Here are several links from the past week that will make the second Monday of Febr-r-ruary a bit more bearable:
- Pitchers and catchers are reporting!
- The Mariners were close to giving 2011 Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez a new seven-year contract totalling $175 million, but Buster Olney of ESPN subsequently learned that elbow issues put the monster deal on ice, at least temporarily.
- The Indians scooped up two familiar faces: Jason Giambi and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
- According to Nats Insider’s Mark Zuckerman, the Nats clubhouse this season will miss the positive vibes from departed Mark DeRosa. “Serving almost as an extra coach before, during and after games, DeRosa . . . even helped inspire the Nationals to victory in Game 4 of the NLDS after reading a passage from Teddy Roosevelt’s ‘The Man in the Arena’ speech.” Hmmm, I wonder what words he imparted to the team before Game 5?
- John Gibbons is back as skipper of the Jays. He spoke with Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star about an array of topics, including his transition from player to coach:
RG: The experience of not going on to establish the career that people expected obviously doesn’t mean that you weren’t paying attention, because you did manage in the Mets farm system afterwards and you’ve managed twice now for the Jays. Did you realize at the time, that you were in fact paying attention to details, to guys like Davey Johnson, maybe for a future role. You have mentioned Johnson as a major influence as a manager. Did you consciously pay attention to detail or was it just something that you absorbed?
JG: I’m one of those guys. As a catcher you’ve got to pay attention day-to-day. But consciously, I don’t think I was sitting there going, I want to manage in the big leagues, I’ve got to pay attention to what this guy’s doing. No, but you can tell who’s got it, who doesn’t. The thing I got most from Davey is Davey’s a very confident guy, I’m sure you know that. The players picked up on that. That helped those guys getting to the task.
He believed in it and that’s kind of what rubbed off on me. He’s very smart, always on the ball. He let you do your thing. He didn’t talk very often directly to a player. He very often came through a coach, especially for the young guys. But there was something about him, this guy’s on the ball. That was kind of it. But I don’t really remember noticing, saying ‘God, that’s what I want to be.’ I thought I wanted to get into coaching, but it could have been high school, it could have been college, it could have been professional. But, at that time it was sort of open.
RG: But those attributes that Davey has, of never letting your players see you react, never showing your players when you’re behind, staying on an even keel when times are tough in a game…
JG: Yeah, that’s him.
RG: Communicating with players, not necessarily face-to-face. I mean you’re going to have to do a lot of that with the number of Latin players this year to get the proper message across.
That’s something you said Davey already did. Being in charge, letting guys play the game, just get out of the way, you’ve said that’s one of your attributes. Are you just putting guys out there letting them play the game? Is it your goal to just not get in the way?
JG: I think so. The biggest mistake people make in this game is they try to control too many things. As a manager you have your job. You have to run the pitching staff, the bullpen and all that. There’s got to be some structure there. You call the shifts, but, eventually, guys that are control freaks, it catches up with them. The players are the show. When you bring in the type of players we’ve got this year, guys that have been successful, there’s a reason they’re successful. You’ve got to let them do their thing.
- Todd Helton has earned $156,490,000 over 16 big-league seasons but still has a thirst for cheap wine and lottery tickets. The Rockies first baseman was arrested in Thonrton, Colorado and booked for driving under the influence and careless driving.
- Dayn Perry of CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball opines that there was good reason for the Miami New Times to be catious in its reporting of the Biogenesis facility linked to performance-enhancing drugs and current MLB players.
- On a related note, Curt Schilling told ESPN Radio that, during his later years in Boston, “members of the [Red Sox] organization” encouraged him to use PEDs. Jed Hoyer, who was assistant general manager at the time, responded: “I can tell you it would be preposterous that [then–general manager] Theo [Epstein] or I would be involved in that.”
- Andrew McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger interviewed Hal Steinbrenner in Tampa and discovered that the Yankees’ managing general partner, except for his fear of injuries to the veterans, is bullish on 2013.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!