Every time a player steps to the plate in baseball, they have an approach to the at-bat.
The approach will change at times depending on the pitcher or situation, but some of the best hitters tend to approach their at-bat the same way no matter what. Some swing for the fences, others work the count, and some take what the pitcher gives them to get on base.
There’s no question that Saskatchewan Roughriders general manager Jeremy O’Day would have a patient approach at the plate.
The last time the Riders hosted the Grey Cup in 2013, then general manager Brendan Taman and head coach Corey Chamblin went all-in to win the last Grey Cup game ever held at the old Taylor Field.
They tried to downplay the fact that they were adding everyone and anyone who they thought would help them win the Cup, future be dammed that year. Everyone knew better and they’ve basically admitted it since.
Among the names added that year were the likes of receiver Geroy Simon and defensive back Dwight Anderson, who wasn’t exactly well-liked by the green and white faithful at the time. Most of the veterans from the 2012 team were retained as well.
By contrast, this time around O’Day has continued to do what he’s done since taking over as the team’s general manager ahead of the 2019 season.
After a successful 2019 season, veterans like defensive end Charleston Hughes and linebacker Cameron Judge did not return. This year, it was the likes of defensive lineman Micah Johnson, defensive back Ed Gainey and defensive back Louchiez Purifoy who won’t be back.
While not as active as his predecessors, O’Day hasn’t been afraid to dip his toe into the free-agent pool either. In past years O’Day, signed the likes of linebackers Larry Dean and Deon Lacey, along with running back William Powell.
This year, the additions include linebacker Derrick Moncrief and Darnell Sankey. Along with important re-signings of Dean and receiver Duke Williams.
Would it have been nice to see O’Day snag some offensive line help in free-agency? Sure, but there wasn’t really a can’t-miss talent big guy that was available either. Otherwise, there wasn’t really another need that had to be filled.
So, being any more aggressive in free agency would have just been adding for the sake of adding and that doesn’t appear to be what O’Day is about.
In the end, Taman and company’s approach in 2013 worked, but it nearly didn’t. If not for a herculean effort from quarterback Darian Durant to bring the team back from the brink of defeat in the fourth quarter of the West Semi-final, the team would have never made the Grey Cup.
Taman swung for the fences and got it. But they just about struck out too.
Right now, O’Day is waiting for the right pitch.
Sometimes a double to get into scoring position can be just as valuable. Not only can you still score, but you can set yourself up for more.