The early morning-after speculation proved true. Suicide. And those with direct and indirect interest, his actual and his baseball family alike, must wonder. What drove Mike Flanagan–once a tenacious but abundantly-humourous Baltimore Orioles pitcher, eventually a team coach, broadcaster, and executive who withstood the heat in and for Peter Angelos’s chameleonic kitchen–to leave himself with a bullet in his head, to be found dead on a trail of his property at 59.
It’s difficult to think of any franchise in recent history that canned its general manager officially but asked him not to leave for almost a month. The Chicago Cubs wanted Jim Hendry to hang around long enough to run the club’s draft and get their draftees signed, but they didn’t want him making any significant moves approaching the non-waiver trade deadilne.
Figure it out if you can: The Cubs couldn’t bear to trust Hendry with the team’s present any longer, but they were willing to trust him once more with the team’s future. Had this been any other franchise—even the formerly snake-bitten Boston Red Sox, prior to the John Henry-Theo Epstein regime—you’d be shaking your heads and reaching for the bourbon bottle.
The most reliable word involving Logan Morrison, the outspoken young Florida Marlin demoted to New Orleans (AAA) last weekend, is that the Marlins—from manager Jack McKeon up to and possibly including president Larry Beinfest and even owner Jeffrey Loria—think the outfielder needs to “mature” a little more. As in, knock it off with calling out lackadaisical team stars. As in, show up when the team orders your presence at team functions. As in, knock off the Tweeting, Tweetie Pie you ain’t. As in, run along, sonny, you bother me.
How often is a professional athlete entitled (and, yes, some people believe they are) to yet another bye, or at worst a wrist slap, for behaviour that would be deemed intolerably terminal regarding any other job?
How often does a field boss grin and bear it, before he is either backed by his superiors in taking a stand against such miscreance or left to twist while offering feeble critiques that nobody will take seriously because the miscreant will yet be welcomed back, for some perverse reason?
Apparently, it is now acceptable baseball code to taunt and show up the pitcher off whom you just crushed a monstrous home run, because said pitcher objected to a teammate’s possible showboating on a similar bomb four innings before you delivered yours.
That pitching duel between Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver was crusing along nicely enough—if you didn’t count Magglio Ordonez’s one-from-the-memory-banks bomb and his uncharacteristic slow step up the line to watch the ball disappear—until Carlos Guillen unloaded on Weaver.