FOX’s Jon Paul Morosi passes along an anecdote about Dusty Baker’s final dark days as the Cubs’ manager that, I am quite certain, is unique in the history of Major League Baseball:
“At the very end, somebody took a dump right where I stood in the dugout every day,” Baker said Monday morning. “That was the low point. The grounds crew guy cleaned it up. He said, ‘Oh, I think it’s dog crap.’ I said, ‘No it ain’t. That’s human crap.’”
Dusty doesn’t know who did it. I find it hard to believe that a fan is gonna schlep a bag of crap to the ballpark. And even if the plan was, um, put together in a bathroom in Wrigley Field, there would be too many other fans who would see the drop. No: this was an inside job. A player or a coach did it in the wee small hours of the morning before Duty Baker made his way to the dugout.
But who did it? Looking at the roster of the 2006 Cubs suggests all manner of suspects. Michael Barrett wasn’t well-liked on that team. Todd Walker had his share of attitude issues during his career. Greg Maddux has a history of scatalogical pranksterism. Really, it could have been anyone! Well, maybe not Neifi Perez. That dude practically owed his career to Baker. He’d probably take a bullet for the guy.
The real question is whether anyone saved the evidence. Because while it’s likely not possible now, I’m sure someday technology will help us make a positive ID.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.
The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.
The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.
Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.
Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.
In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.