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Tag:Bobby Cox
Posted on: October 31, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Next stop, Cooperstown (with Cox and Torre?)

There's absolutely no doubt that Tony La Russa is headed to the Hall of Fame.

And what a Hall of Fame class it could be.

La Russa will be eligible for a December 2013 vote on the "expansion era" ballot for managers and executives, on a ballot that will also include Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and John Schuerholz, among others. The ballot for managers and executives is separate from the player ballot, but Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will appear on the player ballot for the first time that same year.

All of them could be part of the same induction ceremony in July 2014.

La Russa, Cox, Torre and Schuerholz would be voted on by a 16-member panel, and each would require 12 votes to be elected. There is no maximum on the number of managers or executives voted in in any one year (although each of the 16 voters has a maximum of five votes).

Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:57 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Aaron, Ripken, Yaz, and the drummer in Cleveland

Bet you can't name the guy who has appeared in more Indians games than anyone else in history.

I couldn't.

It's Terry Turner, and I only know that because I just looked it up. He played with the Tribe from 1904-18, and I only know that because I looked it up, too.

Turner played in 1,619 games, according to the Indians media guide. Or in 1,625 games, according to Lee Sinins Baseball Encyclopedia.

Whatever.

Anyway, this isn't about Terry Turner. It's about John Adams.

You do know him. You may not know the name, but you know the drum.

He's the guy who bangs the drum in the bleachers at Progressive (still better known as Jacobs) Field. And, according to the Indians, he's going to bang that drum in his 3,000th Indians game on Wednesday night.

3,000 games!

No wonder that Adams and that drum are more associated with the Indians than any player (except Bob Feller), or any manager or coach.

3,000 games!

Only four players in baseball history appeared in 3,000 games for one team.

Only five managers in baseball history managed 3,000 games for the same team.

I'll be honest. I covered plenty of games at Progressive (I still think of it as Jacobs) Field, and plenty of times that drum drove me crazy. But it's been a while since I've been there, and I kind of miss it.

Oh, and those four guys who appeared in 3,000 games for one team? Hank Aaron with the Braves (3,076), Cal Ripken Jr. with the Orioles (3,001), Carl Yastrzemski with the Red Sox (3,308) and Stan Musial with the Cardinals (3,026).

And the five managers? Connie Mack with the A's (7,466), John McGraw with the Giants (4,424), Bobby Cox with the Braves (3,860), Walter Alston with the Dodgers (3,658) and Tommy Lasorda with the Dodgers (3,041).


Posted on: November 2, 2010 3:10 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Yeah, I picked the Rangers, but why do you care?

I picked against the Giants in the World Series, and I was wrong.

There. Are you happy now, Giants fans?

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would care who I picked to win, and even less of an idea why anyone would stop celebrating long enough to berate me for a wrong pick. But there were times over the last week that Giants fans had me convinced they got more pleasure out of me being wrong than they did out of their team winning.

It began after Game 1. It didn't let up, all the way through Game 5.

"It would be nice to see some form of mea culpa from you and the other Brainiacs who predicted a different outcome," wrote Chet, who was at least polite about it.

I'm not sure what this says about Giants fans, but I never got nearly as much e-mail about any of my other wrong picks over the years. And believe me, there have been plenty of them.

Maybe I ought to ask Judge and Prisco if 49er fans are the same way. Maybe it's the Bay Area.

I'm not sure I care. I'm not sure why you care.

But since you do, here it is again:

I picked the Rangers in 5. I was wrong.

Oh well.

Now, can we all look back to what we saw over the last month? Here's what I saw, through three rounds, 17 games witnessed in person, most of the others seen on TV, two train rides and nine flights stopping at seven different airports:

Best game: The very first one, or at least the very first one I covered. It's hard to beat a no-hitter, and in more than two decades of covering baseball, I've never seen anyone pitch as good a game as Roy Halladay did in Game 1 against the Reds.

Best moment: The Giants interrupting their celebration at Turner Field to salute retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox. It was a classy, classy move, and it should make anyone feel better that the Giants got two more chances at celebrating -- both of them uninterrupted.

Best moment II: On the field after Game 5 of the World Series, I was interviewing Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, who grew up in Northern California, has been with the Giants for years and had never before won a World Series. Just then, the fans gathered behind the third-base dugout started chanting, "Thank you, Giants!" Righetti stopped, almost tearing up. "How cool is that?" he said. Then, thinking about the celebration back home, he added, "They're going to tear up the city."

Best song: No contest. It was the by YouTube sensation Ashkon , the Giants fan who wrote new words to sing along with Journey's Don't Stop Believing. The best line: "I had faith, and I had hope; And thankfully the Padres choked."

Best T-shirt: I never thought about buying one of those claw and antlers shirts that were so popular in Arlington. I did think about getting one of the "Let Tim Smoke" shirts in San Francisco. If you don't get it, check out Proposition 19 on today's California ballot.

Most disappointing team: Plenty of candidates, but it has to be the Twins, who played so well in September to get the best record in the American League, and home-field advantage through the AL playoffs. And they still got swept by the Yankees -- again. The worst part is that the Twins seemed to know what it would take to beat the Yankees. They tried hard to sign Colby Lewis last winter, and they tried hard to trade for Cliff Lee this summer. They didn't get either, and after they lost in three straight, they watched Lewis and Lee win three of the four games as the Rangers ousted New York.

Worst overreaction to a loss: Phillies fans, who sat in absolute disbelief as they watched the final outs in Game 6 against the Giants. The Phillies won 97 games, the most in the majors (for the first time in franchise history). They were the most impressive team entering the playoffs. They have their Big 3 starters ready for another go next year. And because they lost four of six games to the Giants, they're suddenly too old? Come on.

Worst timing for a movie: Isn't that Moneyball movie supposed to come out soon? Any chance they can rewrite it and reshoot it on the other side of the Bay? The Giants pride themselves on being the ultimate anti-Moneyball team, and the AL champion Rangers don't really subscribe to Moneyball, themselves. Funny that in the middle of a World Series between two teams that believe in old-fashioned scouting, the Mets would hire Moneyball founder Sandy Alderson to take over their organization.

Best team: Yeah, as if I'm going to pick anyone but the Giants. They were impressive, with a pitching staff that dominated and a lineup that didn't look good, but did just enough. I'm happy for Cody Ross, Andres Torres and Edgar Renteria, three of the nicest guys I covered in my years on the Tiger beat. I'm happy for Bruce Bochy, one of the best managers in the game, and for plenty of good people in that organization.

Believe it or not, I'm even happy for the Giants fans, especially those for whom this was every bit the lifelong dream that 2004 was for many in New England, or that 2005 was on the South Side of Chicago.

Maybe most of the country didn't care, as evidenced by the low ratings. Maybe it wasn't the best World Series ever.

But you could say the same about the 1984 World Series, and as I know from my time in Michigan, a whole bunch of people in that state consider it the best World Series ever.

Years from now, a whole bunch of people in Northern California will say the same about this one.

By then, maybe they'll forget that I picked it wrong. Or, at the very least, maybe they'll forgive me for it.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:44 pm
 

The counter-argument on Lee

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There was one thing I knowingly left out of today's column on Cliff Lee, and an alert reader pointed it out.

If you haven't yet read the column, here it is . But in short, my argument was that the Rangers' best chance of keeping Lee as a free agent this winter is to beat the Yankees, and possibly go on to win the World Series this fall. The idea is that he would be more hesitant to leave after winning, and they would be even more motivated (and more financially able) to keep him if they won.

But as even one Rangers person said to me yesterday, there is a little bit of a "double-edged sword" here. And the reader, who calls himself RaiderfanNY, was quick to jump on it.

"Your argument is a good one, that the better the Rangers do, the more Lee will want to stay," he wrote. "But there is a separate -- and better -- argument for why Lee will leave. The worse the Yankees do, the more money they will offer him. If the Yanks win the Series, they may decide their rotation is fine. But if they lose to Texas in 6, they'll offer Lee whatever it takes to reel him in."

It's a valid point, but here's why I don't agree with it: The Yankees aren't going to decide their rotation is fine, even if they go on to win the World Series. A.J. Burnett is still going to be a huge question mark, even if he pitches great in what could be two postseason starts (Game 4 in the ALCS, Game 4 in the World Series). Andy Pettitte is still going to be 38 years old, and in all likelihood he's still going to be considering retirement.

The Yankees are still going to want to add a top-level starting pitcher, and the free-agent market offers only one -- Cliff Lee.

Will Lee's price go up the better he pitches? I'm sure his very able agent would say that it will. But in this case, the highest-spending team in baseball is going to be ultra-motivated to sign him, no matter what (barring serious injury). The bigger question, I think, is how motivated he'll be to stay with the Rangers, and how motivated they'll be to keep him.

And I think the answer to both of those questions depends at least in part on what happens in this coming week.

A few other reader questions and comments:

From John:

"What the hell do you mean that the Yankees will see the Rangers without Cliff Lee pitching in Game 1 or 2? News flash -- Game 2 is Saturday. Get a clue."

News flash -- Game 3 in Monday. And Cliff Lee will be starting it.

From Rob:

"While I appreciate the wonderful things Bobby Cox has done, it feels unjust that Cito Gaston retired this season with nowhere near the same amount of media reaction and love. Unfortunately, Cito has never received proper recognition. Could it be because of his color, because he managed up north, who knows?

Cito deserves more credit than he gets for winning back-to-back World Series with the Blue Jays. But Cox is at the end of a 29-year managerial career that included a record 16 postseason appearances. Cito is at the end of a 2 1/2-year second time around with the Jays. It's not the same thing.

From Richard:

"Danny, it's easy to see why you have such sympathy for Conrad. He's a career hack and so are you. You'd be so much better off if you had to come up with only one column a week. Have a nice day. Richard."

From Tom:

"Good piece, Danny. I cringed when I watched Conrad's errors. There is a lot of sympathy, for sure. . . "

Richard, meet Tom. Tom, meet Richard.

And Richard, have a nice day.




Posted on: October 11, 2010 2:57 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 6:21 pm
 

Glaus at 3B, Conrad sits for Braves

ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox is as loyal as any manager, but he's also realistic.

So for what could be the final game of his 29-year career, the Braves manager has chosen to sit Brooks Conrad, the infielder who has made eight errors in the last seven games, and whose error allowed the Giants to score the winning run in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Sunday.

Troy Glaus will play third base for the Braves in tonight's Game 4, with Omar Infante moving to second base.

"He needs a day off," Cox said, referring to Conrad. "He needs to get away from it."

Cox also dropped the struggling Jason Heyward (0-for-12 with seven strikeouts in the series) to sixth in the order, with Matt Diaz moving up to take Heyward's normal second spot.

Glaus has 1,337 games of major-league experience at third base, and he made the play of the series there, starting a game-saving double play in Game 2. But Cox has been hesitant to use him at third (he played just two major-league innings there in the regular season), because at this stage of his career he has almost no mobility.

"We'll see how it goes," Cox said.

Glaus, who played a week's worth of games at third base during a rehabilitation assignment late in the season, expressed confidence in his ability to handle the position.

"I've played there for a long time," he said. "I'll try to make all the plays I'm supposed to make."

Playing second base is no problem for Infante, who came to the big leagues as a middle infielder. In fact, when Chipper Jones was hurt, the Braves played Infante at second with Martin Prado at third. Then Prado was hurt, and Conrad played third until two huge errors there convinced Cox to move him to second base.

Now, three more huge errors convinced Cox to leave Conrad out of the lineup entirely.

"I talked to him," Cox said. "I told him to hold his head high, and maybe he'll get a pinch hit and win a game for us."

Coming off the field after batting practice today, Conrad could have easily avoided questions by quickly going to the clubhouse, but once again he willingly stopped and took questions.

He said he didn't sleep well Sunday night, but said today's talk with Cox was "another sign of what a great manager Bobby Cox is."

Conrad also thanked Braves fans who applauded him in the outfield during batting practice.

"I've had a lot of nice comments from the fans," he said. "That's really meant a lot to me."

The Braves trail the Giants two games to one in the best-of-5 series. Cox will retire at the end of the season.

*****

For some great perspective on Conrad, check out Braves beat writer Dave O'Brien's blog today on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: October 8, 2010 1:39 am
 

A call for more replay -- and less whining

Please, give us more replay.

If only to stop the whining.

Yes, the umpires have made themselves into a huge story in the first two days of this postseason, and that's unfortunate. But the whining about the umpires should be just as big a story, and that's doubly unfortunate.

It would be great if umpires got every call right (not realistic, but great). It would be fine if increased use of replay could help improve the percentage of correct calls (very possible, although it still wouldn't be perfect).

It would be even better if players and managers would understand that most of the time, the responsibility for losing or winning lies with them, and not the umpires.

The guy who has the biggest beef so far is Bobby Cox, whose Braves lost 1-0 to the Giants in a game where the only run scored after a call that replays showed clearly to be incorrect. Buster Posey was out at second base on his fourth-inning steal. I know that, you know that, Buster Posey knows that and even Paul Emmel knows that, now that he's had a chance to see the replay.

And yet Cox, the all-time ejection leader, didn't argue the call. He said after the game that he had a bad angle from the dugout (even Emmel had a bad angle, and he was a lot closer), and that his infielders didn't protest the call.

The Braves, by all accounts, didn't whine about the call. According to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , even Brooks Conrad, the second baseman who tagged Posey before he reached the bag, quickly pointed out that the Braves "didn't get the job done offensively."

Good for them, because we've had far too much whining.

Earlier Thursday, Joe Maddon was thrown out of the Rays' 6-0 loss to the Rangers. Ron Gardenhire was thrown out of the Twins' 5-2 loss to the Yankees.

Maddon was upset with a swing/no-swing call on Michael Young, just before Young's home run that helped put the Rays away. Gardenhire was upset with a strike/no-strike call on Lance Berkman, just before Berkman's game-winning double.

Replays shown on television suggested that Maddon and Gardenhire had reason to be upset. But let's remember that no proposed replay system would cover balls and strikes, or check-swings.

No matter what, we'll be reliant on umpires making the right decision. As technology gets better and better, we'll have more and more reason to question those decisions.

It's inevitable that we'll have expanded use of replay, sometime, somehow.

But as even Bobby Cox admitted after a bad call seemingly cost him the game Thursday, replay isn't the total answer.

"Let's leave it the way it is," Cox said. "We would be arguing and throwing flags 10 times a night."

Fans actually love the arguments. Last weekend in Atlanta, during the Cox retirement ceremonies, fans cheered loudest when a Cox argument was shown on the video board. In the game that day, when there was a questionable call, the fans began chanting, "Bobby! Bobby!" even though Cox never appeared on the field.

They love arguments. I can't imagine they love whining.

And unfortunately, this postseason has already had too much whining.

There was even whining after the most memorable game of the postseason so far, Roy Halladay's Wednesday night no-hitter against the Reds. That night, Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera complained about home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck's strike zone, even though Hirschbeck has always been a pitchers' umpire, and he wasn't any more generous than usual.

But Cabrera seemed to be on his own. The whining Thursday was worse.

The Rays, who embarrassed themselves by the way they played in two home losses to the Rangers, embarrassed themselves further by seeming to place the blame Thursday on the umpires. Maddon's tirade was bad enough, but the display later by catcher Kelly Shoppach was totally uncalled for.

As for Gardenhire, his problems with umpire Hunter Wendelstedt go back years, as colleague Scott Miller pointed out . It wasn't a great idea to assign Wendelstedt to a Twins playoff series.

The Rays aren't down two games to none because of bad umpiring, or a lack of replay. The Twins aren't down two games to none to the Yankees because of bad umpiring, or a lack of replay.

Roy Halladay didn't throw a no-hitter because of bad umpiring.

And even the Braves, who watched the Giants' lone run score after a seemingly bad call by an umpire, never scored a run themselves.

It was a bad call. I get that.

Some expanded replay would help. I get that.

But replay or no replay, there will be calls that don't go your way.

Can we stop whining about it?




Posted on: October 3, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Bobby Cox managing right to the end

ATLANTA -- On what could be the final day of a 29-year career as a big-league manager, Bobby Cox made a big but typical decision.

For today's final scheduled regular-season game against the Phillies, Cox flip-flopped his second and third baseman, putting Omar Infante at third and moving Brooks Conrad to second. Conrad, the Braves' third-choice third baseman (both Chipper Jones and Martin Prado are hurt), committed key errors that led to the Braves' losses to the Phillies on Friday and Saturday.

Cox, typically, expressed sympathy for Conrad, and admitted he made the switch in an attempt to take pressure off him.

"I don't think he's slept in two days," Cox said. Then, thinking back to his own playing career, he added, "I used to throw them away. I threw one away in Detroit that cost us a game. I was the last guy in the dugout. Jim Hegan came in and put his arm around me."

According to baseball-reference.com, Conrad played 915 games at second base in his minor-league career, compared to 76 games at third base. Infante has played 100 career (major-league) games at third base, compared to 340 at second base.

Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:45 am
Edited on: September 24, 2010 12:23 pm
 

3 to watch: The Giant issue edition

Even if you count the Rockies as now basically out of the National League West -- the standings say they're in serious trouble, their recent history says who knows? -- the Giants' three games this weekend at Coors Field are a potentially huge obstacle to San Francisco's chances of winning the division.

Despite what happened Thursday at Wrigley Field (a nine-run inning, a 13-0 win), the Giants' path to first place in the West has been built almost totally on pitching. Including Thursday, they've now gone 17 games since they last allowed four runs, a streak that according to the Elias Sports Bureau is the longest by any team in a single season since the 1917 White Sox went 20 games in a row.

Now they go to Coors Field, where the Rockies have scored four or more in 19 of their last 21 games, and where the home team hits so well that some Giants apparently think the Rockies have been monkeying with the humidor process .

Since Coors Field opened in 1995, only five teams have gone through an entire three-game series without ever allowing four runs. All five of those series have come in the humidor era (which began in 2002), but it still comes down to one series a season -- and it hasn't happened yet this year.

And the Giants, despite all their pitching and despite three trips a year to Colorado, have never done it.

Maybe that's why the Giants haven't won a season series at Coors since 2005. They're 2-4 in the first six games this year, so they'd need a sweep to win this season series.

Given the Rockies' collapse on the road this week -- they couldn't hold a 6-1 lead Sunday in Los Angeles, then got swept in three games in Arizona -- the Giants don't necessarily need a sweep this weekend. Their lead over the Padres is only a half-game, but San Diego also faces a potentially tough series, at home against the Reds.

Besides, the Giants' head-to-head showdown with the Padres next weekend will be at AT&T Park, where the Giants have allowed just 16 runs in their last nine games.

On to 3 to watch:

1. Tim Lincecum hasn't won at Coors Field since May 20, 2008. Then again, Lincecum hadn't won anywhere for a month before his 2-1 win over the Rockies on Sept. 1 in San Francisco. He's been very good the entire month, and maybe that means he'll win at Coors, too, when he opens the series in Giants at Rockies, Friday night (8:10 ET) at Coors Field . While the Giants are 0-4 in Lincecum's last four starts in Colorado, he hasn't been awful, with a 4.32 ERA in that span.

2. The Reds enter the weekend with a magic number of 3, and that means the soonest they could clinch their first division title in 15 years is in Reds at Padres, Saturday afternoon (4:05 ET) at Petco Park . That would take a little cooperation from the second-place Cardinals, but all the Cardinals have been doing recently is cooperating. As Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse pointed out on Twitter, the Cards are 9-17 since Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols attended Glenn Beck's rally in Washington.

3. The biggest advantage the Braves have in the National League wild-card race is that the Giants and Padres play each other next weekend. That means for three of the remaining 10 days on the schedule, either the Giants or the Padres is guaranteed to lose (and that the team that wins could win the division and not affect the Braves' wild-card chances at all). For it to be an advantage, though, the Braves need to win. They need to do to the Nationals this weekend what they did to the Mets last weekend, and that means they need to beat Livan Hernandez in Braves at Nationals, Sunday afternoon (1:35 ET) at Nationals Park . Hernandez threw eight shutout innings in a 6-0 win over the Braves last weekend in Atlanta, and he's 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts against the Braves this year. The Braves starter Sunday, they hope is Jair Jurrjens, who missed his Monday start in Philadelphia with a knee problem. As manager Bobby Cox said, "He'd better be able to pitch." Sunday is also the Braves' final regular-season road game, which means it's the final time an opposing team will pay tribute to Cox, who is retiring at the end of the season. The best gifts he has received so far: a No. 6 from the scoreboard at Wrigley Field, a set of wine glasses with all the NL team logos from the Reds, and many checks to support his charity helping homeless veterans. Cox entered the weekend with 2,499 wins in 4,499 career games.




 
 
 
 
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