When talking to reporters yesterday about why Davey Johnson remains unsigned Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo noted how the manager was keeping himself busy: “I know he was in a fishing tournament. And he won the damn tournament.”
Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post did some digging and found that, sure enough, Johnson recently took part in the Redbone fishing tournament in Islamorada, Florida and “was named celebrity grand champion.”
Florida Sportsman Newswire has the details (and the accompanying photo):
Davey Johnson, manager of the Washington Nationals, released three redfish on artificial and one bonefish on bait to be named celebrity grand champion. A resident of Winter Park, Fla., Johnson fished with Islamorada’s Captain Paul Tejera.
Preceding the silver anniversary event, Johnson and Nicole Ellis, daughter of Redbone founder Gary Ellis, placed a memorial wreath in Florida Keys waters. Nicole Ellis, now 28, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth.
The ceremonial wreath signified remembrance of the late Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, who was instrumental in helping Gary Ellis initiate the light-tackle fishing tournaments. To date, the Redbone series has raised some $18 million for the cause.
Would it be too easy to make a joke about Johnson not handing the fish to Drew Storen because he’ll let it get away? Yes? OK, nevermind then.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.