Posts Tagged ‘dugout’

NLCS Game 6 Live Updates: Phillies’ Brad Lidge Holds Giants in Top of 9th

October 24th, 2010

Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge comes in to pitch the top of the ninth. The veteran righty K's Nate Schierholtz to lead things off, then allows a bunt single to Andres Torres and another single to left to Freddy Sanchez.

Lidge then gives a free pass to Buster Posey, forcing Giants closer Brian Wilson to come to the plate.

It looked like the Giants were considering pinch-hitting Pablo Sandoval, but it seems to be just a ruse.

Wilson pops out of the dugout, looking about as comfortable as a prostitute in church, and proceeds to ground out to Ryan Howard at first to end the inning.

We're headed to the bottom of the ninth, with three outs separating the Giants from their first World Series berth in eight years.

Texas Rally Cry! The Story of the Rangers’ Claw and Antlers

October 15th, 2010

The 2010 baseball season will long be remembered as the year the Rangers made history.  I can only hope that one day someone will see the need to recreate it all on the movie screen.  During a season which will become almost mythical in Texas Rangers lore, two simple yet obscure clubhouse gestures were born.
From the stands or watching at home on TV you would see Michael Young give a quick swipe in the air, his up-turned, open fist mimicking a bear claw, after a base hit.  He aims it only at his dugout to the delight of his waiting teammates, who are strung about and hanging with anticipation over the protective railing of the dugout.  His mates quickly echo his silent cry by a show of arms in a return salute: all raise a paw in the air.
When Elvis Andres has safely stolen a base a new salute is seen—he puts both hands to his head with fingers spread to resemble deer antlers.  He looks only for his teammates' approval as they echo his movement.

It doesn't really matter who actually started these silent signals—the Rangers fans fell in love with the way the team encouraged one another with the "Claw and Antlers" and were quick to encourage their deserving team.
In the beginning of the season the Rangers players tried hard to keep the meaning of the "Claw and Antlers" solely within the confines of their dugout and clubhouse, using them as a show of team solidarity and friendship among teammates.  Once the fans caught hold of the meaning of the gestures, we wanted in on the fun, too.
The Bear Claw became the symbol of strength and power—it was displayed after a base hit when a player safely reached base.  Even a successful sacrifice fly would earn a show of the claw.  We, the fans, would shower the Claw on our pitchers making that punch-out, strike-out happen, too.
The Antlers simply mean speed and agility—they are earned by stretching a base run into extra bases or a by stealing a base.  Ranger fielders would be rewarded the Antler by the fans in the stands for a heads-up play on defense.
To those of us faithfully following the Rangers throughout this season, it didn't take very long to figure out what these hand waves were all about. Before the end of the season, the "Claw and Antlers" would be our rally cry which would see our Texas Rangers to their first postseason victory. 
Near the end of the season, during the last series with the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers released a t-shirt emblazoned with the two hand signals. The workers at the Rangers Majestic store could not keep up with the demand for these shirts.  I personally saw fans mobbing clerks  who were trying to re-stock the depleted shelves, taking the shirts right out of their hands and leaving them standing empty-handed.       
The Texas Rangers have long been known as the whipping boys, the floor-mates, and called the farm program by the rest of the MLB.  The 2010 season finally put an end to the team's tormented drought and will go a long way to heal the sufferings of their devoted fans. 
And under the new ownership of Nolan Ryan, the Texas Rangers are serving notice to the rest of the league, not just by their great on-field play, but by announcing that the Farm is close to the rest of the league.  The Rangers' front office is making big plans after this season to do all they can to keep as many of our players as possible—they have truly taken us to new heights this season. 

With the leadership of Skipper Ron Washington, the Rangers are making their first-ever appearance in the American League Conference Series.  No matter the outcome now—win or lose—every game is history in the making, as this Rangers team continues to go where no Rangers team has gone before.

Hiring Florida Marlins Leftover Fredi Gonzalez Huge Mistake For Atlanta Braves

October 14th, 2010

The Braves hiring their ‘in-family’ manager to replace Bobby Cox in naming Fredi Gonzalez his successor is nothing less than a huge mistake for the entire Braves organization.

Coming from a fan who has watched Gonzalez manage in South Florida the last few years, he has major flaws.  First off, he doesn’t understand player chemistry.  Hanley Ramirez is arguably the best player in the Major Leagues at the shortstop position and Gonzalez constantly clashed with him. 

Gonzalez could not get along with his superstar and thus he alienated other teammates in the process.  He even got in Ramirez's face in the dugout and there were several reports of turmoil between the two.

Secondly, he is horrible at managing pitchers. 

Gonzalez is a huge pitch counter and he pulls pitchers out of the game way too soon.  When he managed the Marlins, he often yanked the pitchers out early when they were cruising just because they were at 85 pitches or near 100 pitches.  Josh Johnson had a no-hitter going at one point and Gonzalez said he would not have allowed Johnson to finish his no-hitter and “wasn’t going to allow him to throw 150 pitches.” 

He was relieved at his pitcher losing his no-hitter so he didn't have to pull him.  I guess Gonzalez didn’t see Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter earlier this year where he threw 149 pitches.  But it’s far more than no-hitters, it’s consistently pulling pitchers early who could give another one or two innings to make the bullpen's job easier or give them the night off.

If you saw last night’s game in Tampa where Cliff Lee went nine and completed the game against the Rays to win the series, this likely would not have happened had Fredi Gonzalez been the manager of the Rangers—Gonzalez would have likely pulled him after the seventh.

Finally, he didn’t even win half of his games in Florida. 

He was fired with an overall win percentage of .497.  He was 35-36 in 2010 when Marlins owner, Jeffery Loria pulled the plug on him and said, “we can do better and be better.” 

So why were the Braves so quick to go after this guy?  Edwin Rodriguez, who previously had no experience as a manager in the Big Leagues, tookover for Gonzalez and posted a better record than Gonzalez and ended up finishing with a .500 record (46-46).  He got along well with Ramirez, and the team had much more respect for an inexperienced Rodriguez than they did for Gonzalez, who had been around for three years.

It also makes me wonder how fair of a coaching search this was.  Why would the Braves be so quick-handed not to interview some other quality candidates and jump at a guy with a less than .500 record? 

Rumors flew throughout the season that Gonzalez was going to be in Atlanta after the Marlins fired him.  I feel sorry for the candidates who didn’t get a fair crack at the job because of an old boys network connection that Fredi had with the organization.

However, he might be perfect for general manager Bruce Wren, who tolerated underachieving and early exits from the playoffs for years under Bobby Cox.  Currently, the Braves have lost their last eight elimination games and have been eliminated in the first series the last six times they made the playoffs. 

Wow, if this was the Steinbrenner family running the team he would have been fired three times over again.

When Gonzalez was dusted by the Marlins, he uttered the words, “It doesn’t surprise me, these things are normal in this job.”  His below .500 record and inability to relate to his players is also normal.

Fredi Gonzalez Will Replace Bobby Cox as Atlanta Braves Manager

October 13th, 2010

The Atlanta Braves will name a new manager to their franchise for the first time since Bobby Cox joined the Braves for the second time in 1990.

"Multiple baseball sources have confirmed that the Braves will introduce Fredi Gonzalez as their new manager Thursday," reports Atlanta Braves beat writer Mark Bowman.

Gonzalez has been the favorite to replace the legendary manager ever since the Florida Marlins fired him in late June. He worked on Cox's coaching staff from 2003-2006 and has always been very close to the Braves organization.

One day after Atlanta was eliminated from the postseason by San Francisco on Monday night, an official Braves press release referred to Cox as "former Braves manager," three words that the Braves and their fans have never heard to describe the manager that brought them such great success for over 20 years.

"Fredi Gonzalez is always first in my mind that pops up, just because this organization has been run the same for so long," pitcher Derek Lowe said of Gonzalez. 

"I think Fredi would be a great choice," outfielder Matt Diaz said. "I was only here one year with him, but watching him in Florida and the way his players responded to him in Florida ... No offense to Hanley [Ramirez], but with the way Hanley handled that ball and the way Fredi handled that situation, Fredi earned a lot of respect from me, too."

The Atlanta Braves have always been a close-knit organization, and it came as very little or no surprise that Gonzalez was selected to replace Cox so soon.

Now that the ominous cloud of "Who will fill the cleats of Bobby Cox?" has dissipated, the Braves can immediately focus on returning to the playoffs in the 2011 season and go about business just like they would any other season.

With all of the compliments and promotions of Gonzalez by Bobby Cox and his players, Braves fans can feel comfortable that Gonzalez will fit in nicely in the Braves dugout.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bobby Cox era will officially come to an end, and the Fredi Gonzalez era will begin in Atlanta.

It will be bizarre to look into the Braves dugout and not see that crazy old man who Braves country has been in love with for two decades, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.

But in this case, the good has only begun.

Stan Kasten Resigns from Washington Nationals Effective at End Of Season

September 24th, 2010


With his college aged son sitting beside him on the top ledge of the Washington Nationals dugout, curly W's adorning the wall, Nats President Stan Kasten confirmed to the media that he would be resigning, effective at the end of this season.

He said at the beginning of his statements that he would talk today about his experiences with the team, and how and why his resignation came about, but preferred not to discuss his future plans, or go into any details about where he sees the team today or the progress in the organization, outside of very broad ideas.

He promised that he would talk about those things in more detail when the season was over, but for now, he wanted to confirm the news of his resignation and then "get back to baseball."

"When I came 2006, I made a commitment to stay for five years, through the end of the 2010 season.  About a year ago or so, I went to the family and told them I would not be staying beyond that five year commitment.  So what I'm here to tell you today is that I'll be leaving the Nats at the end of the season."

"Let me assure you:  This is just about me.  This has nothing to do with anybody else, or anything else, this is just about me.  What's good for me, for my family, and my own personal expectations, goals, aspirations.  Purely that, and nothing else."

"Leaving here is going to be hard.  But the decision to leave was not hard. It was just the right thing to do now."

He stressed several times that any rumors or reports that there was a rift with ownership regarding financial support for the organization were absolutely inaccurate.

"I have a great relationship with the Lerners. We had really good talks, but at the end this was clearly what I wanted to do.  They have been great.  Yes, I think they would have been really happy for me to stay, but this is the right thing."

Kasten expressed a strong feeling that he really felt ingrained in the community, and cited several prominent D.C. officials as friends.

"There's going to so much that I'm going to miss.  First of all, I love DC.  I truly do.  I love living here, I love working here.  The people that I have met here along the way have been exceptional."

 For the rest of Kasten's comments, please visit Nats News Network.

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