As we bid this off-day of the World Series adieu, here’s an update of the big hullabaloo of the day. Well, at least for some of us.
According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, Albert Pujols and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa responded to criticism this afternoon for members of the team skipping out on the media following Thursday’s Game 2 loss to the Rangers.
Their answers probably won’t satisfy everyone.
Here’s La Russa’s take:
“It’s getaway day. We’re leaving earlier because we had an early workout.” La Russa said. “They wanted to pack for their families. If anybody had said, ‘We need to talk to Albert,’ he would have stayed. … I heard the criticism, and it offends me.”
You tell ’em, La Russa. I mean, who would want to talk to Albert Pujols after a World Series game, anyway? Jake Westbrook is far more interesting.
Anyway, here’s what Pujols had to say for himself.
“I don’t think that’s fair because I was an hour-and-a-half the day before and 20 minutes last night and nobody came looking for me and I left. Now everybody wants to say I didn’t want to talk with the press. That’s just not realistic,” Pujols said.
Pujols also told reporters that he was in the clubhouse kitchen for 20 minutes, presumably to eat a Hot Pocket, then left because nobody from the Cardinals’ media staff asked him to come out.
I would love to get worked up about this situation, but I think this off-day has made everyone a little bored and crazy. That’s understandable. Thankfully we have a baseball game on the schedule tomorrow night.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.