Joe Maddon doesn’t want his players to “pimp” home runs

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Joe Maddon said yesterday that he does not want his Cubs hitters to “pimp” home runs. To stand and admire their shots, gesticulate and emote and all of that:

“It’s act like you’ve done it before and you can do it again,” he said. “The touchdown celebration, all that stuff, pounding your chest after dunking a basketball, all this stuff that’s become part of today’s generation of athletes – whether you agree with it being right or wrong doesn’t matter. I would just prefer that our guys would act like they’ve done it before and that they’re going to do it again.”

I don’t mind a little celebration from time to time as long as it’s not aimed at the other team in a taunting manner. But really, this is a fair stance to have. Especially when you have a young team like Maddon has now.

But it’s probably worth noting that it’s not always the stance that Maddon has had. Remember two years ago when Yunel Escobar was in a little dustup with the Blue Jays after he hit a home run and made a “safe” sign as he crossed home plate. After first voicing his displeasure at Escobar, Maddon reversed himself the next day:

“Some people point to the sky, he shows a safe sign. For me I love the way he is. I want him to remain the way he is. He did nothing wrong. … People that want to say that he did, that’s a fabrication on somebody’s part based on your own personal judgments, period … I’m never going to attempt to subtract from his celebratory manner.”

Also worth noting that Maddon had a closer back in those days who fired invisible arrows into the sky after each save.

My guess: Maddon doesn’t really care for the celebration stuff but, with Tampa Bay, had to be more diplomatic about it because the players who celebrated were veterans and you can’t really win by getting into battles with veterans. Now that he has a younger team, including a lot of young hitters with very little experience, he can be a bit more forward about voicing his displeasure with that stuff.

But really, man: a little flexing never hurt anyone. It can be kind of fun.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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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.