Ron Roenicke: an inspiring choice for the Brewers

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Great story by Adam McCalvy at MLB.com about Ron Roenicke, who will soon take over the Brewers.  Seems that in the aftermath of Nick Adenhart’s death last year, Roenicke was instrumental in helping to pull the team together. He particularly impressed Scott Boras, Adenhart’s agent, who was in the clubhouse along with Adenhart’s father and Angels players the day everyone learned of the awful news:

“Nobody knew what to say. There was an air in the locker room of shock, bewilderment. None of the players knew if they should approach Mr. Adenhart. And Scioscia said, ‘Ron would like to say a few words.’

“Let me tell you something — I’ve met presidents, I’ve heard a lot of people speak. And the 10-minute conversation he had with the Angels that day, the eloquence of it, the depth of it, and the impact of it, it was one of the most dynamic conversations that I’ve ever heard in my life. In the most difficult situation you can be in, this man was clearly at his best, and it was natural, it was instinctive. I realized that this was a born leader.”

Baseball isn’t football, and “win one for the Gipper” speeches only go so far.  But being able to connect with others in the clubhouse — to empathize and to help them overcome mental or emotional problems, big or small, and ultimately to inspire — does seem pretty valuable. Boras and McCalvy and others quoted in the article think that Roenicke has that talent in spades.

If so, the Brewers may have made a very wise choice in their next manager.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.