Robin Ventura is the White Sox’s manager now and not just an underrated former All-Star third baseman who once got put in a headlock and punched by Nolan Ryan, so the Rangers have decided to change their usual routine in the name of showing him more respect.
Instead of regularly playing the 1993 clip of Ventura charging the mound and getting beaten up by a 46-year-old Ryan–which they’ve shown on the ballpark jumbotron before nearly every game–the Rangers will not show the video during their opening-weekend series against the White Sox.
In fact, according to Rangers senior vice president for ballpark entertainment Chuck Morgan they may stop showing it altogether:
We may show it on the day it happened as part of the 40th anniversary moments, but that’s probably it. I just thought this offseason that we didn’t need to be showing that anymore. I watched how St. Louis treated Stan the Man during the playoffs and that’s how we should treat Nolan as the face of the franchise. We’ll celebrate his no-hitters and other moments.
I also don’t think it’s right for us on our Opening Day to show a fight, and then that whole weekend we’re going to treat Robin Ventura with respect. He’s the manager of the White Sox. We don’t need to do anything like that.
Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that Ryan agreed with no longer showing the footage being a good idea, but didn’t force Morgan to make the change. And as you can see by the accompanying graphic, Ryan has previously been just fine with autographing pictures of him punching Ventura in the head.
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.