How many of you would’ve guessed six months ago that a New York tabloid would be stumping for Alex Rodriguez to make the All-Star team? I probably would’ve bet my life savings against it, actually. But here it is in today’s New York Post:
. . . if you’re AL manager Ned Yost, whose Royals lost Game 7 of the Series at home last year to the Giants, wouldn’t you want A-Rod as an option coming off your bench? . . . If it is about entertainment, you pick Rodriguez. If it is about a man having the ability to rise to the occasion and winning a ballgame, you pick Rodriguez.
You pick Rodriguez for the American League All-Star team.
There are a lot of throat-clearing paragraphs there in which the writer, Larry Brooks, makes it clear that arguing for A-Rod to make the All-Star team does not constitute an endorsement for him being Evil Incarnate. But still, this is about as close to a love letter the guy has gotten from his local press in a decade or more. And then, at the end, saying he’s a guy with “the ability to rise to the occasion?” Wowzers.
I’m still skeptical that A-Rod will make it. The Yankees don’t have a starter and will need someone selected, but I’ll believe it will be Rodriguez only when I see it. Mark Teixeira is having a good year and now that Miguel Cabrera is out there will be room for another first baseman. Dellin Betances is having a great year and, given how All-Star rosters work, it’s way easier to make it as a reliever than a position player. Ned Yost has to pick at least one guy from every team and has a limited number of slots for someone who really can only hit. I suspect that, plus perhaps some unofficial lobbying against the inclusion of A-Rod by the powers that be will keep him off the team. But whether or not he makes it, it’s definitely remarkable that A-Rod is getting some love from the New York Post.
Now, let’s see the Daily News weigh-in.
The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.
It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.
Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).”
Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.
Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.