When I hear the other fathers in the neighborhood talking about how kids have no shot at playing sports at a high level unless they’re on expensive travelling teams and go to specialized camps and clinics, I roll my eyes. Partially because, damn, don’t you hope your kids pick what they want to do with their lives rather than live vicariously through your frustrated athletic dreams? But also because, while those things may make it easier to excel at sports, a privileged upbringing is not a requirement. Just ask Jonny Gomes:
“I didn’t sleep in a car,’’ Gomes explained. “But if a car had a mailing address, that’s where I was going to get my mail.’’
“You were homeless?’’ I wondered.
“Never more than seven or 10 days,’’ Gomes said. “We’d live in a house two or three months, couldn’t pay rent, we’d get the eviction notice.’’ But friends were generous, as were some of his mother’s patients. “Awesome people took us in,’’ Gomes said.
Good story by Paul Daugherty about the rough road Gomes took to and the good attitude Gomes has about his path to the majors.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.