Edwin Rodriguez

The Marlins are no better off without Edwin Rodriguez

6 Comments

Edwin Rodriguez’s surprising resignation Sunday brings an end to another pretty forgettable managerial tenure in Florida.  In 163 games after taking over for Fredi Gonzalez, he went 78-85, and he exits with the Marlins in last place in the NL East at 32-39 this year.

If Rodriguez hadn’t resigned, he may well have been fired soon.  It never appeared as though the Marlins had a lot of faith in him, even though they chose to stick with him after interviewing other candidates in the offseason.

Rodriguez, though, did a pretty good job with the Marlins on the field.  He was a clear upgrade from Gonzalez there, especially in the way that he ran his bullpen.  Gonzalez was all about putting guys in roles and leaving them there until being left with no other choice.  Rodriguez was much more proactive.  He rode his hot hands in the pen without wearing guys out.

The lineup was the same deal.  Gonzalez thought Jorge Cantu was an RBI guy, so he batted him cleanup and let him so often bring the offense to a screeching halt.  Rodriguez entered the season planning to use Mike Stanton as a cleanup man, but he showed flexibility when Gaby Sanchez turned in his strong spring.  He made lemonade out of lemons by giving Greg Dobbs a crack at the third-base job.

In the end, Rodriguez was undone by the hand he was dealt.  There was no anticipating Hanley Ramirez’s horrible season.  Plus, Josh Johnson’s injury had taken a toll this month.  A bigger problem that won’t get so much attention was that the Marlins had been without their sixth and seventh starters all year.  With Alex Sanabia and Sean West sidelined due to arm problems, they had no one to step in for Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad, both of whom are sporting ERAs over 6.00.

So now Rodriguez is gone.  And spared from the stress of working for Jeff Loria.  It’s too bad that he probably won’t be so quick to have another opportunity fall into his lap like Gonzalez did with the Braves.  He was an upgrade in the manager’s seat for the Marlins.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
Getty Images
12 Comments

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.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

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.