This isn’t a full-blown Terry Collins situation — Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t offer a serious tirade or anything — but he made a point to voice his displeasure yesterday about two players who didn’t show up to spring training early: Jordan Schafer and Tyler Pastornicky. Dave O’Brein got Gonzalez’s joking-but-pointed comments:
“We’re waiting for [Pastornicky] again this year. Schafer probably has a tough time getting travel arrangements. He’s another one I’m going to grab. He only lives two exits up the road here; I haven’t seen him yet … I didn’t know he signed a deal with Frank – he’s got a five-year deal, guarantee to play one of the three outfield spots.”
Position player reporting day was not until today, but Gonzalez went on to say how he told them both that it would be in their best interests to show up early.
Which, yes, it probably would given that neither Schafer nor Pastornicky have secure jobs on the team. I presume that if you or I were in their situation we’d show up early too because we’re sensible folk who don’t like to leave that much to chance.
Still, the shop steward in me bristles when I hear managers going on like this. There’s a reporting date for a reason. If a guy shows up on time, he’s on time. Doing that bare minimum doesn’t make him a great worker. It doesn’t do him any favors. But I’d hope it would exempt him from public reprimand like this.
Yesterday it was reported that someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey, which had been hanging in the Alsonso High School dugout in Tampa for a vigil. That was pretty vile stuff indeed.
Thankfully, however, someone’s conscience got the best of them: the jersey has been returned. School officials say that a family found a large envelope outside of the high school with the words “Jose’s jersey” written on it. They took the envelope into to the school this morning and the jersey was found inside.
Bad form taking it, whoever you are, but in most cases it’s never too late to make a better decision and fix your mistakes.
In late August, when everyone started looking at the schedule in an effort to see who had the easiest road ahead of them to the playoffs, the Tigers stood out as particularly blessed. The end of their season featured several games against the lonely Twins and, if things were tight heading into the final weekend, a three-game series against the lowly Braves.
Problem: the Braves have not been very lowly lately, and that could cause the Tigers all kinds of grief.
Atlanta has won 10 of 11 games. They’ve scored 66 runs in those games and their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.28 over that span. Oh, and remember how, earlier in the season, the Braves were hitting like a deadball era team, being outhomered by multiple individual players? Well, they’ve hit ten during this neat little run. Really, though, the run isn’t that little. They’ve won 19 of 30 and have been a solid team, offensively speaking, since late July. They’re hot as heck now and haven’t been pushovers for some time.
So enter the Tigers, who have been seesawing through August and September and who have to play in Atlanta this weekend without their DH, Victor Martinez. Oh, and who stand a halfway decent chance of having to fly out of Atlanta Sunday evening for a makeup game in Detroit that could then cause them to play a tiebreaker game in Toronto or Baltimore which could then have them travel to the other city for a Wild Card game. And that’s if things break decently.
If they break poorly? It’ll be a long, season-closing flight home from Atlanta. A city that was supposed to provide respite for them when it first appeared on the schedule.