This morning we noted that Nationals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist was fired after last night’s game. Today we learn that the Nationals, apparently, handled it poorly.
Jamal Collier of MLB.com tweets from the press conference for Lilliquist’s replacement, Paul Menhart. Menhart says that he was told three days ago that he was getting the big league pitching coach job. Which means that Lilliquist was the Nats’ pitching coach, doing whatever it was a pitching coach does, for at least two or maybe three games, depending on what time of the day Menhart got the call that day. All the while the front office and, one assumes, manager Dave Martinez knew Liliquist was a dead man walking.
I have no opinion about Derek Liliquist’s firing for its own sake. The Nats pitching stunk and it’s pretty standard for a pitching coach to take the fall for that, deserved or not. But if what Menhart says is true and he and others had made the decision for him to replace Liliquist several days ago, that’s some serious garbage on the part of the Nats front office.
You don’t humiliate employees like that. There’s absolutely no excuse for it. If the decision was made to replace Liliquist a few days ago, the Nats brass either should’ve kept that decision to themselves or else made the move immediately and either went with an interim guy or gone without a pitching coach for a day or two in order to get people where they needed to be.
Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.
And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”
What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.
But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:
A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.