In the NBC SportsTalk segment I linked earlier I said that the Cardinals’ Mike Matheny will have the biggest impact of all new managers this year. And, with all respect to Matheny’s skills and intellect, it would be a negative one. No hate here, just acknowledging that he’s not Tony La Russa. No one is, and I don’t think the Cardinals make the playoffs last year without La Russa at the helm.
But I always liked Matheny as a player — and as an Ohio dude with West Virgnia roots who spent some important time in Michigan — I have a distinct kinship with him — so I hope I’m very wrong about that.
Anyway, for far more than a kneejerk assessment of his chances, I highly recommend this story about Matheny from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. For those who don’t know him, it will provide a nice introduction to the kind of cat Matheny is.
For those who do know him, there’s a great anecdote in there from Matheny’s childhood involving crawdad hunting, his father, his brother and a giant pile of dirt. I can’t decide if that scene could have been dropped into “Tree of Life” as-is and fit perfectly or if, rather, I should do exactly that same thing with my two kids the next time they piss me off.
Leaning the latter.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.