It sure sounds like the Indians’ next manager will be either Terry Francona or Sandy Alomar, as Alomar is currently holding the interim job following Manny Acta’s firing and Francona is coming in for an interview Friday.
In terms of managerial experience they can’t get much different, because this is Alomar’s first gig and Francona has 1,029 wins and a pair of championships. And he also has Alomar’s respect, as the interim manager praised Francona when asked about the competition:
I don’t have the resume that Terry has. Obviously, that’s a slam dunk. Geez, I wish I had that. As a player, maybe I did. But as a coach? He has an unbelievable resume. Obviously, anybody would want a Terry Francona. I’m just going to go out there and do what I have to do and let the rest take care of itself.
Who wouldn’t want a guy like that? He has everything. He has championships. He’s a great guy. He’s a great communicator. He’s the perfect guy to have; I’m not going to hide it. I’m not going to say I’m already a slam dunk, because I’m not. Nobody owes me anything. That’s always been the approach in my life.
This is purely speculation, of course, but it sure seems like Francona is the Indians’ first choice and Alomar is the pre-approved fallback option in case negotiations stall over money or something else. In the meantime Francona may want to consider hiring Alomar as his agent, because praise doesn’t get a whole more more effusive than that.
Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.
No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.
Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.
Set some time aside to read this today.
This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.
De La Rosa has had elbow issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.
I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.
He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.