John Kruk once famously told a woman he was not an athlete, he was a ballplayer. Albert Pujols, in contrast, embraces the label of athlete.
We know this because He’s making a guest appearance on Sesame Street on Thursday, explaining to Grover what the word “athlete” means. And it’s fantastic:
I’m going to start calling Grover “Mike Trout” because, like Trout, he flat carries Pujols here. But that’s not a shock. Grover is an 80-Muppet. He is so much better than just about every other Muppet there is. In a just world he’s making Elmo money. He’s that good;
Watch Pujols look away at the cue card as he identifies himself by name. Seriously.
“Yes. I train to play baseball. And I am good at baseball.” That’s quote of the year material there.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.