Managers Being Managers

Managers Being Managers

A baseball manager is a necessary evil.

Sparky Anderson

Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired their coach Mike Brown, last year’s NBA Coach of the Year. Brown was the most successful coach in franchise history. In five seasons, he led the Cavs to the playoffs every year, to the finals in 2007 and to 127 wins in the past two seasons. But Brown failed to win a championship, and with LeBron James about to explore free agency, it was time to dump Brown.

I don’t think a manager should be judged by whether he wins the pennant, but by whether he gets the most out of the twenty-five men he’s been given.

Chuck Tanner

For the most part, baseball managers are judged based on how they do in the regular season. It’s also why managers are often dumped in mid-season. Baseball has a long season and there is plenty of time for teams to reverse direction when inspired by new leadership.

This is one of those years where there probably will be numerous managerial changes. Baseball is renowned for recycling skippers (Eric Wedge it’s time to make sure GMs have your telephone numbers) and for hiring former catchers (there are 12 right now).

When I asked, “How would you like to be married to a major league manager?” my wife said, “What, is Tommy Lasorda getting a divorce”

John Wathan, upon being named Kansas City Royals manager

Here’s a quick look at all the managers and whether they will be in their current dugouts next year at this time.

Low profile slots

  • The Kansas City Royals already dumped Trey Hillman and replaced him with former Brewers skipper Ned Yost, who most likely be hired on a permanent basis.
  • Who will lead the Orioles to respectability? I am not certain it will be Dave Trembley.
  • Who will lead the Pirates to .500? I am not certain it will be John Russell.
  • Fredi Gonzalez earned lots of kudos for the way he handled the Hanley Ramirez situation, will he decide to take his respected skills to greener pastures?

There’ll be two buses leaving the hotel for the park tomorrow. The two o’clock bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will be leaving at five o’clock.

Dave Bristol

Medium profile pilots

  • If the Texas Rangers wilt in the summer heat, will the heat be turned up under Ron Washington? Local fans were none too pleased with the revelation about Washington’s cocaine use and probably would call for a change if the team droops below .500.
  • You may not know this but two managers have announced their impending retirement following the completion of the 2010 season. While all the talk understandably is about Bobby Cox, this is also the last season for Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays, still the only African-American manager to win a World Series. Gaston dealt with a mini-revolt last year by his players but so far this year Clarence and the Jays are doing very well, at least in the standings.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the next manager to go this season is Ken Macha. The Milwaukee Brewers are underachieving because the pitching staff is simply awful and because you can’t fire all the pitchers, the next best thing is to fire the manager. Don’t be surprised to former NY Mets skipper Willie Randolph take over here.

We need three kinds of pitching: left handed, right handed, and relief.

Whitey Herzog

High profile positions

  • It may seem as if Bobby Cox has been managing since the days of Abner Doubleday, but that is probably only because you have Bobby confused with Jacob Coxey who led “Coxey’s Army,” a group of unemployed men who marched to Washington, DC, in the depression year of 1894. Bobby Cox has been managing the Atlanta Braves since 1990, coming on mid-season to replace Russ Nixon. Due to Cox’s success and length of time managing, this becomes a high profile replacement.
  • In some ways it feels as if Jerry Manuel of the Mets is the J.D. Drew of managers in that every day he’s day-to-day. How long will New York be tolerant of both Manuel and Omar Minaya?
  • It would not be shocking to see Chicago have two new managers. Ozzie Guillen is in the final year of his contract with the White Sox and no one would be surprised to get a tweet from him that says, “I’ve been dumped.
  • Lou Pinella is in the last year of his contract as well and the Cubs new owners don’t seem to be in any hurry to negotiate a new one.
  • It is quite conceivable that Joe Torre won’t return to the Dodgers. While he is constantly giving mixed messages, he is clearly unhappy as the McCourts battle through their ugly divorce. Could he return to the either of the two dugouts in which he failed once before? Braves and Mets fans both would greet Joe with open arms.

A manager’s job is simple. For one hundred sixty-two games you try not to screw up all that smart stuff your organization did last December.

Earl Weaver

Safe at Home

  • It’s a good thing that this is Brad Mills first season with the Astros otherwise he would be in trouble.
  • It’s a good thing that this is Manny Acta first season with the Indians otherwise he would be in trouble.
  • A.J. Hinch, who was hired last May by Arizona, is very safe because his contract runs through 2012 and the D-backs are quite content to only pay one manager at a time.
  • Seattle made their move by firing hitting coach Alan Cockrell so the well-respected manager Don Wakamatsu seems secure.
  • Nobody knows that Bob Geren manages the Oakland A’s and he probably is quite content to keep that low profile.
  • You could not find a Washingtonian complaining about the job Jim Riggleman has done since he took over on an interim basis last year.
  • Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy appears secure which is more than can be said for hitting coach Hensley Meulens. San Francisco’s offense is offensive.
  • Right now you have to say that Dusty Baker must be feeling very secure with his Reds sitting on top of the NL Central, but it’s a long season and that gives Baker plenty of time to overuse his pitching staff.

The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.

Casey Stengel

The Icons

  • Fans may nitpick about his bullpen but Terry Francona is beloved in Boston. He even was on the cover of the Boston Globe magazine this past Sunday.
  • The Twins know how lucky they are to have Ron Gardenhire.
  • And everybody knows that Mike Scioscia will ultimately produce heavenly endings for the Angels.
  • Joe Maddon could be elected as the next senator from Florida. Who in their right mind would vote against the man who has converted the Rays into the best team in baseball?
  • Philadelphia fans are generally regarded as a little crazy, but they are not so nuts that they don’t love Charlie Manuel. Like Francona, Manuel has the ability to manage talent and egos.
  • Jim Leyland garners all the respect he deserves managing the Tigers.
  • Buddy Black is on his way to being named the NL Manager of the Year, and that’s a good thing for him and the Padres.
  • After the job Jim Tracy did last year with the Rockies, everybody loves him. The only trouble is he raised expectations for the fans and he needs to make the postseason this year too.
  • Tony La Russa had a little mini-clash with Albert Pujols last week, but that makes no difference in the high esteem which La Russa is held. I’m confident all is good between the two by this point and if Tony doesn’t return to the Cardinals next season it will be by his choice.
  • Finally, there is the manager of the defending World Champion New York Yankees. Joe Girardi knows there is only one thing that matters in the Bronx and that is winning. If you don’t win, you don’t stay. But after all is said and done, in varying degrees, that is the plight of every manager.

If you don’t win, you’re going to be fired. If you do win, you’ve only put off the day you’re going to be fired.

Leo Durocher

The Strasburg Report

In what was probably his second-to-last start at the Triple-A level before an expected promotion to the Washington Nationals, pitching for the Syracuse Chiefs Stephen Strasburg allowed the Toledo Mud Hens two runs, one earned, on five hits in five innings of work. Among the hits were two by outfielder Jeff Frazier and one by Carlos Guillen, playing in the third game of his injury rehab assignment. Guillen is hitting .222 (2-for-9) in those three games.

Strasburg struck out five as his earned run average rose to 0.39 for Syracuse. Hens’ outfielder Deik Scram tripled and scored on a passed ball in the 3rd, ending Strasburg’s streak of scoreless innings at 20.1. Casper Wells singled in a run in the 4th.

Strasburg’s first major-league start will probably be June 4 against Cincinnati.

Following the game, Strasburg answered all remaining questions about Lost, explained the details of how to stop the flow of oil and clean up the Louisiana coastline, and revealed the winner of American Idol.

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Do it, it’s as much fun as interleague play.

Jose Bautista

The great hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays is Jose Bautista, not Juan Batista.

The great hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays is Jose Bautista, not Juan Batista.

The great hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays is Jose Bautista, not Juan Batista.

The great hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays is Jose Bautista, not Juan Batista.

Yesterday

AL

White Sox 7, Indians 2 – Justin Masterson (0-5) lost his 11th straight decision.

Red Sox 6, Rays 1 – Great pitching from Clay Buchholtz who is now 6-3.

Blue Jays 6, Angels 0 – Another great road performance by Brett Cecil.

NL

Reds 7, Pirates 5 – Francisco Cordero picks up his 15th save

Today

AL

A’s (Dallas Braden) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie), 7:05

White Sox (Jake Peavy) at Indians (Mitch Talbot), 7:05

Red Sox (Jon Lester) at Rays (James Shields), 7:10

Rangers (Rich Harden) at Royals (Gil Meche), 8:10

Yankees (A.J. Burnett) at Twins (Scott Baker), 8:10

Blue Jays (Ricky Romero) at Angels (Ervin Santana), 10:05

Tigers (Justin Verlander) at Mariners (Doug Fister), 10:10

NL

Pirates (Paul Maholm) at Reds (Mike Leake), 7:10

Phillies (Jamie Moyer) at Mets (R.A. Dickey), 7:10

Braves (Kenshin Kawakami) at Marlins (Anibal Sanchez), 7:10

Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster), 8:05

Astros (Felipe Paulino) at Brewers (Randy Wolf), 8:10

Diamondbacks (Ian Kennedy) at Rockies (Jhoulys Chacin), 8:40

Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) at Padres (Jon Garland), 10:05

Nationals (Livan Hernandez) at Giants (Todd Wellemeyer), 10:15

On this date

May 25, 1935, Babe Ruth hit the 714th and final home run of his career.

May 25, 1951, Willie Mays made his major league debut with the New York Giants.