Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Lightning 10.17.2010

  • Before anything else...

One simple question about NLCS game 1: in the eighth inning, with the Giants leading 4-3; Brian Wilson on the mound; Jayson Werth on first base with 2 outs and Jimmy Rollins at the plate with a 3-1 count, why did Rollins stand there inert as Wilson laid an 89 mph fastball right down the chute?

What was Rollins looking for exactly?

Was he waiting for an engraved invitation to look for a pitch to drill? Was he trying to coax a walk?

That's not Rollins.

And that's the point.

For much of the past three years, Rollins has gradually, then rapidly declined into a player that is----at best----average. His swagger is still there, but the tools don't appear to be and this isn't going to get better as he reaches his mid-30s.

I never count out Jimmy Rollins in a clutch spot, but he appeared to be leaving it up to the next guy last night and this, more than anything else, is a sure sign of fading confidence. He can still bluster, but actions speak far louder than words; in the past, he's backed up his mouth much of the time; but what happens when he physically and mentally can't do it anymore?

Looking frozen at the plate in what was the key moment of the game is a bad sign for Rollins and the Phillies----a bad sign.

  • More managerization:

There's a lot of stuff going on in terms of managers and GMs. Let's take a look.

Mariners reportedly hire Eric Wedge:

ESPN is reporting that former Indians manager Eric Wedge will take over the Mariners (from Buster Olney----grain of salt).

For the Mariners, despite the lack of "marquee" name with Wedge, he's a solid manager and man. He's young enough (he'll be 43 in January) to relate to the Mariners prospects; handled his pitching staffs well from top-to-bottom; has a resume of success and building from the bottom up; and is tough enough to discipline the team and maintain a respect that had been undermined with former manager Don Wakamatsu.

Wedge is a safe and solid choice for a GM in Jack Zduriencik who could be under fire with another poor season on----and especially off----the field. It's doubtful there'll be any players sleeping in the clubhouse or coming to near blows with the manager in the dugout----Wedge would beat Chone Figgins senseless if he tried it.

Wedge will do a good job.

The Mariners rejects:

The other people that had been interviewed by the Mariners ran the gamut from the predictably disastrous (Lloyd McClendon) to the made-for-TV (Bobby Valentine).

Since I mention Valentine, his options are disappearing. The Mets are still looking for a GM; the Marlins and Valentine broke off negotiations (I still think there's a chance for them to rekindle their amorous exchanges); the Mariners are going with Wedge; the Cubs aren't going to hire Valentine; the Cardinals negotiations with Tony La Russa are said to be going well; forget the Pirates, I don't think even the notoriously job-desperate football coach Jim Fassel would take over the Pirates; the Brewers are intriguing; and then there's the Blue Jays.

I'd completely forgotten about the Blue Jays when looking at potential landing spots for Valentine, but sometimes the best fit is right in front of your face. Valentine and the Blue Jays could be absolutely perfect for each other.

The Blue Jays have so much young pitching and a good lineup that they could conceivably contend for an under-the-radar playoff spot as soon as next season with the right manager and a tweak here and there. The Blue Jays have spoken to a lot of candidates----MLBTradeRumors link---- and a GM in Alex Anthopoulos with brains and utter fearlessness.

If you look at their roster, they have the makings of a very, very good team...with the right manager.

In my mind, there are two ways to go for the Blue Jays: 1) continue the evolution of their young pitchers and hire someone new and fresh; or 2) hire an experienced and successful veteran to try and win fast.

Both make sense.

The AL East is a nightmare, but the Rays jumped into the conversation with the Yankees and Red Sox by being aggressive and smart; the Orioles promise to be players in free agency and will get better rapidly with Buck Showalter; people are forgetting about the Blue Jays. With the departure of loose cannon GM J.P. Ricciardi, Anthopoulos restored sanity to the club's front office and they had a fine year while rebuilding the confidence and mechanics of Brandon Morrow and integrating Kyle Drabek into the big leagues.

We know that Valentine would love to be in the middle of a firefight with the Yankees and Red Sox; that he takes pleasuring in matching wits with the likes of Showalter.

There's a lot of potential there. The Blue Jays and Valentine could be a good marriage if they have the guts to do it; and we know by now that Anthopoulos does.

GM searching with the Mets:

This is my own speculation, but I'm getting an icy feeling with the Mets regarding Sandy Alderson and it's not because I don't want him as GM----I'll take him if he's the guy he was with the Athletics and if they're hiring him because they want to and not due to outside pressures. Nor is it because Jeff Wilpon doesn't want his power usurped by someone like Alderson who's going to walk in and say, "I'm doing this, that and the other and get outta my way!"

I get the impression that the Alderson negatives are giving pause to the Mets; I went into great detail last week----Buyer Beware----as to his positives and negatives. I wouldn't hire him; I'd hire Josh Byrnes; but that's neither here nor there. The groundswell supporting Alderson is so vast and prevalent that that alone would make me hesitant.

I don't know what the Mets are thinking, but don't be surprised if they do something no one expects them to do; and for once, it's a positive as they follow their instincts and go with one of the alternatives to Alderson.

Alderson is the safer choice not because he's a guarantee of success, but because they wouldn't be attacked in the media and fan base if they do something different; but safety is for losers and the Mets need to do what's right rather than what's safe.

  • I saw it on TV:

Now, let's take a look at some broadcasting stuff!

The scintillating interview of Kid Rock by David Wells:

If you wanted a prime example of why I refuse to watch pre-game shows, Baseball Tonight, MLB Network analysis or any of this other stuff, it was the interview David Wells had with Kid Rock.

I have nothing against Kid Rock; and I like David Wells; but why do I need to see an interview with Kid Rock during a playoff pre-game show? Who cares about Kid Rock's ballpark forays; his friendship with Johnny Damon; or whatever else?

Who cares?

I take offense to the open salesmanship aspect of this silly interview. Kid Rock's song, Born Free is theme for the TBS playoffs this year.----no, I don't know what that song has to do with baseball----and his interview had little to do with anything baseball-related; it was a corporate tie-in. One would think that self-proclaimed "rebels" like Kid Rock and Wells would shun such a blatant display of shilling; but there they were.

I didn't tune in long enough to get Kid Rock's analysis of the playoffs; and I don't tune in to see the "expert" analysis from anyone on that or any other show.

I can waste time on my own without help from TBS.

Mike Francesa's time machine:

Mike Francesa has been planting the seed of potentially having Derek Jeter take over as "player/manager" if Joe Girardi does bolt for the Cubs after this season.


This is a man who truly wants to build a time machine and go back to the Pax Americana of 1957 like he's Tom Bosley. He can drive his DeSoto; live in a house with 2 1/2 kids (what happened to Chuck?); have a bomb shelter in the backyard; and live life in a bubble of fantasy.

It's hard to tell if Francesa actually believes some of this stuff he says or he just "says" things to garner attention for being different. There have been instances that are based on his ginormous ego and desperate desire to be right, reality be damned. Cases such as this are evident when he repeatedly suggests teams trade for Vernon Wells despite his mediocre performance and atrocious contract; Francesa once liked Wells----he wanted the Yankees to trade for him as free agency beckoned----and he won'

Other beliefs come directly from 1955 in which any and all players who could no longer move, but could still hit (before the DH), and were shifted to first base. He went on-and-on with suggesting such players who had never ever played the position could be moved to first base. Both Bernie Williams and Moises Alou were objects of this nonsense. Francesa brought the Williams-to-first base idea to then-Yankees manager Joe Torre and Torre dismissed it out-of-hand.

With Alou, the player was months away from retirement; had never played first base in even one inning in a 23-year professional career, but the Mets were supposed to hand him a first baseman's mitt and say, "go play there now."

Alou would've told them where to go, packed up his things and left.

Now we're getting another bit of memory lane: the player-manager.

It's absolutely ridiculous.

Is Jeter smart enough to do it? Yes.

Would it play well with the fans? Yes, they'd roll around in it and love it.

Would he be able to maintain the respect of his teammates? He runs the place now, so yes.

Would the Yankees do it? If they were a 75-win team, then maybe.

Can it be handled today without the player-manager having a nervous breakdown?

That's the big question.

And the answer is no.

Despite Jeter's penchant for handling pressure with aplomb, it would take a few weeks before he went over the edge with everything a manager has on his plate from the media to the players to the pressure of being a Yankee.

In addition to that, does Francesa think that Brian Cashman is going to want to do that to himself? One of the main reasons Cashman wanted neither Lou Piniella nor Don Mattingly as his manager is because he'd have had his power usurped and he never would've been able to fire them. What's Cashman supposed to do if the Yankees are 18-30 under Jeter, he's screwing up repeatedly and the GM knows he needs to make a change? How's that work?

In short, it's idiotic.

Time for Francesa to enter the 21st Century.

Or at least the 1990s.

I miss Michael Kay:

I didn't see this, but it was mentioned on Twitter that Michael Kay, noted baseball expert, had said after the Yankees win in game 1 over the Rangers, something to the tune of: "I said this after game 1 against the Twins, and I'm saying it now: this series is over."


It's one thing for a fan to say something like this----and Kay is little more than a fan----but for someone to portray himself as a baseball analyst and say something so notoriously stupid is embarrassing. To think that any series would hinge on one game----especially the first game----is delusional.

"Baseball analyst"?

Michael Kay?


I was a guest with Sal at SportsFan Buzz on Friday talking about the LCS and managerial machinations. Click here for Sal's site or here to listen directly. My predictions are looking quite good....for now; but even when I'm wrong,!


Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

Jim Fassel!!
Wilpon the Younger; does he feel his grip on this team slipping though his fingers or will he be out to re-affirm his position as Lil' Jeff, COO of Mets R Us? We shall see.
Francesa's Time Machine is a Pink Cadillac, remember(1986)? I ain't gonna blow up your page > Think politics, dictators; absolutism... business; monopolies, WWE, etc etc, ~ Point is the vices of Consolidation of Power. Mike, at least with Mad Dog was supplied with stimulus to respond to. Mike solo, is one, consolidated, old, stale, singular minded, unchecked, unbalanced, unchallenged, constant stream of dead thought.
Kay makes my ears bleed.

She-Fan said...

I agree about David Wells' interview with Kid Rock! Can't they figure out some other way to fill the time? What a waste. My burning question about the NLCS and Brian Wilson is a different one than yours: Is his beard real? He looks like one of the Smith Brothers on the box of cough drops.

Jeff said...

Great Tom Bosley reference! Now his voice is reading everything I read today.

And I'm with ya on the Kid Rock/David Wells garbage. All the networks are guilty of this crap. It's a slap in the face to the real fans, but their argument is it ropes in the lesser fan.

Well, we don't want the lesser fan.