Random stuff from Bobby Cox

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The first manager sitdown just happened — Bobby Cox on one side of the room, Jim Riggleman on the other.  You won’t be surprised to hear that I went with Cox, figuring that a chance to ask questions to the guy who has shaped and lead my favorite team since I was a teenager wasn’t one to pass up.  I wasn’t alone, however, as Cox easily had three times the number of reporters around him than Riggleman did.  Random Bobby Cox stuff:

  • The Braves have thought about moving Chipper Jones to first base here and there, but they’ve had no discussions with him about it this winter and probably won’t.  Cox admits that Jones had a bad year defensively last year, but that he should have won the Gold Glove two years ago.  I guess Terry Pendleton was once a gold glover too, so at some point I suppose you have to cut off that kind of analysis.

  • Is Martin Prado your starting second baseman, Bobby? “He’s gonna start somewhere.”  Cox suggested that he could be an outfielder. Or a first baseman. I’d be shocked to see him start anywhere other than second, but I suppose the Braves still have holes and/or the need for leverage in negotiations with guys like Adam LaRoche.

  • What about the possibility of Rafael Soriano or Mike Gonzalez accepting arbitration?  “If they both accept we’ll have the best bullpen ever.”  Despite this, Bobby has no idea. He does know that no matter who’s in the bullpen next year, Billy Wagner is the closer. “He’s the closer no matter what,” Cox says.

  • Cox, in his last season as manager, wants no part of naming his successor.  He thinks any number of guys on his staff would be good, but that’s Frank Wren’s decision, says Bobby.

  • He was cagey about whether Jason Heyward would start the season on the big club.  After acknowledging that he’s probably the best prospect in baseball and has a great makeup, he would only say that “we’re going to give him a chance to win a job next year.”  I suppose you can’t just come out and admit that you’re going to keep a dude on the farm until you’re sure he’s not going to be a Super Two.

Lou Piniella is sitting down now. I’m going to go ask him why he’s been so unfair to Milton Bradley.

Breitbart gives Curt Schilling a radio show to fight the Clinton criminal conspiracy

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27:  Former ESPN Analyst Curt Schilling talks about his ESPN dismissal and politics during SiriusXM's Breitbart News Patriot Forum hosted by Stephen K. Bannon and co-host Alex Marlow at the SiriusXM Studio on April 27, 2016 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
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Former major league pitcher and recently unemployed baseball commentator Curt Schilling has a new gig. He will be joining Breitbart News as the host of a daily online radio show during which he will offer political commentary and take calls from listeners. The radio show will be called “Whatever it Takes.”

The press release describes the show as, “Schilling’s unfiltered and insightful commentary on a mix of topics ranging from politics and culture to current affairs and perhaps some sports.”

Here’s Schilling’s take on it all, again, from the press release:

“God places things in our lives for specific reasons. After being fired by ESPN for my conservative opinions, I arrive here at Breitbart News, which I consider the last bastion of actual journalism. Yes, it’s openly conservative, but as much as liberals despise us they can’t deny the facts behind the arguments. This is the most important election of our lifetimes and under no circumstances can we allow a career criminal to be put in the Oval Office . . . I am proud to be a part of a team that will continue to point out the very thing that’s ruining this country: liberal, progressive, socialist agenda driven by the elite globalist connected to American politics and the Clinton family.”

That’s special. And I suspect the sorts of people who tell Bill and me to “stick to sports” won’t be doing the same to Schilling. Which is fine. I’m all for letting a thousand freak flags fly.  And Schilling’s is one of the freakiest.

In other news, Schilling tried to organize a Donald Trump rally over the weekend at Boston’s city hall. About 15 people showed up for it. Good luck with those radio ratings, Curt.

World Series umpiring crew announced. Hi, Joe West!

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 12: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs is ejected from the game in the ninth inning by umpire Joe West #22 at against the St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium on September 12, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.

A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.

Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:

Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)