Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Did They Need This?

  • Already it's tiresome:

There's a reason teams don't announce that their managers or GMs are going to be retiring at the end of a particular season even if it's a widely known and unspoken fact----to prevent the manager, players and the club in general from having to deal with stuff like the following headline:

Cox delivers his last camp speech


What's next?

Bobby Cox uses the urinal on a February 28th for the last time as Braves manager.

Bobby Cox spits tobacco juice during a thundershower in Florida for the last time as Braves manager.

Bobby Cox looks befuddled at something Yunel Escobar does at 3:30 PM on a Wednesday for the last time as Braves manager.

This is the problem when a manager is known to be leaving. It's never going to end and while Cox is a fine manager, clubhouse boss and handler of players, this could eventually become a distraction if the Braves hit a slump. The last thing the players need is another query as to why they're struggling, but it's unavoidable: "Is Bobby Cox's status affecting the club?" It's the same thing as when a manager is under fire and has his head on the chopping block, but in some ways worse because it's known that he's on the way out, period.

With certain managers, it might be a disciplinary issue; that won't be the case with Bobby Cox as long as Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Derek Lowe, etc. are around the police the clubhouse; but it's unnecessary. Since Cox is still going to remain with the Braves in some capacity as an adviser, what was to stop the team from giving him a contract extension that said he'd be managing in 2011, but quietly had the language of his deal in the event he chose not to manage anymore?

Joe Torre hinted at 2010 being his last season managing the Dodgers, and he's backtracked on that idea. Does Torre know that he definitely wants to manage after 2010? He probably feels like he does in February, but who knows what handling Manny Ramirez is going to do to him by August? The question with Torre is if he's enjoying the job; whether or not he's going to feel as if he has the energy at age 70 to do it as best he can after this year; and how the Dodgers play this year. If they win the World Series, I'd be shocked if he didn't walk out on top.

With Cox, it's almost as if he's being pushed out by GM Frank Wren; that he doesn't really want to hang it up but almost feels like he had to make a decision and the tensions between the two have made the situation so untenable that he's ready to call it a career after 2010 to end the speculation and put a finality on the relationship. I can't imagine Cox needed this aggravation of answering the questions over-and-over about how being a lame duck will affect how he does his job.

After managing for so long and being such a baseball lifer, Cox is not going to know what to do with himself in 2011 after spending a few days of what would be his spring relaxing running the club; he'll realize he doesn't have to be anywhere for team-related business and be bored stiff.

The Braves have a solid club, but the strange decisions made by Wren have reduced what could've been a favorite in the National League into the status of "one of the clubs to watch" in 2010. Add in the Jair Jurrjens shoulder issue; the lack of offense; and the lingering farewell tour for Cox, and things could spiral if they get off to a bad start.

Cox and the Braves didn't have to answer these questions and read the partially well-meaning/partially "we don't have anything else to write about" stories emanating from Braves camp regarding a circumstance that shouldn't have been such in the first place. The simple phrase: "Bobby Cox will manage the Braves as long as he wants" would've avoided all of this; it may not have been 100% truthful, but it would've been for the greater good.

  • Viewer Mail 2.24.2010:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Johnny Damon:

What did you expect Damon to say? They all say that stuff when they come to the Yankees. "Oh, I've always wanted to put on the pinstripes." "This is where I've always wanted to play." "I love New York." Blah blah. Aren't we used to it by now? Was he supposed to say, "Oh, crap. I'm stuck in Detroit?"

It would've been funny if he'd pulled an Eli Manning-type maneuver from when he was drafted by the Chargers, walked onto the stage like an eight-year-old giving an oral report; looked at the hat and jersey like they were radioactive; grimaced like he was about to have a public colonoscopy and refused to put the jersey and hat onto his body as he reluctantly posed for the pictures.

Obviously, Damon wasn't going to say, "This sucks!!! Friggin' Boras!!!!" But he could've chosen his words a little better. What would've been wrong with him saying something like, "The Tigers are a historic franchise"; "Jim Leyland's a great manager and I look forward to playing for him"; "They came up with the best offer"; "It's a team with a lot of young talent and they really made me feel wanted"----all would've been true; but for him to stand there and say, "This is where I always wanted to be," isn't saying the right things at a press conference; it's a lie.

I know Damon doesn't tend to think too much about, well, anything, but his statements were embarrassing. He's a veteran; he should know how to handle these press conferences by now without making himself look foolish.

Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Damon/Boras and Kevin Trudeau:

I think the Damon/Boras aberration could've have toned down the fake enthusiasm, or at least the lying part.

Trudeau... like ya say, I gotta admit, the man is very good at what he does. He just happens to lie, cheat and steal.

There wouldn't have been anything wrong with Damon being enthusiastic; putting the past behind him; happy to be with a club that's respectable; that wanted him; and, most importantly, paid him without trying to get him for pennies on the dollar for his value; but it was so far over-the-top that you have to question the man's grip on reality. Is he that addled?

With Trudeau, I can't get enough of the infomercials. It's theater when he stares into the camera and says something like "President Obama should give me a medal!"; or when he's got his Playboy Playmates "hosting" a "talk show" for him to discuss his "consumer advocacy". There have been times where I've sat there watching and said, "yeah, yeah, that's a good idea...." which is the mark of a truly brilliant salesman, con-man or both.

Beeeebzy at Pretty In Pinstripes writes RE Damon/Boras:

I especially enjoyed hearing Damon say (I'm paraphrasing here): "If the Yankees played the Tigers [instead of the Twins in the ALDS] the outcome would be different".

Anyway, I think that Damon and Boras aren't lovers anymore. Scott Boras didn't attend Johnny's press conference.

Now that the honeymoon's over, is there trouble in paradise? Could it be that Johnny Damon grew the testicles necessary to fire Scott Boras, or at least get angry with him?

I doubt it, but I'm bored and I currently have nothing better to do than to speculate about the reasons behind Boras' absence yesterday.

Johnny Damon will never, ever fire Boras: A) because he probably doesn't realize that his agent hindered him this winter at getting a mutli-year deal and staying with the Yankees; and B) because he doesn't appear to be a confrontational type; it's easier to stay with what he's got than venture into the unknown even if that might be best for his career. I'll bet smart people like Alex Rodriguez likely advised him to take control and he didn't listen.

It is interesting that Boras wasn't there. Perhaps he was busy confronting Felipe Lopez as he suggested he planned to do when Lopez fired him; maybe he was working on his death ray; encasing interns in carbonite; or simply wiling away the afternoon pulling wings off flies. Agenting is a tough business and a man needs to relax----especially when he screws one of his clients so royally, or should I say Tigerly.

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