December 12, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Friday, April 26, 2013
Royals 8, Tigers 3: You can try to make Phil Coke a multi-inning reliever all you want, but he's still going to be a lefty specialist. And when he comes in and has trouble even getting the lefties out, you can't stick with him. He's not the one who gave up the grand slam to Alex Gordon, but he set the stage. Well, that and Jim Leyland intentionally walking Jeff Francouer, but the outcome was all but set when that happened. We were just waiting for it to finish playing out.
Pirates 6, Phillies 4: Hey, did you realize that Pittsburgh was 13-9? It's true. The Pirates are winners of 10 of 13. Gaby Sanchez homered and drove in three. The Phillies dropped their first home series against the Pirates in over a decade.
Red Sox 7, Astros 2: Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL David Ortiz! The Sox' DH was 3 for 4 with a homer and an RBI single. He's 11 for 20 since coming off the DL. Clay Buchholz struck out 10 while pitching into the eighth. Daniel Bard made his 2013 debut, striking out one in a scoreless inning. Oh, and alert the media and/or relevant first responders: Rick Ankiel drew a walk. His first of the year.
Dodgers 3, Mets 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu had a nice performance, holding the Mets to one run on three hits in seven innings while striking out eight. Andre Ethier broke a 1-1 tie in the ninth with an RBI single, followed up by Juan Uribe putting the Dodgers ahead with a single of his own.
Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: Robinson Cano, Vernon Wells and Frankie Cervelli went deep. The Yankees were down 3-0 early, but Hiroki Kuroda settled down after that and waited for the bats to boom. A record low crowd for Yankee Stadium. Which is kind of a shame, actually. This Yankees team isn't what people are accustomed to, but it's kinda cool seeing contributions from different faces and names in pinstripes. If nothing else, people should be bearing witness to a resurrection: Vernon Wells is hitting .293/.361/.587 with six homers on the year.
Nationals 8, Reds 1: If the bats are gonna sleep, it's up to the pitchers. That's what Gio Gonzalez must've figured, as he allowed only one hit -- a Joey Votto solo shot -- in eight innings. Except the bats did show up, actually, with the Nats rattling off a dozen hits, including a Danny Espinosa two-run homer and RBI double. Denard Span drove in three as well.
White Sox 5, Rays 2: Chris Sale walked four dudes, but allowed only two runs and four hits in seven innings. Adam Dunn homered. Life is more fun when Adam Dunn homers. He's now hitting a crisp .108 on the year.
Cubs 4, Marlins 3: It's 2013. Terrorism, war and ecological destruction ravage the planet. Still, I'm gonna offer that a Cubs-Marlins series is the worst thing affecting humankind at the moment. Luis Valbuena hit the go-ahead homer in the ninth. Afterwards he said "Ninth inning, two outs, I tried to hit a home run. I didn't want to play extra innings." I don't think any of us wanted to see it either, Luis. Give that man a humanitarian award.
Rangers 2, Twins 1: Nick Tepesch allowed five hits in six and two-thirds, with a solo homer to Josh Willingham the only blight on the box score. The Twins' best chance to get even or better ended, however, when Willingham hit into a bases-loaded double play in the eighth. Selah.
Diamondbacks 3, Rockies 2: Paul Goldschmidt with a two-run homer helped a not-great but good enough Trevor Cahill, who notched his first W of the year.
Orioles 10, Athletics 2: Nate McLouth singled, doubled, walked and drove in two. Chris Davis homered. Adam Jones had three hits. All nine starters got a hit and six different O's drove in a run. The A's have dropped six of seven.
Mariners 6, Angels 0: The Mariners' sleepy bats woke up. Including Carlos Peguero's, whose bat hit a 450+ foot homer, adjudged the third longest in Safeco Field history. Kyle Seager has a 14 game hitting streak. As for Anaheim, I'm not wishing any ill-happenings for anyone, but I'm still liking my "Mike Scioscia is the first manager fired this year" prediction.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the all-time great managerial meltdowns. It’s so good,that you just have to say the name and most baseball fans old enough to remember can fill in the blanks on their own.
That manager was Hal McRae.
Does this one sound familiar to anyone out there in reader-land yet?
McRae was in the midst of what now sounds like one of the most thankless jobs in baseball: managing the Royals.
However dismal a chore that might sound like to readers in 2013, it must have sounded different to McRae when he landed the position during the 1992 season. After all, it was a place where McRae had played and starred for many years. Now he’d manage before the fans who had cheered for him.
And his memory of the team was of a beautifully run, model franchise. After all, in the 1970s 1980s Kansas City typically contended and seemingly always had a winning record. Please note this wasn’t ancient history, either. They had won 92 games in 1989 and posted a winning record in 1991. In fact, that very season, McRae took over after a slow start and helped them rally to a 82-80 end record. They flopped badly in 1992, 72-90, but hoped to bounce back in 1993.
At any rate, on April 26, 1993, the Royals lost a game 5-3 to the Tigers, dropping their record to 7-12. This wasn’t the Royals record McRae expected.
Then came the post-game conference. It started off fairly generically, with McRae holding court in his office. Then a reporter asked a question McRae didn’t like. And history was made.
The question was whether he’d considered using the aging George Brett as a pinch hitter in the seventh with two outs and the bases loaded. Something inside McRae snapped.
First he called it a “stupid a** f***ing question.” Well, that’s a nice little quote. But before anyone could go on, he got up, and started throwing things. Just whatever was in front of him on the desk. He screamed some more at the reporter, threw some more objects—most notably his phone, which caught a reporter in the face, drawing blood.
McRae chased everyone out of his office, followed them out, and screamed at them some more before concluding, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”
It was over—but as it happened, McRae’s managing career wasn’t. He survived the incident and actually led the Royals to a winning record in 1993, and then again in 1994. The club let him go after those back-to-back winning records—and the Royals have had just one winning season since.
McRae even found work managing another team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He lasted two years, but after a horrible 106-loss season in 2002, the club let McRae go. He hasn’t managed since, and isn’t likely to ever again.
But he had one moment people won’t forget—and it happened 20 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
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