towards the post-season, they won't have any kind of cushion to screw around with. Everything needs to be right, there is no margin for error.
Snider's also picked up a few injuries during these nascent stages of his career. His body is still adjusting to the grind and —all together now—playing with pain. Hill's anguish is proof this never goes away, just like the gruesome quotes from John Lott's excellent piece on Lyle Overbay's early season struggles. They always doubt, they always wonder. Get Snider out there every day to experience these trials. The sooner, the better. It isn't about at bats or reps in the field, it's about experience.