Don Wakamatsu has purty handwriting

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It’s always cool to find something beautiful in a place where aesthetics aren’t at all required. Take the Blue Jays’ lineup cards, filled out by bench coach Don Wakamatsu:

Of all the skills required for a baseball career, no one ever mentions calligraphy. And yet Toronto Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu has found a way to stand out from the field with his elegant handwriting.

The Blue Jays’ lineup cards rendered by the 49-year-old former catcher are miniature works of art, transforming the list of each team’s players posted on the dugout wall into an object of unlikely beauty.

Pics of the lineup card can be seen in the linked article.

I think maybe he’s overselling the “it encourages people to pay attention to detail” angle — most ballplayers probably don’t make that connection — but I’m a big fan of art for art’s sake, so this is really cool.

Ron Gardenhire officially named the Tigers new manager

Associated Press
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The Tigers have officially named Ron Gardenhire as their next manager. Gardenhire has agreed to a three-year contract.

Gardenhire takes over for Brad Ausmus, who was let go after four seasons as Detroit’s manager. The Tigers went 64-98 this season, finishing tied for the worst record in the majors. Having traded away Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez, they’re poised for a major rebuild, so it’s best to look at Gardenhire as something of a caretaker manager.

As far as caretaker managers go, Gardenhire is not a terrible choice. He was the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. He managed the Twins from 2002-14, going 1,068-1,039, winning the AL Central six times. He was AL Manager of the Year in 2010. He’ll do a fine job keeping the clubhouse drama free, dealing with the press and making sure the young players know the way to the team bus during road trips. There’s value in having an old hand doing those things with a team in as uncertain a position as the Tigers are these days.

Still, it’s a less-than-imaginative choice. If you have nothing to lose, and the Tigers really don’t, you’d think being somewhat more adventurous with your manager choice might be a way to try something new. As it is, the Tigers took a veteran-laden team in a win-now position and gave it to an unproven Brad Ausmus back in 2014. Now they’re playing it safe with a known quantity when the stakes are low.