Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks lost to the Brewers in the 2011 NLDS, with Ryan Braun going 9-for-18.
It was later revealed that Braun failed a drug test for synthetic testosterone before the start of that series. He initially got out of it with good lawyering but has since been suspended for purchasing performance-enhancers from the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic.
Gibson, understandably, is pretty pissed off about the situation. Here’s what he told reporters, including beat writer Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, before Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates:
“If I get a chance to see Braun, I got a question for him, right to his face,” said the Arizona skipper. “Is he about rehearsed by now? About ready to come out? He’s probably been practicing at theater school somewhere. … I’m not surprised he hasn’t addressed people. He probably doesn’t give a (expletive) about me. He’s got it really good. I was one of the guys who went through many things – work stoppages, etc. – so that he could do that. I would hope that he respects me and everybody who stood up for him before he played the game. Everybody looks at it differently, but if he thinks he’s giving back to the game, he has a different idea of how to give back than I do. … There were other times in my career when I did overcome cheaters. We had our chance.”
Braun has been suspended for the rest of the season and is likely to remain hidden from the media spotlight as the final two months play out. Gibson’s Diamondbacks and Braun’s Brewers will meet again in 2014.
Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.
Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.
Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.
His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.
Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.
Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.
Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.
At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.
However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.
Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.