I saw this tweet this morning and my first impression was to say, “oh, really?”
My dubiousness was a function of my age, though, as I came to know who Don Zimmer was when he managed the Red Sox and then the Rangers and I collected baseball cards of him on the Dodgers, so in my mind those are the teams with which I identify him. But if you add up all of his years as an everyday coach, He spent more time in a Yankees uniform than any other. Ten seasons over two distinct coaching stints and 36 games as a fill-in manager for Joe Torre one year. So maybe he is “forever a Yankee.”
Except he spent more seasons with the Rays as an advisor/instructor: 11. So maybe he’s forever a Ray?
Of course his most famous years probably came as the Red Sox’ manager. But man, he had nine seasons in a Cubs uniform and that was the only team for which he served as a player, manager and coach, so maybe he’s a Cub? But wait, the bulk of his playing career as a Dodger and stands as the last person to be a regular, active-duty uniformed baseball person who was a Brooklyn Dodger, and that has to count for something.
He also did time with the Senators, Mets, Reds, Padres, Rangers, Expos, Rockies and Giants. That’s what I cobbled together from Wikipedia and Baseball-Reference, anyway. I may be missing one in there someplace. As it stands: thirteen teams and significant achievements and memories for just about all of them.
A lot of people get called “a real baseball man” or “a good baseball man,” but I think it’s safe to say no one can lay claim to that title more than Don Zimmer. Every team he played for, managed, coached or advised can claim him. And I think even teams he never played for, managed, coached or advised can too.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.