Does it feel somewhat strange for Yankee fans that they should be pondering the kind of managerial mishap that usually happened to the other guys? How uncharted for the Yankees is the uncharted territory into which Joe Girardi wandered Friday night, when he failed to ask a review on whether a Chad Green pitch hit the Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall or Chisenhall’s bat?
Clay Buchholz, Phillies pitcher, recuperating from surgery to repair a small tear in his flexor pronator mass, showed up at Citizens Bank Park Wednesday to see the Phillies tangle with the Marlins. MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, a sober reporter, reported Buchholz apologised to general manager Matt Klentak “and others.”
Apologised, mind you.
Another sober reporter, NBC’s Bill Baer, says Buchholz was out of line. Not in the way you usually think when you see that phrase. “It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job,” Baer writes.
In June 1983, Joe Torre was the Atlanta Braves’ manager, Joe West was a veteran of six seasons’ umpiring in the National League, and Bob Watson—who has held the baseball government post Torre now holds—was a Brave who’d been fined $100 for arguing over a game-ending third strike when the game was over. And all Torre wanted was to question West as to whether Watson deserved such a hit after a game.
Baseball’s offseason is many things, and dull is rarely one of them, but this offseason’s winter meetings among the major league organisations could have been smothered by the activity that preceded it. Could have been—particularly in light of the Yankees’ doings in signing Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury while letting Robinson Cano chase the dollars they weren’t quite willing to show—but weren’t. There are various takes floating about regarding the doings and undoings; here, for whatever they’re worth, are mine:
There is no justice in Mudville, often as not. On the one hand, Matt Kemp seems not to have been suspended over Thursday’s comedy in Pittsburgh. On the other hand, his manager, Don Mattingly, has been, for two games, in hand with an undisclosed fine. Baseball government got it half right. Nobody should have been suspended except, perhaps, Thursday’s plate umpire Angel Campos.
Officially, Donnie Baseball got his two-game siddown-and-shaddap for—get this—”excessive arguing.” Joe Garagiola, Jr., who serves as baseball government’s vice president for standards and on-field operations, announced it Saturday; the game’s top cop, Joe Torre, who just so happens to be Mattingly’s managerial mentor and former Yankee boss, met Mattingly Friday to prepare him for, apparently, the worst.
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.