Al Rosen, RIP: Heart over vision

Rosen (far left) with Martin and Steinbrenner, before the Billy & George Show sent Rosen scurrying.

Rosen (far left) with Martin and Steinbrenner, looking none too thrilled, before the Billy & George Show finally sent Rosen scurrying.

When Gabe Paul bolted as the Yankees’ president, exhausted by George Steinbrenner’s machinations, Steinbrenner had just the man to succeed him: Al Rosen, the one-time Cleveland third base star and a minority partner in the Yankee ownership.

There were those who thought the personable Rosen—who died 14 March at 91—was just the right guy to neutralise the tensions between two time bombs named Steinbrenner and then-Yankee manager Billy Martin. Including Martin himself. “Al played the game,” Martin told reporters. “He understands what it’s like. Gabe got in the way. He didn’t know the game.”

Box Seat Bingo

From batter’s box barren to box seat bingo?

Two things you know going in about the New York Yankees, if nothing much else: 1) They get to a lot of postseasons, regardless of how often they go all the way to the Promised Land once they get to the dance in the first place. 2) There’s almost no such thing as a Yankee postseason without a little actual or manufactured controversy, enough of it with Alex Rodriguez at the core.

The Rocks Say Rest in Peace, Marvelous Marv

Nobody told him there’d be any possible day like this . . .

Even a man who’s old enough to have seen the Original Mets and lived to tell the tales could barely believe this one. And I’d seen the legend of Marvelous Marv Throneberry, very live, enough to know that everything written about the hapless first baseman long since was bloody well true.

But wherever he is (he died in 1994), if Marvelous Marv was watching the Colorado Rockies play the Cincinnati Reds Sunday, he might have sent down a note to manager Jim Tracy and his crew.

Rarities? Great Players, Becoming Great Managers

Most baseball analysts blurt out observations that beg for further examination here and there. Ken Rosenthal, the Fox Sports writer and commentator, and one of the best analysts of the breed, is one of them. Here he is, musing about Don Mattingly’s growth as a manager in light of having had “three strikes” against him when he took the command post for the Los Angeles Dodgers last year: He had never managed in the majors or minors. He had to exert greater authority over players who knew him only as a coach. And he had been a great player — a drawback, seeing as how great players rarely make great managers. 

The Rise and Demise of the Five Aces

The Washington Nationals say Stephen Strasburg won’t be limited in his 2012 starts but will be limited in his total innings’ workload this season. They’ve clearly learned a lesson or three from Strasburg’s almost-lost 2011, following his rookie splash of 2010. They may have learned it in decent part from the wizened gentleman who is only their second pitching coach since they relocated from Montreal. A gentleman who knows only too much about the destruction, actual or potential, of talented young pitchers who might be overworked, overused, overextended, and finally overcooked.

Steve McCatty has been there. Done that. Bought the Billy Martin bar coasters.