Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 2 hrs ago
(A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up-shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season.)
Every time the New York Mets come to Los Angeles, their manager, Terry Collins, sits at a desk on the visitors’ side where he conducts his business. This is where the lineup card is filled out, the phone calls are taken and the press is updated. The room becomes very crowded for the last part, when Collins answers questions about injuries, strategies and other daily notebook fillers, and occasionally if he’s in the mood he’ll make a little joke, and then the reporters will leave to go ask Collins’ boss if Collins is about to be fired. That doesn’t happen every time. It did at the end of last week, however, because the Mets were a thoroughly average ball club playing precisely to average (40 wins, 40 losses). Still, the expectations for the Mets are based on the way they played for 12 days in April, when they won 11 in a row, not for the way they’ve played for the other 75 days, when they’ve not, which is about the way things go in New York and for Collins.
“To put all of this on Terry,” the general manager, Sandy Alderson, said, “would be grossly unfair.”
It’s just money.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago
Here’s something you don’t see a lot of in sports, particularly big-time sports, particularly big-money sports: quitting.
How miserable must Ryne Sandberg and Jerry Dipoto have been?
Two good men, reasonably capable at their jobs, with duties to perform and paychecks still coming and professional loyalties to attend to, they resigned – surrendered – within a few days of each other and with a baseball season only half done. This is a thing now?
As a result, Sandberg, 55, might have managed his last big-league game. For that gig, he’d tamped notions of Hall of Fame privilege and re-logged thousands of minor-league miles, then freely signed up for short-term hopelessness, because he wished to be a major league manager and was willing to work for it. All that for 278 games, a cardboard box and a “Leave your ID badge at the security desk, please.”
Eh, what’s another 80-something games? He went home.
This required attention. Dipoto went home.
Their prerogatives, of course. You’re certainly allowed to quit. It’s just, I don’t know, strange? Impulsive?
Didn’t seem to slow anybody down.
There are types of quitting.
Somebody else, I guess, can take it from here.
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Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Jerry Dipoto appeared to be out as general manager of the Los Angeles Angels after 3½ years on the job, sources said Tuesday night, some of that time spent in conflict with long-time manager Mike Scioscia.
Dipoto's decision – he was said by a source to have resigned and hurriedly cleared out his office – would suggest deep frustration with Scioscia, whose ideals of game preparation and management did not appear to align with the analytics-based Dipoto's, and a lack of backing from team owner Arte Moreno. Dipoto was under contract through 2016.
There was hope in some corners of the organization that Dipoto might reconsider what seemed to be a hasty resignation. As of late Tuesday, that appeared unlikely, however.
Positioned between Moreno's whims, Scioscia's principles and a relationship between the two that dates to 2003, Dipoto apparently believed his preferred methods of building and operating the franchise would not be fully recognized or implemented. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Scioscia's contract runs through 2018. He can opt out at the end of this season.
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Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
ANAHEIM, Calif. – So, Arte Moreno may or may not be back to picking sides: top step or windowed office, conventional wisdom or tiny little numbers, my way or highway.
Mike Scioscia or Jerry Dipoto. Again. Around and around.
One might argue there is benefit to the cranky discourse that oozes from a roster that is so lean and, really, on too many nights just two or three hitters deep. The Angels aren't winning enough. Whether that's because they're light on talent or slow on scouting report delivery systems sounds again like a matter for Moreno's patience, which is not famously deliberate except apparently in matters of Scioscia vs. Dipoto.
One might also argue you can have only so many of those arguments before somebody's gotta go, by white flag or jousting stick. That appeared to be sorting itself out as the Angels prepared to host the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Hours after a Fox report detailed yet another skirmish between the front office and the uniformed, this having to do with how players were receiving and then employing – or not employing – scouting reports, the mood at Angel Stadium was somewhat edgy.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago
Carlos Correa walked straight up to Albert Pujols before batting practice in Anaheim, stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Carlos Correa,” because there’d be no better time or place to meet the man he’d looked up to since he was 5.
There’ve been others for Correa. Troy Tulowitzki, when the Houston Astros were in Colorado. There’d be more. Alex Rodriguez, when the New York Yankees were in Houston last week.
“I get compared to him a lot,” Correa said with a small blush. “So …”
“Nice kid,” Rodriguez said.
“He’s bigger than I thought,” Pujols said.
Correa is 20 years old and 20 games into his first big-league season. In early June, when Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced on the team plane that Correa would be joining the club the following day, a loud cheer erupted on the tarmac in Toronto. There were men whose jobs were suddenly at risk on that plane, and still they celebrated, because the Astros were getting better and because this seemed a good, deserving kid.
“It’s such an honor to play with you,” he’d told Pujols. “I’ll never take it for granted.”
“I love that,” Pujols said. “I’m sure it can be intimidating. So it makes me feel good when he can come and say hello.”
They’re rivals now.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago
Look, Ryne Sandberg seemed a decent enough manager, long as a game didn't run off in too complex a direction. That didn't come up very often; when you're being outscored by 122 runs in not even three months, the issue is not the cerebral maneuverings of the guy standing on the top step. This was the man who jumped behind the wheel as the first axle of the bus went off the cliff, and no amount of steering or brake pumping was going to change what happened next.
The Philadelphia Phillies happened next, in a tiny little puff, way down … there.
They held on to who they were for too long. They clung to yesterday. They fired the wrong people. They made poor choices. It happens. The ballpark was full, the payroll was big and had stars; tomorrow seemed so, so far away. If just this guy could hit, or that guy could stay healthy, or that guy could be 25 again, or they all could come together in a happy Kumbaya under a Hall of Fame player with a legit rep, maybe they'd buy a season or two to get their acts together.
One less issue: Ryne Sandberg.
Which is really unusual.
Just walked in Friday and fired himself.
The keys to the bus.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago
Something a little different this week, as we uncover what the Cardinals would have learned had they hacked not just the Astros but every team in baseball:
The rankings (records through Wednesday's games):
1. St. Louis Cardinals (47-24; Previous: 1) – Well, this is awkward – turns out Bill DeWitt's signature on bottom of paychecks has little hearts over the i's.
2. Kansas City Royals (41-28; Previous: 2) – Ned Yost's high score on Threes! is three.
3. Houston Astros (42-32; Previous: 7) – All references to Cardinals are required to be whispered.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (40-31; Previous: 8) – Josh Harrison was built from the spare parts of six different utility players.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers (40-33; Previous: 3) – The computer system at Dodger Stadium stores information in Andrew Friedman's head.
6. Tampa Bay Rays (41-33; Previous: 9) – For months before leaving for Chicago, Joe Maddon had been receiving drills and hacksaws from team tailor.
7. Chicago Cubs (39-31; Previous: 10) – Every few weeks Theo Epstein reboots the operating system on Jed Hoyer.
9. San Francisco Giants (39-34; Previous: 4) – Hunter Pence types with one finger.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago
ANAHEIM, Calif. – His son A.J. was asking just the other day about the All-Star Game, Albert Pujols said, about going to Cincinnati and sitting in that clubhouse with the great players, all those shiny baseballs and bats on the tables to sign, and then standing along the baseline with all those different hats and jerseys. It's been five years, after all, four All-Star Games at home with the family, which was great, of course, but nobody plays for a vacation in July.
Pujols told his boy he didn't know if he'd be an All Star or not, that he didn't decide these things, not really. Maybe people had just gotten used to him being something other than that Albert Pujols, the one who stood at first base for the National League for about a decade without peer, and maybe there were guys who were better than him now. Not better better, but better today maybe, however they measure these things.
If you do go, A.J. persisted, will you hit in the Home Run Derby?
On Tuesday afternoon Pujols stopped at the retelling to laugh warmly at a 14-year-old's curiosity, his stubbornness, his ability to hear only exactly what he wants to hear and then slog onward.
Is he an All-Star?
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago
We watch with our hearts and because of that a wispy, predisposed notion of honor, and therefore expect Jose Tabata to get the hell out of the way of Max Scherzer’s destiny. As if anyone really has a destiny, especially in a silly game, as if someone else is beholden to it.
We grant 27 outs divine status, a referendum on not just a ballgame but the fight in a man, except in certain circumstances when, you know, 25 or 26 is sufficient.
We measure the inches, we rue them, we celebrate them, but we accept them, until the last of them are the pad hanging off Tabata’s left elbow.
This is not a question of whether Tabata intentionally deflected a slider Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. He probably did. At the very least, his personal interest in preserving Scherzer’s bid for a perfect game was minimal. He wouldn’t play along, a quality we generally like in an athlete until he’s standing in the way of our view of how things are, you know, supposed to go.
To that, play the game.
Nationals fans, who booed Tabata at the time and then all Sunday afternoon and likely will forever, should understand this better than most. They watch Bryce Harper play every day.
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Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago
Max Scherzer was a pitch from perfect Saturday afternoon, six days after he’d also brushed against perfection.
He was ferocious again. He was willful. He threw a no-hitter, then threw his arms in the air and caught one Washington Nationals teammate after another in post-game embraces.
So this was his work week: 18 innings, 57 batters faced, 54 retired, three baserunners, one (broken-bat) hit, 26 strikeouts.
Johnny Vander Near.
"I’m just locked," Scherzer told reporters.
On a day against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park when the crowd rose to greet most of his last few dozen pitches, Scherzer threw the 289th no-hitter in MLB history.
That it was not a perfect game came to a single pitch – a 2-and-2 slider – with two out in the ninth inning to pinch-hitter Jose Tabata. The slider was inside, Tabata crouched into it and was hit on the front elbow. Tabata appeared to glance back at plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, as he’d made little effort to avoid the pitch, and might even have invited the pitch to hit him. Muchlinski motioned him to first base.
"Just didn’t finish the pitch," Scherzer said. "Backed up on me. And clipped him."