Buster Olney said this this morning: “Is the NL Central race over? Well, it’s not literally over. But if this were the 1972 presidential election, the Cardinals would be McGovern and the Brewers would be Richard Nixon.”
I guess that makes the Reds Hubert Humphrey, the Pirates Edmund Muskie, the Cubs Shirley Chisholm and the Astros George Wallace.
And it makes Tony La Russa Thomas Eagleton, which would explain a hell of a lot. Not that La Russa is totally crazy. He suspected the Brewers of cheating not too long ago and, as history shows us, Nixon did, in fact, cheat.
Now, which Cardinals beat writer shall we cast in the Hunter S. Thompson role for “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail?” I’m gonna go with Matthew Leach of MLB.com. I think he could pull it off. I saw him wearing a tropical print shirt at the Winter Meetings last year. At least I think I did. It was late and there was a lot of beer.
OK, all of you readers who are either (a) under 50; or (b) not fixated on random Baby Boomer-era history like I am can resume reading the blog now.
Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.
Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.
Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.
Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:
“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”