Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
John Schuerholz, who has spent over a half century in baseball, and over 25 years with the Atlanta Braves, will step down from his role as the club’s president, the team announced today. Long-serving executive vice presidents Mike Plant and Derek Schiller will fill the business and development roles Schuerholz has filled since being elevated from the GM slot back in 2007.
Schuerholz will continue to have a hand in things, as he is being given the new title of Vice Chairman. Based on his comments about doing this so he can ease back and spend more time with his family, however, it sounds like, for the first time in the 75-year-old’s career, he’s easing into something of an emeritus/semi-retirement mode.
Schuerholz is likely headed for the Hall of Fame. He’s one of the greatest GMs of all time, having broken into baseball in what was then the best organization in baseball, the Orioles and then worked his way up to the GM chair in another fantastic organization, the 1970s and 80s Royals. After a World Series win there he moved on to Atlanta and, with the help of his predecessor GM and future manager, Bobby Cox, helped bring the Braves back from oblivion and turned them into perpetual division title winners.
No executive is perfect and both Royals and Braves fans have some nits to pick (David Cone for Ed Hearn? Kevin Millwood for Johnny Estrada?) but Schuerholz is basically the gold standard in baseball executives over the past 50 years and his place in Cooperstown will be well-deserved.
Matt Harvey wouldn’t talk to the media yesterday. He was angry, Terry Collins said, about how the press covered his bladder infection. Collins, clearly perturbed himself said . . .
We were scared Monday. You know how scary it is when they are talking about having to decide in 24 hours what kind of procedure they would have to do to remove the clot if it didn’t pass? They were talking about the fact he wouldn’t be able to fly to New York.
“He was scared,” the manager said. “We were all scared for him. And to see everyone make a joke out of it … yeah, he’s mad. He’s not the only one who is.”
Not gonna blame him. It was a serious situation. I will offer that no one — including the tabloids, who I am usually not in the habit of defending — actually made fun of the illness itself and no one was cracking jokes while his condition was uncertain. Based on what I’ve read — and given my admission yesterday that potty humor is basically my favorite thing ever, I’ve read a LOT — people were joking about Harvey’s comments after the fact about having to use the bathroom more often, not his actual condition. Collins acknowledged that, saying that Harvey maybe said a bit too much about going to the bathroom. But Collins, and by extension Harvey, are right that that’s a pretty fine line to draw in a couple of scary days.
Collins’ comments were clearly in response to the tabloid covers, but we’re not innocent here. I made some jokes. I laughed at many more. I go on about empathy and stuff an awful lot but didn’t practice any here. Being in Harvey’s shoes this week was probably not a lot of fun. While some people may have had a laugh about things after the fact — and I think many people thought Harvey was too based on his comments on Tuesday — Harvey was and is entitled to his own feelings and no on really respected them. We assumed he was cool with it and then rushed to make pee jokes.
Sorry, Matt. The media often tells baseball players, in a lot of different ways, that they need to be better. We can and should be told that we need to be better too.
There are people who are very into pitching in very specific ways. Fans who spend a lot of mental energy on knowing a pitcher’s repertoire, which pitches he uses and when and all of that. I will admit that I’m not one of those guys. I love pitching — it’s my favorite part of the game — but it’s on more of a macro level. I am less interested in the execution or technique of any one pitch than I am of the sequences and the setup. Watching a guy set up a batter and then just fool him is the BEST, aesthetically speaking. Just as I don’t often think too hard about a painter’s specific technique I sort of don’t care which pitch a pitcher uses to fool the batter.
Which is why, with a few exceptions, I couldn’t tell you which pitcher throws what. I know who throws hard and who doesn’t and if a guy has a plus pitch I probably know it, but I couldn’t tell you if so-and-so uses a cutter or a slider as his second pitch and don’t even get me started on two-seamers, four-seamers, etc. I can look that stuff up if I need to. I rarely need to because we just don’t do that sort of analysis here very often.
As a result of all of that, this didn’t really register with me when I first saw it today:
Big whoop. Sliders/cutters from a third starter on a team I don’t see all that often isn’t going to hold my attention for long. But then my friend Jason found this tweet:
Not a repeat from this spring. Check the dates.
Good luck to Taijuan Walker. For whom quitting that cut fastball appears to be as hard as it is for some people to quit smoking.