Unearthed this gem of a quote from Bobby Cox, former manager of the “Great in the Regular Season But Flame Out in the Playoffs Against Inferior Opposition” Atlanta Braves. Certainly has relevance today in light of the playoffs being expanded once again:
“You shouldn’t get nothing for second or third. Baseball has set it up the way they want, of course, and I have nothing to do with it. I’m not knocking baseball at all, but in my opinion I’d like to see the two . . . best teams in baseball in the World Series. It’s hard to swallow sometimes when you play all year and you win a lot of games and you lose to somebody who did not play as good as you consistently all year.
Preach Bobby. I don’t care what the haters say: winning the division all those times was really cool, and it’s alright if you disappointed in the playoffs.
Oh, wait. This just in: that wasn’t Bobby Cox in 1999. It was Phillies manager Charlie Manuel yesterday. Never mind then.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.