I don't think Nolan Ryan is big on P.R.

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Nolan Ryan cowboy.jpgI was on Sirius XM’s MLB Home Plate this morning and I was asked something I hadn’t considered before that moment:  In light of the Rangers’ decision to give Ron Washington a second chance, will it now be harder to fire him for poor performance than it would be to fire any other manager? I took that to mean would it be harder from a PR perspective and would it be construed as caving to media pressure or something.

My answer, which now that I’ve had an hour to think on it I feel even more strongly about: Nolan Ryan is the last guy who cares about petty public relations games. My guess is that Washington will keep his job as long as the team contends and that if the team disappoints, he’ll be fired.  And when he is fired, Ryan will say “I
fired him because we stink,” and that’ll be that.

I think we in the media tend to over think the PR implications of everything, and that the whole “fire Washington/don’t fire Washington” thing is an example of that. There were and there still are far more important considerations than PR in this situation: would keeping Washington last year be a bad move for the team? Would it be good or bad for him as a person? Would disciplining him last year raise employment law concerns? Same too with firing him at some undetermined point in the future, although in that case the biggest question by far is whether or not Washington maintains control of the team and puts them in a position to win baseball games.

Which is what every manager is up against.  Not too many of them get to leave their jobs on their own terms. Bobby Cox will this fall. Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and probably Lou Piniella will. Maybe Ron Gardenhire.  Everyone else?  They get canned eventually. Unless he wins a ring or two, Ron Washington will someday as well. And when it happens, I don’t think anyone will be thinking too hard about the cocaine.

(BTW: how often do you think Nolan Ryan is asked to pose this way for pictures)

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.