Former Dbacks’ skipper A.J. Hinch was on KTAR radio in Phoenix yesterday talking about getting axed. He’s mostly diplomatic, talking about how wins and losses are all that matter, but there are times when it seems pretty clear that he resents the fact that his team basically mutinied on him right after he got the job. Stuff like this:
Handling players, getting people to calm down, I wish I would’ve
been able to do that quicker last summer and been able to move on. … For
the first part of my tenure, it wasn’t about the baseball. It was about
my age and my inexperience as a manager and the hostility on our team.
I don’t know that there’s any way to deal with that kind of skepticism other than to win like a mofo right out of the box. Hinch’s Dbacks lost six of his first seven games, and you can bet that by game five the “who in the hell does this guy think he is” meme had taken hold pretty firmly.
Like I said last week: hiring Hinch was unconventional thinking. I kind of like unconventional thinking so part of me wanted to see the Dbacks’ little experiment succed, but baseball in general does not. Hinch was probably doomed from the get-go, and as a result, I bet we don’t see a team hire someone without either coaching or managing experience again for a long, long time.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?