Because there are still some companies who have yet to find a way to get involved in Derek Jeter’s retirement, we get this announcement from Louisville Slugger:
. . . The storied company did something today that it’s never done in its 130 years in the game – it retired a bat model in honor of a player.To show its respect and admiration for Derek Jeter, Louisville Slugger announced it is retiring his famous P72 . . . The P72 has been one of the more popular models with MLB players over the decades. In addition to Jeter, who now ranks sixth on the all-time career hits list, it has been swung by Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Robin Yount, among others. The specifications of the P72, with its medium barrel and balanced swing weight, will still exist for players to order, but under a new model name. It will be called the DJ2 in recognition of Jeter and his incredible career.
The P72, by the way, was named for Les Pinkham, a minor league catcher of the 1950s, who first used the bat. If you are a descendant of Pinkham, you can still get a P72. But no one else can. The remaining P72 bats — 72 of them, natch — will be given to Derek Jeter’s Turn2 charity.
So, to sum up: the bat that other famous players used and which was named after a guy no one has heard of will be retired (mostly) but you can still get a bat with Derek Jeter’s initials. Which, OK, but that’s usually not how retiring things tend to go.
Lost in all of this is the fact that, based on his stats this season, Jeter basically put his P72s into partial retirement at the end of the 2012 season.
Tracy Ringolsby spoke with John Schuerholz about the Frank Wren firing. This is all kinds of special:
It wasn’t about wins or losses. The decision has been building for nearly three years, one Schuerholz had struggled with, because it’s not his style. Those who have known him since the early days of his professional baseball career — which dates back to him giving up a job as a junior high teacher in Baltimore to become an administrative assistant in the Orioles’ Minor League department at the age of 26 — have remarked about his cohesive management ways.
Building for three years? Then why did Shuerholz give Wren a contract extension last February? One possible answer is “well, he didn’t want a lame duck situation to develop.” My response to that is that if you’ve had more than two-plus years of misgivings about the guy at that point, maybe it’s OK to let him dangle for a bit.
My suspicion is that this article and most of what Schuerholz has said about the Wren firing is an exercise in spin. Of pretending that there’s a “Braves Way” and a “cohesive management style” so as to make this all seem like something that had to happen. That was inevitable and all part of a larger narrative in which Frank Wren led the Braves away from The True Path. When, in fact, it was really just a bunch of crappy things happening resulting in a disappointing season and resulting in some heads rolling.
There is no shame in that latter part. Schuerholz is a worthy Hall of Fame executive who doesn’t have to apologize to anyone for anything. Frank Wren screwed up some and the season went into the toilet. Yet, for whatever reason, there is this sense that the mess of the Braves 2014 season has to be treated as if it was something other than crap happening and, rather, part of a larger dramatic arc in which Schuerholz now can justly restore order or something.
Why this baseball team and its remaining executives are given such reverence and are being treated so differently than any other disappointing baseball team is a mystery to me.
The Diamondbacks’ last GM wanted his pitchers to intimidate opposing batters. The man who may be their next GM can show them how:
Stewart has run his own sports agency for a number of years, representing Matt Kemp most famously. Before that he was the assistant GM for the Blue Jays and a pitching coach for three different teams.
As a player he was Tony La Russa’s ace with the Oakland A’s. Now, assuming the sides can come to terms, he’ll be working for Tony La Russa once again.
In light of the possible Jeter Fest rainout, many are wondering what might be done if the flood does come to pass:
Can you imagine Major League Baseball asking the Orioles to give up their offday before a playoff series so that they might play a meaningless baseball game on the road for the sole purpose of ensuring that Derek Frickin’ Jeter is properly feted?
I’m trying to picture Peter Angelos’ response to that. I mean, sure, as the Nationals and the Ravens can tell you, he’s a man with a big heart who is always eager to accommodate competing interests, but something still tells me that he’d be less than enamored of the idea.