Thursday, June 26, 2008

Attacking The Boss Is Generally A Bad Idea In Any Occupation

  • Shawn Chacon attacks Astros GM Ed Wade:
Houston Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon attacked GM Ed Wade yesterday after being demoted to the bullpen----NY Times Story----grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the
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ground. Chacon was suspended indefinitely by the Astros. In general, no matter the player and his status, it's probably a bad idea to be attacking the GM of the team; for a guy like Shawn Chacon, who's on a short-term contract, it's probably not a boon to his reputation. (Although, he might fit in with the Club For Wayward Boys aka the Washington Nationals) or his career prospects. That being said, if what Chacon (who, as far as the public knows, has never been a problem in any of his other career stops) is saying happened is true, then Wade was out of line as well. That's not to justify attacking the guy, but there are people who shouldn't be yelled at without justification; maybe Chacon felt disrespected and just snapped.
Whether or not the player was justifiably angry doesn't enter into the equation when
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attacking their boss. Yes, it's true that certain players are more powerful voices in an organization than upper management; and yes, some players don't think about consequences before they act, but the incidents that come to mind immediately of a player attacking a supposed authority figure have all resulted in that player being jettisoned and actually ending up in a better situation than before.
Lenny Randle beat up Texas Rangers manager Frank Lucchesi after Randle lost his starting second base job to Bump Wills and wound up getting traded to the Mets, where he had an excellent season in 1977 as a starter. Wills had an excellent year as well for the Rangers. Then there's the Latrell Sprewell incident in which he choked his coach, P.J. Carlesimo while with the Golden State Warriors. It's no excuse, but Carlesimo is a notorious screamer who didn't have the history of success to
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sway the players to the idea that he had any business yelling at them to begin with. (Example: Larry Brown or Pat Riley yelling----okay; P.J. Carlesimo yelling----not okay.) Sprewell attacked and choked Carlesimo during a practice in 1997 and was suspended without pay and Sprewell eventually wound up rejuvenating his career with the New York Knicks. On the one hand, it's impossible to function as a boss when concerned about being attacked if something needs to be said to or done with the employee that he's not necessarily going to like; on the other hand, maybe the boss shouldn't be yelling at his employees to begin with.
If these players had histories to the tune of Elijah Dukes and his long rap sheet of violent offenses, then it would be understandable; but Randle was a bright, well-liked guy; Sprewell, while occasionally difficult with incidents of his own, is well-spoken and intelligent; and Chacon
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functioned under the no-nonsense Joe Torre with the Yankees without incident. Some guys are short-tempered; others only lose their cool in such a way when they're sufficiently provoked. If Wade behaved as Chacon claims he did, he was out of line before the story turned into an assault. The assault will be the story, but Chacon might be telling the truth.
The Astros can try to do with Chacon what the Warriors tried to do with Sprewell and "fire" him, but they'd probably only be putting him out of work for a brief time because he's a pitcher in an era that is desperately short on pitchers and, to be honest, Chacon hasn't pitched badly at all this season. Someone will take a chance on him if he's let go by the Astros and it's probably just as well for all involved if he's never allowed in the Astros clubhouse again.
  • Luis Castillo's contract:
The talk shows and now newspapers are going on about how bad the Luis Castillo-Mets contract is looking now that the second baseman is hobbled by leg injuries and is slumping in the field----NY Times Story. In truth, the Mets didn't spend a ridiculous amount of money on Castillo; $25 million over four years is edible if it gets to the point where the player is unable
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to perform and the Mets had few options in the second base department last winter given all their other issues.
The Mets couldn't sit around and wonder who was going to be playing second base for them while they were still so unsettled at catcher and without a legitimate ace to front the starting rotation. The second base options available----Ruben Gotay, Damion Easley and Jose Valentin from in-house; and David Eckstein and Kaz Matsui from outside----were either unreliable (Gotay, Easley and Valentin); had played for the Mets before and failed (Matsui); or overpriced themselves into small, short-term contracts with other teams (Eckstein). And Castillo hasn't been that bad this year.
If the complaining fans were expecting anything more than a slap hitter who stole bases and got on base at a relatively good clip, they didn't know anything about Castillo to begin with. His defense has been poor and he moves like a 55-year-old man, and he does some things that are annoying like waving the bat in the strike zone on 3-0 counts (I don't think that
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distracts the pitcher as intended), he's not the root of the Mets problems. Eckstein was the Mets first choice to play second base this season, but he got greedy and had to take a lowball deal from the Blue Jays.
Amid all the speculation about Castillo and the possibility of his injuries placing him on the disabled list, if I were the Mets, I would just keep writing his name in the lineup when he says he's okay to play, and sit him when he says he's not. Other than that, there's little else for them to do. If the Mets don't turn things around, it won't because of anything that Castillo did or didn't do; he is what he is and that's not as bad as it's being portrayed because he's been almost what they rightfully should have expected at this point in his career regardless of what he's being paid.

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