In the wake of Mark Connor resigning yesterday for personal reasons Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun note that by replacing him with Rick Adair the Orioles have now changed pitching coaches 13 times in 17 years.
A couple guys have held the job twice during that span, but Connolly raises a good point by asking: “How can you expect a staff to be consistent when there is so much turnover with its direct supervisor?”
Obviously changing pitching coaches a bunch of times in 1990s doesn’t have any impact on the current Orioles’ pitching staff, but ditching Leo Mazzone after two years and then going through three different guys in the following four seasons certainly does.
Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie was more upset about specifically losing Connor than about the team’s revolving door at pitching coach:
Anything can affect a team for the better or worse so there’s no telling which way it will go. For us, we’re just losing someone we care for and we hope the best for him and the things he needs to handle. For me, some guys you work well with, other guys you don’t work as well with. That’s the most important thing. The transition itself isn’t too difficult. It’s, “How does the working relationship go?” And that’s something we’ll go through now with Rick as the pitching coach.
Adair is Guthrie’s fourth pitching coach in five seasons with the Orioles.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.