Today Edwin Rodriguez addressed his team for the first time this season. And since is the first time he’s been the manager at the outset of spring training, it’s the first time he’s ever gotten to do that whole set-the-tone thing. And according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the tone he set was optimistic:
“I can feel it. We’re going to be the last team standing come October.”
They’re actually probably not going to be the last team standing in October. The odds simply don’t favor most teams over “the field” when it comes to such matters. But I don’t say that criticize Rodriguez for unwarranted optimism. I merely offer it to ask what, given what we know about any one team’s chances, is a manager is supposed to say in such instances?
Does the rah-rah thing work in baseball? I’m skeptical. But is it any worse than soberly saying “I want us to play hard and, if we get the breaks, we could possibly win”? That may have the benefit of being true, but it’s also not the way to kick off a season.
I guess what I’m saying is that managing looks hard. How you get your team ready, especially when you don’t have years of experience behind you or on your roster, has to be one of the more difficult things in the business.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.