MLB News & Views @ MLBRT 11/2

 

This week’s questions…

Joe Girardi out as New York Yankees manager after 10 seasons

1) The New York Yankees have decided to move on from Joe Girardi as their manager. His contract expired at the end of this month and they announced they will not resign him to another contract.

(a) What is your opinion of this move by the Yankees to move on from Girardi?

(b) Do you think Girardi will manage again, and if so, where will he wind up?  

Archie: IMO, this is a mistake. Girardi has done nothing except PROMOTE the Yankee way; the Yankee philosophy and the Yankee tradition but best yet, the Yankee winning way.

Cashman has been smart in the past, but I do believe he has screwed the pooch on this one.

Joe: I don’t think Girardi should have been fired. I have sometimes thought he mismanaged the Yanks but overall I also thought he was a decent manager and I think he would have done well with this young team going forward. That said, I know nothing of the behind the scenes going on between the front office… specifically GM Brian Cashman…  and Girardi and ultimately it is the GM who makes the calls, with the owners approval, of course, in the end.

“For me, there was disappointment because I kind of wanted to finish what we had started this year. And I was looking forward to the growth of the organization, the young players, the more young players with the veterans we had.” Joe Girardi

Will he ever manage agin? Probably… but I think he will be very choosy where he winds up because ironically I think he works best with young talent and underperforming players. I think he is a manager who finds ways to motivate players to get the most out of their abilities… see his one season in Miami when he won Manager of the Year and still got fired because he dared to argue with the owner Jeffrey Loria. He ain’t all warm and fuzzy sometimes; he just wins and really isn’t that what its all about? Winning? Which is why I find it curious that Cashman fired his ass. Maybe he argued once too many times with Cashman?

Don’t be surprised however, if he isn’t in the Yes broadcast booth from time to time or scooped by Fox or some other TV network. He is an experienced announcer who has received good reviews in the past.

Steve: Before I answer this, let me say this. I am far and away far from a Yankees fan as they come. I have never been a fan of any New York team, much less the New York Yankees. However, this season was different. I was excited to watch Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorious, Starlin Castro, all managed by Joe Girardi. I found myself rooting them on for the first time in my life. That being said, it is all thrown all out the window. This is the biggest mistake that the Yankees could have done. Girardi was the glue that held this team together, he was able to manage this core of young kids to one game a way from the World Series. So bringing in someone new is going to destroy the chemistry with this team. They still are talented enough to compete, but I think they took a step back, when a team like this should be moving forward. 

Will he ever manage again? Absolutely, I could see him taking a year, maybe two years off to spend some quality time with his family, and when the Cubs job comes open when Maddon moves on, Girardi will be the prime candidate for the Chicago job. 

2) It is being said that in recent years that Girardi and Brain Cashman, Yanks’ GM, had grown apart due to mostly that Cashman had grown disenchanted with Girardi’s style of intense managing and sometimes curt and surly attitude toward the media during post-game interviews. Simply put, it is being said Cashman wanted someone more in line with his idea of what a field manager should be, which is, as NYDN sportswriter John Harper recently wrote, “… the manager better be willing to accept the influence of the front office, as well as take the barrage of information being sent his way and be able to communicate it to players in a way that makes sense.”

In your opinion, who is more important to the game being played on the field… the GM or the field manager?

And, is today’s the game on the field becoming more of a game dictated by what the front office wants than how a manager believes he should manage the game regardless of his regular season results?

Brain Cashman (right) & Joe Girardi

Archie: Well, IF you remove the purse string issues or put them aside I feel the guy on the field makes the biggest difference.

Snitker for the Braves however is a good example of what a field guy can do when you remove his talent by trading off everyone without your say.

Joe: It appears that way… look at Washington… Boston… and now the Yankees. I’m not sure that’s really the best way to go but it appears the trend that is happening these days.

In my opinion, if you hire a guy to do the job then leave him alone and let him do his job on the field as long as he is successful.

Steve: There is a reason you are in the front office making business decisions, and typically baseball guys are the one managing on the field. The front office needs to get the players to compete, but it will always be up to the manager on the field to do what he can to lead this team to a championship. I have always disagreed with front office politics, and they need to run the team, and let the manager manage the team. 

3) On Monday, an ESPN.com sportswriter wrote, “Sunday night at Minute Maid Park, the Astros came from behind three times — three times! — to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in 10 innings in Game 5 of the World Series (Houston 13-Dodgers 12)) to take a 3-2 series lead. The title of his article was “Dodgers-Astros Game 5: What to know about maybe the best World Series game ever.”

In your opinion was it the greatest WS game ever or close to it? Why or why not?   

Derek Fisher scores the winning run during the 10th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series.

Archie: It definitely had ALL the magic and makings of a Postseason Baseball Classic to be sure. Kershaw going for the Dodgers; they are up 4-0 you just knew the Dodgers had a strangle hold on that game. Then comes the bullpen melt down from both clubs. It was like one of those football games that everyone says, “whoever has the ball last will win” but in this case whoever gets the last good at bat.

It was definitely top 3 of all time; just a matter of the fans voting and whether or not their team was involved as to how good this game really is.

I will throw one caveat into the mix here; and you can debate it or not, “I believe MLB has “juiced” the baseballs just for this purpose. I have seen several of the post-season HRs travel out of the park that off the bat should have been a routine pop fly. Say what you will, that is just my opinion.

Joe: Let’s let the dust settle off this World Series before we go proclaiming anything as being one of the best ever. Have the games been exciting back and forth contest full of ups and downs for both teams? And was game 5 a microcosm of that reality?  Indubitably.

But there are plenty of games throughout World Series history that could rank as one the best World Series games ever, I remember the 1960 Series between the Pirates and the Yankees and Bill Mazeroski’s  7th game walk off HR as being in the discussion for instance.  

Steve: It was not the greatest game ever played. I reserve that for The Braves vs Twins Game 7 ten inning 1-0 marathon. However, yes it is very close to being one of the best that I have seen. It is right up there with last years Cubs vs Indians game 7. Back and forth, back and forth. Anytime you can get my ass to stay up for the final out of a game, you are doing something right.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Yuli Gurriel will be suspended for the first five games of the 2018 regular season for his “slant eyed” gesture in Game 3 of the World Series.

4) After Yuli Gurriel hit a home run off Yu Darvish in Friday’s WS game, Gurriel returned to the Astros’ dugout and he placed his fingers to the sides of his face and lifted the corners of his eyes forming the “slanted eyes” gesture which is regarded as offensive by Asians. Gurriel also used the word “chinito,” which is Spanish slang for Chinese boy.

In response to Gurriel’s actions, Commissioner Rob Manfred said that “there is no place in our game” for Gurriel’s behavior and then announced that Gurriel would be suspended for the first five games in the 2008 season.  

When Manfred was asked whether baseball had passed on a chance to make a big statement on racially insensitive actions by players by choosing not to suspend Gurriel during the World Series (Gurriel has already said he will not appeal the ruling), Manfred said that he thought the penalty was appropriate in part because the suspension would be unpaid (players do not earn extra salary during the World Series), because the Dodgers’ Yu Darvish had expressed a desire to move forward and because a World Series suspension would unfairly punish the rest of the Astros players.

Did Manfred get the suspension of Gurriel right or did he whiff on a chance to make a bigger statement about how MLB would treat anyone involved with any racially wrong or inappropriate behavior, especially on the field of play?

Yuli Gurriel in Dugout after HR off Yu Darvish

Archie: I was surprised. I thought a “one game WS suspension” would have been a tougher penalty given the gravity of the current circumstances. Five games in the spring really has no impact now and most will forget it even happened come spring; unless of course the media reminds us every game beginning next season. AND, IF the Astros get off to let’s say a 4-1 or 3-2 start to the season it will not have any bearing at all except from Gurriel’s pocket.

So, I guess what I am suggesting is that the Commissioner whiffed on the opportunity.  

Joe: He should have been suspended for the next game in the World Series and fined a huge amount of money. The MLBPA would have contested it with an appeal and he probably plays, but MLB would have made their point about being serious about not tolerating any form of insensitivity based on race or inappropriate behavior.

Yu Darvish

With that being done, then the commissioner could have turned around and suspended him for the beginning of the 2018 season for more games than he actually did to further put an exclamation point on what players can expect if they partake of discriminatory or inappropriate behavior especially on the field of play.

Steve: I have a huge problem with this.

While I understand it is crucial for a rising star like Gurriel to be suspended during a World Series run. He did not give two craps about doing this act DURING the World Series. He should have been suspended for at least the next World Series game, and fined for his actions.

Deferring his suspension is proof that MLB does not care about this issue, but had to do something. You suspend him for Game 5, Gurriel appeals, plays Game 5 anyway, but the MLB saves face.

5) As of Monday morning, the 22 home runs hit by the Astros and Dodgers are a record for any World Series. The mark was previously held by the 2002 World Series, which featured 21 homers from the Angels and Giants. And, there is at least one more game to go… possibly two.

Pitchers say they have an idea why… the baseballs are slicker and harder to get a feel for, especially pitchers who rely on throwing sliders, such as the Dodgers starter Yu Darvish or Houston reliever Brian Giles.

Justin Verlander said, “It’s different. I noticed it especially throwing a slider. It didn’t feel the same. The home run I gave up to Pederson was a slider.”

Darvish said, “I had trouble with the ball throwing a slider. It was slicker.”

And Houston starter Charlie Morton said, “It affects running my two-seamer in to right-handers. When the ball is slick, you can’t throw in with the same aggressiveness. If you don’t have control of the baseball, you might end somebody’s career. That’s a very bad thought to have in your head.”

In your opinion is this a real and serious issue that MLB needs to deal with or just some sour grapes from pitchers who are being battered upon by some very good HR hitters?

Justin Verlander

Archie: I guess a little of both; as I mentioned earlier I think they are juiced. AS to the “feel” of the ball; a slicker ball is harder to manipulate than one that is rougher.

Having said that, who is to say the baseballs are not “roughed” up prior to a game in the regular season but more observed/controlled during the post season. OR they are “intentionally” slicked up for the post-season so we are not watching 7 games that are 1-0 or 2-1 as being the outcome. I know for one I NEVER expected to see Kershaw knocked out so early in a meaningful game like last night. And, how the hell do you explain the meltdown from one of baseball’s best closers as well? 

Joe: Probably a little of both.

But in the long run it is what it is and the pitchers need to acclimate themselves to that reality and pitch. I mean if it so debilitating to pitchers than why is there also a fair amount of strikeouts and well pitched games from other pitchers? Justin Verlander especially comes to my mind.

Steve: It’s purely excuses.

I mean they may be correct in what they are saying, but it is their job to adjust to conditions an adjust their mechanics. You don’t see guys like Cody Bellinger saying anything after striking out four times in two different World Series games.

I don’t think I would call it sour grapes, as I am sure there is an issue here, but they just need to get over it and pitch.

Extra Innings…

Congratulations…. 

 

Astros win first World Series in franchise history, defeat Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7…

 

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