Christian Red of the New York Daily News has a fantastic in-depth remembrance of John Sayles’ “Eight Men Out,” which came out 25 years ago last week.
He talks to some of the stars, primarily about the making of the movie, and we learn a lot of neat nuggets about the oh-so-wonderful film. Stuff like D.B. Sweeney having to learn to hit left-handed. Charlie Sheen realizing one day that, oh, he wasn’t the star. But how, despite that, he worked hard and helped draw extras to the set when the lowish-budget movie needed to fill a ballpark. There’s also a good second-hand story from Gordon Clapp about how the guy he played — White Sox catcher Ray Schalk — wasn’t exactly happy when Eliot Asinof, the author of the book “Eight Men Out,” tried to interview him back in the 60s. It’s loaded with great stuff.
There is some effort taken to compare the Black Sox Scandal with the Biogenesis scandal, but neither Red nor his subjects are terribly taken with the idea that PEDs are anywhere near as bad as throwing the World Series for money, even if the PED stuff is regrettable. That talk is both measured and, more importantly, doesn’t take away from a great story about a cool movie.
Now: do one about “Matewan,” which is Sayles’ best movie in my view and a personal top-5.
Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.
Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:
The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.
In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.
This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.
Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.
Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:
We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP