Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who Would Replace Bobby Cox?

  • Bobby Cox hints at retirement:
This could all be a venting at the end of a long season, but when someone reaches Bobby Cox's age (68), obviously the hints at retirement should be taken a bit more seriously. All due respect to a Hall of Fame manager, but Cox----like his longtime GM John Schuerholz----has received an inordinate amount of credit for having the good fortune of running three Hall of Fame pitchers out to the mound out of every five days; and he also had some other pretty good arms that produced for him like Steve Avery and Denny Neagle contributing to the Braves long run of excellence. But like Joe Torre, the success is there on paper so it's pretty difficult to criticize. Cox's teams were consistent and professional.
If anything, Cox should receive more credit than Schuerholz for what was built in Atlanta because he was the GM who who traded for John Smoltz; and he was the one who----sufficiently cowed by Todd Van Poppel's insistence that he was going to college----drafted a Florida high school shortstop named Chipper Jones instead. (Van Poppel's college plans lasted until he received a big league contract from the Oakland A's.)
With his positives in mind, it also has to be remembered that he went to the playoffs for all those years in a row with that pitching staff and a lineup full of stars and never navigated his bullpen well enough to win more than one championship. Just by sheer luck, a team that reaches the post-season as many times as the Braves did and made it to the World Series so frequently should've won more than one title. His bullpen handling has always been a little spotty and this year his strategic maneuverings have elicited viable questions of how much better the Braves could've been had he been a little more adept. I'm not suggesting this is due to age because he's always managed the same way, but it could be time for a new voice running the show in Atlanta.
Would the Braves have the nerve to tab Terry Pendleton as the new boss? I doubt it. Would they go for a big, available name like Bobby Valentine? The Braves are not hiring the former manager of the Mets. Buck Showalter? I wouldn't dismiss that out of hand; he's a good manager and would be a better tactician than Cox, especially handling his relievers. One name I'd keep an eye on depending how things go with his current club is Tony La Russa. The Braves job is plum; they spend money within reason and there's a load of young talent on the way for an established manager to win immediately.
It's probably a moot point because I don't think Cox is going to retire, but it might behoove the Braves front office to make a similarly cold, ruthless and smart decision as they did with Smoltz and Tom Glavine and cut ties with another link to their past glory days----manager Bobby Cox. They might be better off.
  • A pause in caustic response:
When I read that Carl Crawford had screamed across the room at Pat Burrell, I was prepared to go off on Rays manager Joe Maddon again for his lack of leadership in running his club as they collapse on the field and bicker in the clubhouse...but I can't.
Much like the situation where Maddon presented conflicting lineups to the umpire and the other team earlier in the year and was forced to bat pitcher Andy Sonnanstine third, it was little more than a mistake anyone could make, the reasons for Crawford's yelling at Burrell are unclear (no one seems to know what it was about), so without that context, how do you assign blame?
The Rays are falling apart. Burrell looks fat and disinterested and wanders around like Frankenstein sans the brain as if he can't wait for the season to end. The frustration of a lost season was bound to boil over at some point especially with younger players, but until we know why Crawford was yelling at Burrell, it's pointless to speculate as to who's right, who's wrong and what could've been done to keep the peace. And that stuff happens within every team maybe 200 times over the course of a season; this one just happened to be public.
  • The ever-increasingly bizarre world of Michael Kay:
I just want to understand this. Michael Kay was going on about how the Red Sox now have their fourth starter for the playoffs after Daisuke Matsuzaka's return-from-injury performance on Tuesday night.
After one start.
After Matsuzaka hadn't been bad before the injury; he'd been horrendous.
And he didn't pitch that great on Tuesday. He threw six innings; gave up 3 hits; 3 walks; and struck out 5; he only threw 52 of his 93 pitches for strikes. In the playoffs, that's not going to cut it and I certainly wouldn't trust Matsuzaka very long in a potential game four playoff start.
Matsuzaka is "back"? Uh, I don't think so.
  • I can feeeeeeeel your anger; it gives you focus...makes you stronger...
I'm beginning to lose patience with my website platform. It shouldn't take this long to fix what is ostensibly a simple issue. If anyone has any suggestions for a new provider to move the thing elsewhere, I'm all ears.
  • Viewer Mail 9.17.2009:
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the Yankees-Blue Jays fight:

I agree about Posada and, especially Melancon. He has control problems. He has no clue where the ball is going. He's not hitting anybody on purpose, but the result is a lot of hit batsmen. He won't be on any postseason rosters, that's for sure.

Melancon's wildness essentially gives him a free pass to drill people, like it's an excuse that he doesn't know where the balls going. Other teams tend to dislike wondering whether they're going to lose a player to a beaning or a broken hand because their opponent continues using a pitcher who's all over the place to that degree.
The aftermath of the brawl was even worse than the initial incident. Why should Jesse Carlson get the same amount of suspension time (3 games) as Posada? He didn't start anything; he didn't hit Posada. All he was doing was protecting his teammates and then he gets elbowed for doing his job and suspended for the same amount of time as the instigator? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

John Seal writes RE The Thong Song:

Is it EVER appropriate to play The Thong Song? Won't someone think of the adults!!

I'm with John. Not only was it inappropriate for children in the clubhouse, but it's crap!!! Sisqo may need to be thrown into the can to join Mystikal just on general principle.

1 comment:

She-Fan said...

Pat Burrell wandering around looking fat and disinterested and like Frankenstein sans the brain? All I can say is LOL!