November 21, 2011
At the end of last week, the Chicago Cubs hired their new manager.
Instead of the obvious choice of fan-favorite Ryne Sandberg, or the probably correct choice of Pete Mackanin, the Cubs instead selected the Milwaukee Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum. (I’ve heard it’s pronounced Swame, but I’m pretty sure Dale’s wrong about that. So I’ll keep pronouncing the “V.”)
Sveum was one of the more desired candidates, as the Boston Red Sox were also interested in him. Perhaps damaging the Red Sox–the former team of Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein–took precedence over hiring the better candidate? Sure, I’m biased, but I liked what I saw from Pete Mackanin when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. And I look forward to him getting a real chance to manager. Of course, it’s probably best for him that he wasn’t picked by the Cubs. No one can win with them.
November 20, 2011
In the continuing effort to catch the heck up on what’s been going on with the team, I’ve copied and pasted the lead from a recent story on Reds.com:
CINCINNATI — Prior to Friday’s deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft, the Reds added six to their 40-man roster.
Added were infielders Neftali Soto, Didi Gregorius, Donald Lutz and Henry Rodriguez and right-handed pitchers Kyle Lotzkar and Pedro Villarreal.
Cincinnati’s 40-man roster is now full.
I knew a guy named Villarreal when I was in elementary school. He was kind of a dick, even in fifth grade. I’m sure Pedro is much nicer.
November 17, 2011
I’ve been out of the state all week, and am now catching up on some old stuff, which is why you’re seeing this old news here now. Even half a week late, though, I think it’s worth pointing out.
The Reds had been scheduled to open the season on Friday, April 6. But thanks to some special finagling, they’ll now be playing the day before (Thursday, April 5) at 4:10 p.m. They’ll be taking on the Marlins after the big Opening Day Parade:
“We want to thank Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and the Reds and Marlins players for agreeing to move Opening Day to Thursday, April 5,” said Bob Castellini, Reds President and CEO. “Opening Day is a long-standing tradition for this team, our fans and the City of Cincinnati and we are pleased that parade and game will now be on Thursday.”
It’ll be here before you know it.
November 13, 2011
The St. Louis Cardinals won the race among baseball teams to pick their new field manager, deciding on former catcher Mike Matheny to replace Tony La Russa. They beat the Chicago Cubs to the punch, although they had quite a head-start since La Russa told the GM back before the season was up.
It’s a departure for the Cardinals. General Manager John Mozeliak is going against what has proved successful for St. Louis for the last three decades.
Each of the team’s past three full-time managers, La Russa, Joe Torre and Whitey Herzog, had previously made the playoffs as a manager before being hired. The last man who didn’t fit that profile was another former Gold Glover in St. Louis, Ken Boyer, who managed from 1978-80 after winning five Gold Gloves as a third baseman with the Cardinals.
Matheny is a former catcher, which is so often a prerequisite for managers these days. And he’s one the Cardinals thought highly of, despite his lack of any offensive ability. Matheny was a good defensive catcher, though, and spent some time mentoring and teaching Yadier Molina as he broke into the majors for the Cardinals.
Since retiring, Matheny has served as a catching instructor and a special assistant for St. Louis. This considerable promotion will be announced in a press conference on Monday.
November 12, 2011
While there’s still Chris Heisey’s Breakout Player of the Year award still to talk about, today, I’m looking outside the sphere of Reds-ness and checking out the happenings in the parallel universe of all the other teams.
I know it’s old news by now, but dammit, the Cubs are interviewing Pete Mackanin for their general manager position, and wouldn’t it just be fitting for them to hire him. Then the Reds would be sporting an old Cubs manager and the Cubs would be sporting an old Reds (interim) manager. I don’t know whether Mackanin would be a winning coach in Chicago–there’s an awful lot of suckinertia to overcome there–but wouldn’t that just be typical.
In news that puts that last news into stark perspective, the Washington Nationals have had a player kidnapped in his home country of Venezuela:
Wilson Ramos, one of the Washington Nationals’ most promising young baseball players, was kidnapped at gunpoint Wednesday night from his family’s home in Venezuela, leaving the team in a state of shock and raising questions about the safety of playing in a country ravaged in recent years by kidnappings and street crime.
Last night word came out that Ramos was returned safely. Happy! Hopefully this will be a warning to other players to be on their guard and prevent anything worse from happening in the future.
And finally, back to more typical news of baseball, Albert Pujols is in Florida this weekend talking with the Marlins and touring their baseball facilities. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise–seeing as this is the *only* time of the year Prince Albert is willing to talk contracts and all–it’s just funny to think of the Marlins organization coming out in force to woo one player. It’s not like he’s enough to win the WS by himse–actually, maybe it’s not that funny after all.