Ozzie Guillen: "I'd rather get fired than quit"

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Ozzie Guillen pondering something.jpgWe could probably just use Ozzie Guillen for a quote of the day every day, but we try to be fair to the other competitors.  Personally, I prefer fun Ozzie Guillen quotes that are accompanied by some surprising insight. For example, when asked about his future as the manager of the struggling White Sox, and whether he’d ever consider resigning, Ozzie said:

“I’m not a quitter. When I want to quit, I’ll do a lot of stupid things
and make sure they fire me and get paid.”

Which is funny. But then he followed it up with something that is pretty darn true:

“Because when you quit, it’s hard for you to find another job. Because when you quit, a lot of teams out there call you a
quitter or say you can’t handle yourself or can’t handle the heat or you
can’t handle losing.”

Mike Hargrove is a good recent example, but there are others. Hargrove was actually doing pretty well with a flawed Mariners team, took some months off to sharpen the saw, as they say, and can’t get another job even though he’s made it pretty clear he’d like one.  In contrast, if Ozzie penciled in Mark Buehrle as his DH for ten straight days and then got fired, he’d have a job to start next season, no question.

Not that this is a bad thing. As I’ve said numerous times, a manager’s primary job is to keep the team on an even keel. He can make all kinds of tactical blunders and pencil in all kinds of weird lineups, but as long as people aren’t fighting in the clubhouse and spreading poison in the press, the team is likely to play to its native ability, or at least fairly close to it. And one way for the clubhouse to go off the rails is for the players to question the testicular fortitude of the manager.

Which is what is likely to happen if a guy resigns from his previous job. Because to the players, one of the manager’s primary jobs is to take the heat so they don’t have to. If the guy quits when things go sideways, the players are left dangling. And this is true even if the manager is placed in an untenable position by, say, the press and the owners and everyone such that resigning makes all the intellectual sense in the world.

Ozzie knows all this. He knows a lot actually. If I ran a team I’d strongly consider hiring him. Even if he got fired from his last job for penciling in Mark Buehrle at DH for ten straight games.

Clayton Kershaw’s initial prognosis: 4-6 weeks on the disabled list

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Some seriously bad news for the Dodgers: Ken Rosenthal reports that the initial prognosis on Clayton Kershaw is that he will miss 4-6 weeks with his bad back. A final determination will be made after he gets a second medical consultation.

Kershaw exited Sunday’s start against the Braves with back tightness after just two innings of work. He was seen talking with trainers in the dugout after completing the top of the second inning and did not return to the mound for the third. Kershaw has a history of back problems. Last year he missed over two months with a herniated disc in his back.

Assuming the preliminary schedule holds, Kershaw would be on the shelf until late August at the earliest, but more likely early-to-mid September. The Dodgers currently hold a 10.5 game lead in the NL West so they can withstand his absence. But if they have any hopes of advancing in the playoffs, they’ll need a fully armed and operational Clayton Kershaw to do it.

David Price was a complete jackass to Dennis Eckersley

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In late June, Red Sox pitcher David Price confronted Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley during a team flight to Toronto. The circumstances of the argument were not clear at the time and at least one report said that it was a “back and forth,” presumably about some critical comments Eckersley made on the air about Price. We learned a few days after that it was less of a “back and forth” than it was Price merely berating Eckersley.

Now, via this story from Dan Shaugnessy of the Boston Globe, we get the true flavor of the exchange. It does not reflect well on Price or his teammates:

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Many players applauded.

Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Assuming this account is accurate, Price’s behavior was nothing short of disgraceful. Disgraceful in that Price was too much of a coward to take his issues up with Ecklersley one-on-one. Beyond that, it’s classic bully behavior, with Price waiting until he was surrounded by lackeys to hurl insults in a situation where Eckersley had no opportunity to effectively respond.

But it’s mostly just sad. Sad that David Price is so painfully sensitive that he cannot handle criticism from a man who is, without question, one of the best who has ever played the game. One of the few men who has been in his shoes and stood on that same mound and faced the same sorts of challenges Price has attempted to face. And, it should be noted, faced them with more success in his career than Price has so far.

No one likes criticism, but David Price is at a place in his life where he is, inevitably, going to receive it. And unlike virtually every other person who may offer it to him, Dennis Eckersley knows, quite personally, of what he speaks.

Shame on David Price for acting like a child. Shame on his teammates for backing him up. Shame on John Farrell and the rest of the Red Sox organization for not sitting Price down, explaining that he messed up and encouraging him to apologize. And, of course, if he apologizes now, it’s not because he means it. He’s had a month to reflect. It’s simply because his disgraceful behavior is now all over the pages of the Boston Globe.

What a pathetic display.