In his 1970s days with the Milwaukee Brewers, George Scott, the big colourful first baseman who’d been a Red Sox favourite, had a chat with the team’s then co-owner Edmund Fitzgerald, about whose team Gordon Lightfoot did not write “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” “If we’re gonna win,” Scott told Fitzgerald, “the players gotta play better, the coaches gotta coach better, the manager’s gotta manage better, and the owners gotta own better.”
In the wake of the 2004 World Series, I wrote, for a since-defunct publication, “[S]omething seems not quite right about the literature of the Boston Red Sox turning toward triumph and away from tragedy.” Specifically, I was reviewing Faithful, Stewart O’Nan’s and (yes, that) Stephen King’s collaborative, end-to-end chronicle of viewing that year’s extraterrestrial Red Sox. And I was trying to say this: A near-century’s literature of transcendental disaster, usually upon the brink of the Promised Land but not necessarily exclusive to it, could only become a literature of transcendental triteness, now that the Red Sox had won a World Series, in my lifetime and every other Red Sox Nation citizen’s.
Before Brad Mills played the patsy for two and a half seasons’ worth of Houston Astros’ rebuilding like the Mad Hatter’s tea party—except that, with the Mad Hatter, at least you got some tea once in awhile—he was very familiar to the Boston Red Sox. That was Mills, serving well as Terry Francona’s bench coach, while the Red Sox went from eternally star-crossed conquered to equivalently star-aligned conquerors twice in a four-season span. And this is Bleacher Report, suggesting Mills, who was guillotined by the Astros Saturday, a week after general manager Jeff Ludhow decided he needed the mercy killing, just might be the man to take the Red Sox bridge from Bobby Valentine, post haste.
It took over four months, but the Houston Astros have thrown out the first manager of the year. They fired Brad Mills and two of his coaches–batting coach Mike Barnett, first base coach Bobby Meacham—Saturday, after losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 12-4.
Mills’ overall record managing the team designated as the team to be named later in the deal that sent the Milwaukee Brewers to the National League: 171-273. That includes 56-106 in 2011, the worst single-season record since the Astros entered the National League (as the Colt .45s) in 1962. He became the full-time manager starting in 2010, after Cecil Cooper (canned after the ‘Stros were 70-79) and Dave Clark (a 4-9 finish) managed the club in 2009.
Ubaldo Jimenez got a five-game suspension for drilling Troy Tulowitzki on the first pitch Sunday. The Players’ Association intends to back him as he appeals it. They are actually right about this. This turns out not to have been a mere sticks-and-stones issue. The backstory is Tulowitzki’s public criticism of Jimenez’s public gripe that the Rockies—who traded him to the Cleveland Indians during last season—offered and signed Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to big-dollar extensions after signing him to a mere “team-friendly” deal but not thinking of a comparable extension after he had his big year. Tulowitzki suggested once or twice recently that “a certain point (comes) in this game where you go play and you shut your mouth. And you don’t worry about what other people are doing.” He may have been absolutely right. Jimenez may have been absolutely wrong to fret over one or another man’s deal compared to his own. His pitching in 2011 would certainly suggest how wrong he was.