Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kennedy May Need An Old-Fashioned, Closed Door Managerial Scream-Session...Or Worse

  • Kennedy's comments worse than his performance:
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For a rookie to pitch as terribly as Ian Kennedy has this season when his team needed him most, one would think that he'd at least act devastated as players occasionally do by throwing made-for-TV tantrums to show their displeasure with their results.
*This reminds me of an episode recounted (I'm paraphrasing from memory) in Sparky Lyle's highly entertaining diary of the 1978 Yankees season The Bronx Zoo, in which Sparky describes an episode with Reggie Jackson in which Reggie flipped out after a game in what looked like a prototypical bit of Reggie-style drama and Sparky walked over the Reggie and asked, "What time does act two begin?" To which Reggie responded with a threatening "What did you say?!?" Sparky repeated the question and this went on a couple of times before Reggie stormed off.
Kennedy responded to reporters questions with the following clip taken from the New York Post:

"It's always disappointing, but it's my first bad outing in a long time, since the All-Star break," said Kennedy, whose previous seven starts were in the minor leagues.

"I felt like I made some good pitches and got out of the second inning. I am not too upset about it. You move on, and I have already done that. I am not going to look too much into it."

Veteran players don't want to see a load of histrionics designed for effect especially from rookies, but neither do they want to hear the above nonsense. If it hasn't happened already (and I suspect it has) Joe Girardi may have to pull a similar maneuver as he did with Scott Olsen while managing the Marlins (nearly choking the pitcher in the runway to the clubhouse) and unload on Kennedy to let him know that enough's enough with his performance and his laissez-faire attitude; and I don't mean a stern talking to either, I mean screaming in his face with the threat of physicality if necessary because after Kennedy's seasonlong performance and this statement, it looks like he needs it. They've tried everything else to straighten him out and screaming might be a viable strategy as a last resort.

  • Why does Tony La Russa end up in wars of words with so many of his former stars?
Add Jim Edmonds to the list of players who played for the Cardinals and Tony La Russa for extended periods and suddenly have cold wars with him after leaving. Edmonds, who looked
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finished earlier in the season with the Padres, has had a renaissance with the Cubs; but it's the ongoing back-and-forth he's having with La Russa that's drawing attention. There's a sort of MTV reality/coming-of-age teenage TV show, girlish gossip in the way they're going at each other that's somewhat embarrassing. I'm not even copying the quotes because it's so silly, but it's the equivalent of "he said this; he did that" that's bordering on the absurd.
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La Russa is as the managerial genius of his generation, but the bitter splits he's experienced with guys like Scott Rolen and now Edmonds is something of a blot on his record. You don't hear former stars rip into Bobby Cox or Joe Torre; I understand that La Russa's intensity is along the lines of his friends Bobby Knight and Bill Parcells, but in baseball, the relationships are slightly different because it's a marathon sport and one would think that the championship ring that guys like La Russa, Rolen and Edmonds share would preclude these verbal wars; beides that, it's not becoming of someone of La Russa's stature to even engage in it to begin with.

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