Posts Tagged ‘Jim Leyland’

Wanting On-Field Changes, Bud Selid Forms Study Group

December 16, 2009

When someone mentions the term “study group” to me, the first thing I think of is college.

I think of four or five friends getting together to study a subject they have very little interest in and after 15 minutes saying screw this and play Madden.

Hopefully Bud Selig’s “study group” is a little more productive.

The Commissioner of baseball announced today he is formulating a special committee or study group for on-field matters. These on-field matters include the expansion of instant replay, expanding the first-round of the playoffs, scheduling, the pace of the game, and the umpire’s strike zone.

Selig has put together a study group

Here are the members of the committee who will be discussing these matters:

Tony LaRussa: Manager, St. Louis Cardinals

Mike Scioscia: Manager, Los Angeles of Angels of Anaheim

Jim Leyland: Manager, Detroit Tigers

Joe Torre: Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers

Andy MacPhail: President for Baseball Operations, Baltimore Orioles

Mark Shapiro: General Manager, Cleveland Indians

Terry Ryan: Former General Manager, Minnesota Twins

John Schuerholz: President, Atlanta Braves

Paul Beeston: President, Toronto Blue Jays

Dave Montgomery: President, Philadelphia Phillies

Chuck Armstrong: President, Seattle Mariners

Bill DeWitt: Chairman, St. Louis Cardinals

Frank Robinson: Hall of Fame player and currently works in the office of the commissioner.

George Will: Political Communist

I have a couple of thoughts on all of this.

First, I love the idea, and I love the fact that Selig does his best to try to improve the game. I have said it before and I will say it again–Selig always works on improving the game of baseball.

That is one thing you can not fault him on.

I would expect that some changes come out of this meeting. Changes to instant replay and pace of the game seem to be the easiest to implement.

Pace of the game came under question when Jorge Posada seemingly went to the mound on every pitch during the postseason. I always believed that there should be a maximum of two visits per pitcher per game.

That visit includes trips made by the catcher, pitching coach, or manager to the mound. On the third trip by any of the above during a game, the pitcher has to be removed.

If you have to visit a pitcher more than twice in a game, then that pitcher is probably not having a good night.

My other thought on this is why are there no current players in this meeting? Wouldn’t the people who play the game know what changes need to be made?

If I am Selig, I would much rather get input from a Curtis Granderson or a Carlos Pena than George Will. Why on earth is Will involved in this? For some reason this guy has Selig’s ear and I still haven’t figured out why.

When I think of Will, I think of that great Saturday Night Live skit in the 80’s when they did “George Will’s Sports Machine.” Dana Carvey played Will, Corbin Burnsen played Mike Schmidt and Jon Lovitz played Tommy Lasorda.

Will kept asking Schmidt and Lasorda questions they couldn’t answer. Questions like “The precarious balance between infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $50, identify the effect of that symmetry.”

It was just classic. That skit makes me laugh every time I see it.

The group will meet for the first time during the Owner’s Meetings next month in Phoenix.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Twins And Tigers Remind Us All What Is Great About Baseball

October 7, 2009

When people ask me what was the greatest baseball game I ever saw, I always say it was Game Six of the 1986 National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.

The Mets won that game 7-6 in 16 innings to advance to the World Series. It was a game that was filled with so much drama, passion, and intensity that you could feel it with every pitch through the television set.

It was one of those rare sporting events that was so great, you know you were watching a classic as it unfolded and you would never forget where you were that day.

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Yesterday, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers gave everyone one of those games.

The Twins beat the Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings in a one-game playoff to clinch the American League Central title. For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes last night there were no salaries, no free agency, no arbitration, and no steroids.

Last night it was about two teams playing their guts out and leaving everything on field. The Twins and Tigers not only captured the 58,088 screaming fans in the Metrodome, but they captured millions watching at home.

They captured four friends, who weren’t Twins or Tigers fan, but were so into the game that they were texting back and forth on practically every situation that occurred. We all knew we were watching one of the best games we ever saw.

They even captured non-baseball fans like the girl sitting next to me at the bar last night. I could tell she didn’t know the difference between a curveball or a beachball, but she was taken in by game. “I can’t believe they got out that” she said referring to Joe Nathan getting out of a first and third jam with one out in the ninth.

There will always be people out there who say athletes — and in particular baseball players don’t care because they get paid so much.

Tell that to Tigers’ 3B Brandon Inge, who played the majority of the second-half on a knee so bad, he will require surgery at the end of the year.

Tell that to Fernando Rodney, who gave everything he had for three innings last night when he is only used to pitching one and deserved a better fate.

Tell that to catchers Gerald Laird and Joe Mauer, who after catching nearly 400 combined pitches, were blocking balls in the dirt in the 11th and 12th innings so textbook that you could show them to any kid who wants to become a catcher.

Tell that to Orlando Cabrera, a guy, who for some reason goes from team to team and all he does is win.

Tell that to Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire, two of the class acts in baseball, who managed last night’s game like a father would manage his son in a Little League game.

Were there mistakes in this game? Sure there were. Alexi Casilla not tagging up properly in the bottom of the 10th. Ryan Raburn’s unnecessary attempt at a diving catch, which led to a Michael Cuddyer triple in the bottom of the 10th. Miguel Cabrera not running hard from the get-go on Inge’s chopper to second in the 11th.

In any sporting event — especially one that goes into extra innings,  you can question a play in the game or a player’s actions. However, that doesn’t take away from how great the overall game was.

The Twins and Tigers gave us a show that captivated baseball.

For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes, the Twins and Tigers reminded us all what is great about America’s National Pastime.

Magglio Ordonez Benching Not All About Performance…

June 19, 2009

According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland has benched Magglio Ordonez “indefinitely.” What is going on this year with sluggers being benched? First it was David Ortiz, then it was Garrett Atkins (still benched) and now it is Magglio Ordonez.

Why is Magglio Ordonez being benched you ask? He is hitting .273 which isn’t terrible, but he only has two HR’s and just 22 RBI. On the year he only has 11 extra-base hits and has a pathetic slugging percentage of .343.

Ordonez was benched

Ordonez was benched

How bad has Ordonez been? His .343 slugging percentage is lower than powerhouses Asdrubal Cabrera (.427), Kurt Suzuki (.395) and Coco Crisp (.378). Not bad for the $18MM+ that the Tigers are paying Ordonez this year.

When asked about the benching, Leyland said, “I’m going to get him away from it.” He’s beating himself up. Just let him breathe a little bit and see what happens.”

Sounds quite like the speech Terry Francona gave when he benched David Ortiz earlier in the year. But unlike Ortiz, it doesn’t seem like Leyland plans on putting Ordonez back in the lineup anytime soon.

There is also could be another factor in this benching – Ordonez’s contract. The Tigers have club options for Ordonez in 2010 ($18MM) and 2011 ($15MM). The club option in 2010 is guaranteed if Ordonez has:

  • 135 starts or 540 plate appearances in 2009, or
  • 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances in 2008-2009

My guess, and it’s just an educated guess, is that the Tigers will do everything they can to prevent Ordonez reach those milestones. $18MM for a 35-year-old player who has declining production is not a good contract, especially in this economy.

All player contract information is curtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.