A little more than 24 hours before the Baltimore Ravens battle the New England Patriots to decide the AFC representative in this year’s Super Bowl, Baltimore sports fans are coping with the loss of Orioles Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver.
Here’s the full story from USA Today
by Paul White, USA TODAY Sports
Published: 01/19/2013 12:13pm
The lasting visions of Earl Weaver always will include an irate man with hat askew, kicking dirt and screaming at an umpire. But the Hall of Fame manager was more innovator than instigator.
Weaver, who won four American League pennants and a World Series during his 17 seasons as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, died early today after collapsing during an Orioles-sponsored cruise. He was 82. The cause of death was not immediately revealed.
It was Weaver who pioneered use of radar guns to measure pitchers’ velocity. It was Weaver who kept a stack of index cards to keep track of pitcher-vs.-batter matchups, long before the computerization of the game’s statistics.
And, of course, it was Weaver whose 94 ejections – often flamboyant and even once before a game even started – that made him most memorable. That total still is an American League record, topped in the majors only be the recently retired Bobby Cox and Hall of Famer John McGraw.
“The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager,” Weaver once said. “It won’t hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game.”
But he also said, in a 1986 interview, “On my tombstone just write, ‘The sorest loser that ever lived.’ ”
The Orioles are holding their annual FanFest this weekend and a moment of silence was held as the event opened this morning.
“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Baltimore Orioles and one of the greatest in the history of the game,” Orioles owner Peter Angelos said in a statement released by the team. “Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. This is a sad day.”
Said Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig: “Earl Weaver was a brilliant baseball man, a true tactician in the dugout and one of the key figures in the rich history of the Baltimore Orioles…Earl’s managerial style proved visionary, as many people in the game adopted his strategy and techniques years later.
“Earl was well known for being one of the game’s most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianne, their family and all Orioles fans.”
Weaver, who never played in the majors, replaced Hank Bauer as Baltimore manager midway through the 1968 season. His 48-34 record the rest of that season wasn’t enough to catch the Detroit Tigers in the AL race, but the Orioles’ second-place finish was a message to the rest of the league. Weaver’s teams would win the next three pennants and the 1970 World Series.
“Bad ballplayers make good managers,” Weaver said. “Not the other way around. … A manager’s job is simple. For 162 games, you try not to screw up all the smart stuff your organization did last December.”
Weaver joined his organization in 1957 at manager of a minor league team in Fitzgerald, Ga.
He worked his way through the Baltimore farm system and was added to the major league coaching staff in 1967.
The Orioles team he inherited certainly was talented. It included future Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson. Another, pitcher Jim Palmer, would be promoted from the minors in 1969, the year Weaver’s heavily favored team lost the World Series to the New York Mets.
He got his World Series victory a year later, winning seven of eight post-season games – a three-game sweep of Minnesota in the AL Championship Series and a five-game World Series triumph over Cincinnati.
Weaver’s relationship with his players often was as colorful as his celebrated battles with umpires.
Palmer once said, “The only thing Earl knows about a curveball is that he couldn’t hit it.”
But Weaver hardly was worried about his relationships.
“I don’t know if I said 10 words to Frank Robinson while he played for me,” Weaver said.
But those players understood Weaver was ahead of his time.
“He used to keep these little cards with what guys used to hit off certain guys,” said current Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson, who was an Oriole in Weaver’s first five seasons as manager. “This guy was 2-for-6. This guy was 1-for-10. I tried to explain to him, ‘Earl, you know what the standard deviation curve is?’ He says, ‘What the hell is that.’ ”
But he knew how to use players, making frequent use of platoons, having a left- and a right-handed hitter share a position. He also would list as the designated hitter in his starting lineup a pitcher who he didn’t plan to use, then insert a real hitter when that spot in the batting order came up.
Weaver managed the Orioles through the 1982 season, then replaced Joe Altobelli during the 1985 season and retired for good after 1986, the only losing season of his major league career. His final record was 1,480-1,060, the .583 winning percentage ranking fifth all-time among post-1900 managers.
The Orioles retired his No. 4 in 1982 and a plaque with his name and number is on the corner of the home dugout in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Weaver was know for positioning himself at the corner of a dugout nearest the runway to the clubhouse so he could go up the tunnel and sneak a cigarette, especially in the late innings of tight games. Reliever Don Stanhouse, who for awhile was Weaver’s closer, was nicknamed “Fullpack” for his effect on his manager.
Weaver, who has spent most of his post-baseball life in South Florida, was in Baltimore last summer at an unveiling of a statue honoring him.
Copyright 2012 USATODAY.com
Most of us would love to be Alex Rodriguez. He’s got more more money than any of us could imagine, movie star looks, and is the third baseman on the most illustrious franchise in all of sports. Not to mention, he is widely thought to be one of the greatest baseball players of his era and possibly one of the best baseball players to ever play the game, period. He’s a lifetime .340 hitter with over 650 career home runs and nearly 2,000 RBI.
One would think its good to be Alex Rodriguez. Well, not so much lately – especially after the Yankees’ dramatic come from behind victory in Game 4 of the ALDS – in which Rodriguez was pinch-hit for by 40 year old platoon player Raul Ibanez.
With the Yankees trailing Orioles by a run in the ninth inning and staring a 2-1 series hole dead in the face two outs away from being on the brink of elimination from the ALDS, manager Joe Girardi called Alex Rodriguez back to the bench and inserted pinch hitter Raul Ibanez in his place. The result produced one of the most memorable games in the Yankees’ long, illustrious postseason history: Ibanez homered into the right field seats to tie the game, and then did it again in the 12th inning to win it.
Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York has already dubbed the move as the “pinch hit heard ‘round the world”.
Strangely enough, both veterans were originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners two decades ago. Not that there’s much comparison beyond that: Ibanez was taken with the 1,006th pick in 1992, A-Rod with the first pick in 1993.
And yet Girardi’s move made plenty of sense. With the bases clear and the Yankees two outs away from a loss, the situation called for a long ball. Rodriguez’s power swing has been MIA for weeks. With a right handed pitcher on the mound and Yankee Stadium’s short right field wall beckoning, the lefty swinging Ibanez was simply a better bet to go deep.
But the move underscores a developing problem for the Yankees going forward. Rodriguez – he of 647 lifetime homers and three MVP awards, one of the greatest players of all time – was pinch-hit for with a playoff game on the line. A short time ago, that would have been unthinkable. At 37, A-Rod’s skills appear to be in sharp decline. Yet thanks to a move by partner Hank Steinbrenner five years ago, the Yankees are committed to Rodriquez for $114 million plus potential bonuses for another five years, through 2017 (we haven’t heard much from Hank in the past few years – brother Hal is clearly running things now).
Yankee brass has stated its desire to drop the club’s $200 million payroll to under $190 million by 2014 in order to drastically reduce the luxury tax bill it would owe under the new collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated in 2011. The problem: in 2014, A-Rod, who will turn 39 that season, will still be making $25 million. CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, who will be 33 and 34, respectively, will take up another $46 million. And the team’s best player, Robinson Cano, still needs to be re-signed once his current deal runs out after next season. There is zero chance the Yankees will let Cano walk, or that he will be making anything less than $20 million in 2014. That adds up to at least $91 million tied up in four players.
And what if Derek Jeter, who put up a strong season this year, wants to keep going? If Jeter’s 2013 season is anything close to his 2012 season, then public relations alone would probably force the Yankees to cough up a decent contract to the captain, even as he turns 40 (Mariano Rivera? He’s vowed to do one more year, but two seems unlikely).
The Steinbrenner family naturally wants to keep selling the big money Legends Suites at their four-year-old baseball palace, and keep the value of their YES Network propped up as much as possible. But that is tough to do when a large portion of payroll is devoted to a few core players on the downside of the slope while trying to fillout the balance of the roster with younger, cheaper talent.
Remember, just a short while ago General Manager Brian Cashman was ready to let A-Rod leave when he opted out of his prior contract back in 2007, only to be overruled by the caving Hank Steinbrenner. Now Cashman has Steinbrenner to thank for making his job tougher.
Regardless, pinch-hitting for Rodriguez worked out well last night because Raul Ibanez came up big and the Yankees won the game. However, this story is going to continue to evolve and it’s going to be fascinating to see how A-Rod reacts both on and off the field moving forward in the 2012 playoffs and beyond.
Josh Hamilton blasts two-run home run, one of his four on the night vs. Baltimore Orioles during Tuesday's 10-3 victory. (MITCHELL LAYTON/GETTY IMAGES)
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton joined some historical company on Tuesday night when he became just the 16th player in history to hit four home runs in one game. It excited Rangers players, fans, coaches and executives alike, but that enthusiasm quickly turned to concern for the latter of that list. A free agent-to-be at the end of the 2012 season and with a huge payday likely looming, Hamilton just made things really difficult for his team concerning his long-term status with the franchise.
Before the season began, Hamilton and the Rangers were getting very close to a long-term contract extension that would have likely kept the slugger in Texas for the remainder of his career. However, an alcohol relapse in early February ended the negotiations and began a shorty, fiery exchange of public remarks between the player and team.
The spat concluded with Hamilton saying he would be cheaper for the Rangers to sign “right now” than later in the season or after its conclusion. He couldn’t have been more right after his historical night that propelled Texas to a 10-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Hamilton was very humble following the performance, but that doesn’t change how he feels about his contract situation.
“Obviously it’s, other than being in the World Series, the highlight of my big-league career,” Hamilton said. “What a blessing that was. It was just an awesome feeling to see how excited my teammates got.”
“It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game,” Hamilton said. “Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing.”
Oh, so now it’s all about having fun again? If his comments were sincere, this would be the Josh Hamilton that Rangers fans have been dying to see since he was crowned AL MVP in 2010. Even through the 2011 World Series Hamilton was a hard-working, God-fearing, head-first-sliding slugger that was the backbone of this Texas team. It seemed like the relapse changed that; it made him arrogant and disloyal to the team.
Maybe this incredible performance truly did make Hamilton feel blessed and maybe his teammates’ excitement really did give him sheer joy. The Rangers better hope so because Hamilton’s free agent price just sky-rocketed as he predicted it would at the time of the relapse.
The real dilemma here is the fact Hamilton isn’t involved in the contract negotiations at all; his agent, Mike Moye, is in completely and totally in charge of that. In fact, Hamilton didn’t even know Moye had met with the Rangers brass in early April, the first time since the relapse, until after it happened. That means Hamilton’s price not only sky-rocketed after the 4-home run night, but it’s also got a new retail premium on top.
That refers to the price of soon-to-be free agents during incredible seasons, like Hamilton’s current situation. Had he avoided the relapse and been signed to an extension in the off-season, the Rangers could have signed their slugger for a “wholesale” or “discounted” price.
Now his agent has all the leverage and unless Hamilton’s seemingly new-found admiration of his team takes over the situation, the Rangers will be hurting the contract situations of other pending free agents like Colby Lewis, David Murphy and Mike Napoli to name a few. Thus, Hamilton’s selfishness might hurt the Rangers’ team outlook in the long run if his high level of production and lack of love for the team continue.
Call it wishful thinking, Orioles fans.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced out of Washington DC that maligned Orioles owner Peter Angelos was “quietly shopping” the Baltimore Orioles. The whispers of a potential sale originated from Eric Bickel, a radio host on 106.7 The Fan in Washington. Bickel said Tuesday that he had heard Angelos was quietly discussing a sale of the Orioles. Bickel said Angelos was looking to sell the team but not his majority share in the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which broadcasts Orioles and Washington Nationals games.
However, an Orioles official told Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun that there’s “absolutely no truth” to rumors owner Peter Angelos is considering selling the team. Walker goes on to state the obvious by suggesting the reports of Angelos considering a sale have become annual grist for Baltimore-area sports fans, desperate to see the Orioles end their streak of 14 straight losing seasons.
I’m not an Orioles fan, but by living here I can certainly attest to those notions.
“Come along with me, misery loves company. You’re welcome… at the home of the blues.” – Johnny Cash “Home of the Blues
That song probably best describes the emotions of the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, and their respective nations.
The Atlanta Braves dejected after losing to the Philadelphia Phillies and the Wild Card to the St. Louis Cardinaks
The Atlanta Braves are getting a reprieve for the most part, at least outside of the Atlanta area. On the other hand, the Red Sox are getting slammed all over, especially in Boston and the greater New England area, deservedly so.
We all know how dreadful the Sox started the season, 0-6 to start the season and 2-10 after the first 12 games of the season. For the four months following the dreadful start, the Sox were considered one of – if not the – best teams in the American league or perhaps all of baseball.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona
“September happened”. said GM Theo Epstein.
Star left handed ace Jon Lester was asked what he would remember most about the 2011 season.
That’s a 7-20 final-month implosion, a blown nine-game lead and the worst September collapse to squander a postseason spot in baseball history.
Do the ’04 and ’07 Red Sox teams have to give back their World Series rings now, too? No, no, it wasn’t quite that bad. But it was close.
On this night of a 4-3 after-midnight walk-off loss to the Orioles, the dishonors belong to exhausted Jonathan Papelbon (blown save, defeat), Carl Crawford, whose trapped liner on Robert Andino’s game-winning two-out single is his trademark defensive mistake, and all the brain-dead base runners from David Ortiz to Marco Scutaro who killed innings with their crazy feet.
Now, lets turn to the Tampa Bay Rays who, minutes after the Red Sox had blown a 3-2 lead and lost, won this AL wild-card race for the ages with a walk-off homer by Evan Longoria in the 12th inning against the Yankees. We have a few words for you guys, too. First, gentlemen, please return the thousand-mile magic carpet, the perpetual pixie-dust machine and the vat of voodoo juice. The rest of mankind needs all of ’em back. Now.
Don’t get greedy. You just burned several lifetimes of joy. Those computers claimed your chances of catching the Red Sox were down to nine-tenths of one percent when the month started. Now, go get ready for October.
What’s next for the Red Sox and Braves?
By now, we’ve seen all the heads pointed toward the ground or shaking slowly from side to side. Those images are almost routine, even as epic as this month’s collapses of the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves are.
But don’t some of those heads have to roll? Isn’t that what’s expected by fans still seething with anger and-or speechless with frustration? They want blame. They want accountability. And sometimes those sentiments extend to teams’ front offices or even ownership.
So, realistically, what’s in store after two of the most monumental meltdowns in baseball history?
The Red Sox and Braves are quite different stories, Boston expensively and aggressively built to win — to win now and win big — and Atlanta still grasping at a return to previous glory.
That said, still…collapses of this magnitude are unheard of and carry some blame. Question is, who do you blame it on? In Boston’s case, buzz around Boston amped up last week when general manager Theo Epstein felt compelled to refute speculation of “a disconnect” between him and manager Terry Francona.
Disconnect or discontent, the blame game became a preemptive strike in Atlanta, where fans were asked to select scapegoats — BEFORE Wednesday’s galling 13-inning loss.
It’s all real now — the results and the inevitable search for solutions.
After Wednesday’s season-ending shock in Baltimore, GM Theo Epstein couldn’t deny his team collapsing.
“We can’t deny this month happened. just because it was preceded by four months of being the best team in baseball. We have to take a very close look at everything that’s not right. We have to fix things and that includes the whole organization.”
Epstein and Francona have been together eight seasons and are the only men in their positions to have delivered World Series championships to Boston in nearly a century. They’ve also helped create the expectations that are difficult to meet.
But the guaranteed portion of Francona’s contract is over, though the Red Sox have two option years that have not been addressed. And Francona’s name surfaced this week as a possible candidate for the Chicago White Sox vacancy. Francona began his managing career in the White Sox minor league system.
Adrian Gonzalez,one of the marquee acquisitions that made this Red Sox team appear invincible spoke to defend his manager.
“You can’t blame the manager who kept us on an even keel the whole time, He did his job. Us, the players, just didn’t get it done.”
The Red Sox will look long and hard at their pitching, which was as the center of their collapse. That could be trouble for Curt Young, in his first year as pitching coach after John Farrell left to become Toronto manager.
But the only key pitcher not under contract for next year is closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had his strongest season in five years. Erik Bedard and Tim Wakefield, who both failed as stopgap starters after injuries to the rotation, especially Clay Buchholz, also are free agents.
The bigger contract decisions will come on offense, where DH David Ortiz, right fielder J.D. Drew and catcher Jason Varitek can leave. But the Red Sox already are locked into more than $125 million in contract obligations for next year. That makes shakeups more difficult.
And then there’s Epstein himself, whose name has surfaced in talk about the vacant Chicago Cubs GM job. Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman also has been mentioned for that job. Who knows how last night’s events might have tilted that situation.
The Braves didn’t have nearly the expectations, especially in a division with the other pre-season “sure thing.” Atlanta probably belonged in the wild-card race. That’s the race usually reserved for good teams but just-flawed-enough teams that they can’t quite keep up with the elite — in this case the runaway Phillies who spent the last three nights reminding the Braves of their qualitative differences.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez was in the unenviable position of following legendary Bobby Cox. Gonzalez will take plenty of fan heat but, then, so did Cox for the pereceived underachieving of teams that won 14 division titles but just one World Series.
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chipper Jones thought the criticism was unwarranted.
It’s cruel, because probably nobody in Atlanta sports is probably under as much scrutiny as he is filling in for Bobby Cox.”
Both the Red Sox and Braves are well-positioned to be very good next year. But there’s no guarantee everything will look the same.
I heard the news just the same as everybody else. I had the Orioles/Twins game on in the room next to me and I wasn’t sure if I had heard the news correctly. I went closer to the TV for confirmation and couldn’t believe what I had just heard. From there, I jumped on my Facebook page where I saw post, after post, after post from various Baltimore media members and it finally started to sink in.
After the game, it was an emotional and impromptu tribute to the late Oriole legend. Trust me, it was tough to watch at times. Flanagan’s longtime friend, colleague, and teammate Jim Palmer reflected on the life and career of his dear friend while struggling to hold it together.
Jim Palmer: I’m not real good at this, because he was one of us, we were a family. I think anybody that played for the Orioles during the eras that we played understood how lucky we were and it wasn’t just about what happened on the field. He was one of a kind, I’m just sorry for the people that knew him because this is part of being my age and having a chance to be with guys who were this special so that’s pretty much all I have to say … it’s devastating.”
Rick Dempsey: “I’m in shock right now. ”I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff.”
Peter Angelos: “In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him. On behalf of the club, I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.”
Cal Ripken Jr.: “I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He was a good friend and teammate and our thoughts are with Alex and his family. Mike was an Oriole through and through and he will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day.”
Buck Showalter: ”Mike made a point of making me feel welcomed from Day One. I always looked forward to him coming in and sitting down and drinking coffee with me, and not only talking about baseball but talking about life. He was a passionate man about the Orioles and family, and he impacted a lot of people’s lives, not just by the way he pitched but [as] someone our organization has always been proud of not only for the way he pitched but the way he treated people.”
Flanagan won 141 games during his Orioles career, helping to lead a staff that claimed the 1983 World Series title. He led the American League with 23 wins in 1979 and earned the Cy Young Award as the O’s advanced to the World Series before falling to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Flanagan made the All-Star game only once — in 1978 — when he was a 19-game winner. In 1987, the Orioles traded him to Toronto but Flanagan returned in 1991 and closed out his career as a reliever back in Baltimore. Flanagan was the last Oriole to pitch in Memorial Stadium and later served as the team’s pitching coach for two one-year stints. He went on to work with the Orioles broadcasting team before becoming the club’s executive vice president from 2005-08.
As we are just weeks away from the July 31st trade deadline, there are some hot trade topics going around baseball.
Heath Bell, the closer for the San Diego Padres, could help out some contending teams in the bullpen. Rafael Furcal, shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers, could provide a spark if put in a winning position on an up and coming team. Matt Garza, starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, may be an answer as the 4th or 5th starter for a club over .500.
These moves are most likely to occur later this month, with some key trade pieces to be returned in the process. If you are an Orioles fan though, there may not be much, if any movement on the waiver wire in late July. Who knows if any team will give the Baltimore Orioles somebody of value in return?
Here are some names that the Orioles may put out there for trade bait:
Vladimir Guerrero: At the age of 36, Guerrero isn’t playing like the Vlad of old. Not only dead bolted in the designated hitters role, Guerrero has grown impatient at the plate with just 11 walks and a .279 batting average in 83 games. And not to mention, his hustle is so horrid that I sometimes believe that my 73 year old grandmother could outrun him. But let us not forget the Vladimir Guerrero of old. The one who has a career .318 batting average, a .380 on base percentage, 443 home runs, and 1,464 runs batted in. There are contending teams out there who could use that type of veteran presence in their lineup, day in and day out. Maybe Vlad is having a bad year…..or maybe he needs a quick change of scenery.
Derrek Lee: While reliable at first base with his glove, Lee hasn’t put up the type of numbers the Orioles expected him to have for 2011. Lee, 35 has been hitting .235 with 9 home runs and 28 RBI’s in the heart of the O’s lineup. Although despite the numbers, there may be a place out there that could use a player like Derrek Lee. Lee does have a World Series ring as a member of the 2003 Flordia Marlins, and has been to the playoffs on 3 other occasions with the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves. Lee may never hit 46 home runs like he did years ago in Chicago but if there are any teams in the National League with postseason aspirations, they would be dumb not to have someone like Derrek Lee on their team.
Jeremy Guthrie: Oh my, this one hits the heart a little bit. Not because Jeremy Guthrie, 32 is related or anything. But in all of the years he has fought hard for the franchise, whether it was as the number 3 starter or the ace, he never got the wins that he deserved. In 2007, Jeremy Guthrie went 7-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 26 starts. Not bad for being a starter in the AL East….but what happened since then? 34-55 with a 4.20 ERA?!?! Is there something wrong with this statistic? Or how about being 3-12 with a 4.18 ERA in 2011? As the ace? I don’t think there is anymore that needs to be said. If the Baltimore Orioles organization has any respect for Jeremy Guthrie, they would make him the main trade bait. Imagine Jeremy Guthrie as the 5th starter for the Philadelphia Phillies, he would probably never lose another game! And I’m sure the Phillies wouldn’t mind having a solid number 5 starter on their team which is most likely heading to the National League Championship Games. I hope this happens for Jeremy Guthrie, he deserves it.
Davey Johnson, here coaching Team USA in 2009, is reportedly taking over for Jim Riggleman as manager of the Nationals. (Associated Press)
Davey Johnson, the former manager of the Mets, Reds, Orioles, and Dodgers, was expected to be named as the new manager of the Washington Nationals, the Washington Post reported late Friday.
Front office sources told the Post that Johnson, 68, and the Nationals were still engaged in final negotiations late Friday night, but had agreed in principle and that Johnson could take over as early as Monday.
Bench coach John McLaren was named interim coach after Jim Riggleman resigned Thursday but Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said McLaren would manage the team for “days not weeks.”
Riggleman unexpectedly resigned from the post over a contract squabble, saying he was disappointed Rizzo would not pick up the option on his contract for next season.
“I’m 58. I’m too old to be disrespected,” Riggleman said, according to The Washington Post.
Really? Really dude? (in my best Miz voice)
My good friend and colleague, the one and only Stan “The Fan” Charles, did a great job of detailing Davey Johnson’s return to the managing business as well as detailing the irony between Jim Riggleman and Nationals interim skipper John McLaren. McLaren served as Riggleman’s bench coacDah this season. The irony was that Riggleman’s last managing job in Seattle came about, after Riggleman had been McLaren’s bench-coach in Seattle.
Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Jon Heyman reported that Johnson’s contract runs through the 2013 season. Johnson, 68, has not managed in the big leagues since 2000.
- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols grabs his left wrist after colliding with Kansas City’s Wilson Betemit on Sunday. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols will be out for 4-6 weeks with a fractured left forearm.
The team announced the results of an MRI and CT scan Monday, a day after Pujols was injured during a home game against Kansas City. The team said Pujols has a non-displaced fracture of his left radius and his arm is in a splint.
The three-time NL MVP and crown jewel of the 2012 free agent market was hurt after Wilson Betemit hit a chopper up the middle off Cardinals starter Jamie Garcia.
After the game, Puljols did his best to describe the situation:
“He hit me on my wrist and my shoulder. He kind of jammed me back. It’s the toughest play to make as a first baseman. It’s a bang-bang play. I saw the replay a couple of times, but I didn’t really want to look at it.” - Albert Pujols
As for the other player involved in the play, Kansas City third baseman Wilson Betemit said there was no way to avoid Pujols.
“I was running hard and the ball arrived at the same time I got to the base, I couldn’t do anything about it. He hit me on my left arm, that’s why he dropped the ball. I hit him and then I saw him on the ground. That’s part of the game. I couldn’t do anything about it.” - Wilson Betemit
Pujols is hitting .279 this year, starting to heat up after a slow start. The team said his left shoulder was sore, but no structural damage was found.
As Albert Pujols explained, the play he was involved in is indeed the toughest play for a first baseman. Cliff Floyd was never the same after he suffered a similar injury and the same could be said for Derrek Lee who currently plays first base for the Baltimore Orioles. Lee suffered an injury almost identical to Puljols’ injury and has struggled mightily to regain his form prior to the injury.
ESPN’s Buster Olney echoed similar sentiments in regards to Pujols’ injury but he also floated the idea that Pujols’ wrist could cause the Cardinals to lower their initial contract offer to the free agent-to-be, which, in Olney’s doomsday scenario, would snowball into Pujols leaving town.
**photos and quotes courtesy of the Associated Press
A former catcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Baltimore Orioles from 1989 to 1998. Chris Hoiles was drafted by the Detroit Tigers but was traded to the Orioles in 1988 for Fred Lynn.
Hoiles was a career .262 hitter with 151 home runs, hitting 20 or more in 3 seasons. His career slugging percentage of .467 is the 9th best in Orioles history. His best year was 1993, when he had career highs with a .310 batting average and 29 home runs. Hoiles’ highlight of his professional career – and perhaps the most notable achievement – came on August 14, 1998, at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Hoiles became the 9th player ever to hit two grand slams in one game.
On May 17, 1996, Hoiles joined the list of 23 major league players who have hit an ultimate grand slam when he hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with the Baltimore Orioles down by three runs against the Seattle Mariners. But besides being simply an “ultimate” grand slam, Hoiles’ homer may be considered the “most ultimate” grand slam of all time, as he hit his home run on a full 3-2 count with 2 outs, the only time in major league history this has ever been recorded.
Recently, I conducted an e-mail interview with Chris Hoiles covering a wide range of topics, but most importantly, I talked to Chris about the safety of Major League catchers and wether or not rule changes should be implemented in MLB to protect them from violent collisions.
First off, Chris, you and Adam are back for a second season of Bird Talk on V1370 albeit under a different format. How are you enjoying it thus far? What do you hope to accomplish this season on Bird Talk?
CHRIS HOILES: Adam and I are back for a second season on “Bird Talk”. The format is different as we are on the Rob Long Show. We enjoy it alot. Rob is a great host, and brings alot of radio experience with him.. He is a big sports fan, as well as, a Baltimore based sports fan.. We enjoy being on the radio and passing along our knowledge of the game of baseball, as well as, passing along some of the events that HGG Sports has coming up. We have alot going on with HGG Sports, and this gives us an avenue to get it out to the public.
As you know, San Francisco Giants stud catcher Buster Posey was injured recently as a result of a violent – and perfectly legal – collision at home plate. As a result of this, there are a lot of questions around baseball regarding safety to catchers. As a former catcher in the big leagues, do you have concern for the safety of catchers?
CHRIS HOILES: Yes, I do have concerns for the catcher, but I really don’t know what can be done in order to protect them.. There are rules being implimented in the lower levels and high schools, that prevent any contact with the catcher’s. I have a problem with that in a couple of ways. First of all, as a baserunner, I think you put yourself in a bad position if your momentum takes you to home plate, and then you have to change direction to try to avoid the catcher. Second of all, I think that this is part of the game of baseball. I know through the history of baseball, there have been many collisions at homeplate that might have ended some careers. One that comes to mind is Pete Rose Sr and Ray Fosse in the All-Star game.. Ray Fosse was never the same again.. I have also been hit a few times so hard that I had multiple concussions as a result. The hard part is trying to figure out what to do and still keep the game as the game.
The NFL has cracked down on violent hits in recent years with a wave of new rules designed to improve player safety. Baseball has recently adopted a new concussion policy but Giants manager Bruce Bochy is among those who say that MLB should follow suit and adopt a policy especially for catchers. Do you share those same sentiments?
CHRIS HOILES: I do agree.. Catchers are very much like football players, as when they have collisions at homeplate, there is alot of things that can happen.. I think the concussion issue is a very serious issue at any level or sport and should be taken seriously.
In wake of Posey’s injury we have seen a few catchers in MLB become reluctant to block the plate and in some cases managers and GM’s have told their players specifically not to block the plate. We have seen the short term impact this injury has had on catchers around the game. Do you see this becoming a long term issue?
CHRIS HOILES: I don’t know if this will be an issue.. We have already seen it in a few games, where the catcher is reluctant to block the plate.. There is alot of money given to these guys and they aren’t helping the team if they are on the DL. I find it hard as a catcher with the game on the line to just let someone go by without trying to block the plate.. We, as catcher’s, have been taught how to do it, and when the game is on the line, I think they will revert back to what they were taught and block the plate.
Teams that have young catchers up and coming through their Minor League system, does this cause teams to think twice about putting young kids behind the plate?
CHRIS HOILES: I don’t think so.. Everyone needs good catching help and I don’t think this matter will detour organizations from doing what they have done for alot of years.. I think there might be a little more education on this in the low minor leagues, so they can get used to it as they go up the ladder. I still think when push comes to shove, they will block the plate when the winning run is barreling down on them.
Chris, in closing, I want to thank you for your insight and thank you for your time. You’ve been retired for awhile now but that doesn’t make you any less busy. You have 3 boys heavily involved in athletics and have managed the York Revolution in the Atlantic League. More recently, you and Adam have developed HGG Sports and Bird Talk. Can you elaborate on those things for us?
CHRIS HOILES: Well, I have stayed very busy since retiring from the Orioles in 1999. Having 2 boys involved with sports has kept us running all over.. Travel baseball with them has taken us to many places that we have never been before.. Also, watching them progress through sports has been very rewarding for me. In 2007, I did become a manager for an independent baseball league, Atlantic League, and the team York Revolution. I was the manager for 3 years, and it was a great time. I learned alot about being a manager and dealing with some many individual players.
And now with the company, HGG Sports, Adam and I take advantage of what we are all about.. We put on events that involve professional athletes and celebrities, and bring them to the fans. We have put on hunting trips, fishing trips, we are bringing NHL hockey back to Baltimore in September with a game between Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators.. We have also taken a team from the Cal Ripken collegiate league to Puerto Rico to play (4) games against Puerto Rican teams.. We have also hosted a golf tournament for the league to help fund the trip to Puerto Rico.. So, as you can see, we can do just about anything.
A very special thank you to Chris Hoiles for taking time to chat with us.
**For more information on Chris Hoiles and news regarding events, please visit HGGSports.com. You can hear Chris Hoiles and Adam Gladstone every Wednesday from 10:00a.m.-noon for “Bird Talk” on The Rob Long Show.