Meet the oldest man one of the oldest men in minor league baseball

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Andy Tracy is the oldest player is one of the oldest players in minor league baseball.* Affiliated minor league baseball anyway. Jose Canseco stunts and never-say-die stories like Oil Can Boyd who knock around the independent leagues are their own, often wonderful thing. But Tracy is a company man, still toiling for the Reno Aces in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. Other than a half-season’s look for the Expos back in 2000, he’s had nothing but cups of coffee.  He’s my age, and I’m ancient, but he’s still playing ball.

Ryan O’Hanlon has his story today over at The Good Men Project. And Tracy sounds like a good man. Like Crash Davis wanting no mention of his minor league home record in the Sporting News, the Oldest Player in the Minors is not normally the sort who would want attention drawn to the fact that he hadn’t made it. And as O’Hanlon notes, other minor league old timers he wanted to interview declined.

But not Tracy. He’s realistic about his place in the world and seems to be content with it. And seeing someone doing something he loves, content with it no matter how most of us tend to measure success in that world, is a pretty cool thing.

Good stuff. Check it out.

*My bad. According to the article — and as pointed out by several readers — Tracy is merely one of the oldest men. I shall read more good next time.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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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.