Hey Bobby V and Buck… take your time picking a team

Bobby Valentine was rumored to be the new manager of the Marlins and supposedly Buck Showalter is hovering around Baltimore ready to wear the black and orange.

And yet Edwin Rodriguez is still in charge of the Marlins and Juan Samuel is helming the Orioles. And I think that is a good thing.

Not only do life long baseball men like Rodriguez and Samuel get to potentially finish up the season, but Bobby V and Buck, two of the most intriguing managerial candidates out there, could feast on one of the most robust and potentially rewarded managerial free agency off seasons in history.

Assuming that Joe Torre will join Bobby Cox, Cito Gaston and Lou Piniella in retirement (which he should) and Jerry Manuel won’t be asked back to manage the Mets (which he probably won’t) then there are jobs with lots of potential glory and obvious hazards out there for two managers who have worked in the bright spotlight, had success but looking for that ring.

Let’s look at the potential landing spots.


– The team looks like it is playoff bound, so you will be inheriting a winner.

– With McCann, Heyward, Hanson, Jurjenns and McLouth, you have a solid nucleus for a winner for years to come.

– The recent playoff success helps make it an attractive free agent destination.


– The shadow of Bobby Cox will lurk over this team for a generation.

– 14 straight trips to the playoffs is a tough act to follow.

– If they win how much credit can you claim? It will be like Joe Altobelli winning in 1983 with a team Earl Weaver put together.

– Ted Turner no longer runs the team, so the days of spending big to win now are over.

– The fans don’t care. They can’t even sell out playoff games!


Best leave Bobby Cox to pick his own successor. Between Terry Pendleton and Fredi Gonzalez there are a bunch of Cox’s former lieutenants who can take over the job without making the organization feel like they are going in a totally new direction.


– The Orioles are a tradition rich organization with some of the best and most passionate fans in the game who are DROOLING for a winner.

– They won’t be trying to move unless they get a “Camden Yards like stadium.”

– Matt Weiters, Adam Jones and Brian Matusz are a nice trio to build a team around.

– The passion is high but the expectations aren’t. This will be their 5th straight 90+ loss season. They haven’t had a winner since 1997. Put a winner on the field and Camden Yard will be full of grateful fans.


– There’s a reason they have gone more than a decade without a .500 team… the only teams in American Pro Sports with worse management are the Raiders and the Clippers.

– That Orioles winning tradition is harder to sell when the last Orioles championship took place before their young stars were born.

– The Orioles have been good and developing hyped prospects, not quality major leaguers.

– Oh that A.L. East… good luck spending with the Sox and the Yankees.


A good gig if you want to look like a hero (a la Jim Leyland with the Tigers.) Better hope the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees get injured. Better yet, better hope Peter Angelos sells the team!


– Hey you want to be a God to a fan base and be instantly considered a Hall of Famer? Then manage the Cubs to a World Series title.

– You don’t need to worry about fan support nor revenues.

– Maybe the new ownership will open up the purse and do “Operation Red Sox – 2004” and get all that Billy Goat crap put to rest.

– With players like Castro and Soto, they have some young stars to build with.


– If winning a title for the Cubs is so easy, then why hasn’t anyone done it since the days of Tinker to Evers to Chance?

– They’ve had over 50 managers since 1908 including Joe McCarthy, Rogers Hornsby, Leo Durocher, Lou Boudreau, Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella. Good luck!

– The Cubs lead the league in unmovable awful contracts. As long as Jim Hendry is buying the groceries, the Cubs won’t be cooking up anything that tasty.


It is the easiest route to immortality and having a major city treat you like a God. But the fan base is getting restless and the new ownership is a wild card. Also for whatever reason, Ryne Sandberg has been anointed the new Cubs manager savior… good luck with that.


– The team has a tendency of winning a World Series every once in a while. Might as well win one on your watch.

– Living year round in Miami isn’t that bad.

– No pressure. The fans will be so busy watching Wade and LeBron that they won’t notice you until you are in the World Series.

– You could manage the team when the excitement of an actual BASEBALL stadium opening in Miami occurs in a few years. Maybe some fans will show up as well.

– If you can harness the potential of Hanley Ramirez, you could have a Hall of Famer on your hand.


– Ebenezer Scrooge thinks that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is cheap.

– Joe Girardi and Fredi Gonzalez each led overachieving low budget teams to surprising records… and both were rewarded with being fired.

– Fans didn’t seem to care when they won in 1997 and 2003. Why would they care now?


Maybe the new stadium and new revenues will mean longer contracts for their players. Miami may be a cool place to live, but so far it is no baseball town. But if this is the last managerial stop, then why not? If you retire, you’ll already be in Florida!


– A Chance to manage one of the marquee, big market, high profile organizations.

– They have a rich farm system that produces solid big leaguers at a steady rate.

– They also have a pitchers ballpark and play in a pitchers division, so it is about as attractive a destination for any quality free agent arm to land.

– They have a wonderfully rich tradition that treats its Champions with dignity.


– Mel Gibson’s divorce was civil compared to the fiasco that is the McCourts.

– A championship window might be closing and shockingly it is not out of the question that the Dodgers might be dismantling the team soon.

– You know Joe Torre doesn’t WANT to leave… but he also knows that managing a losing team isn’t how he wants to end his legacy. Why should you take Joe’s scraps.


If the divorce settles and the Dodgers can act like one of the few big market, big budget teams that they are, then this is a job sent from heaven. But despite all the resources, talent and solid managers that have come and gone through L.A. recently, they still have startling turnover (nobody from the 2004 playoff roster was on the 2006 playoff roster and they had three different managers since the 2004 NL West title.) A good gig if you win. Lousy if the divorce drags on.


-You win in New York and you are a God. And currently only one position is available in New York.

– The expectations aren’t as high in Queens, but winning there might be more special because it has been so infrequent.

– You never have to worry about management cutting corners on free agents. They are as aggressive as any team not named the Yankees.

– National exposure and a passionate fan base would make any title even bigger.

– Both of you (Bobby and Buck) have unfinished business in New York.


– Both Buck and Bobby V managed in New York before. Are you two considered damaged goods?

– Omar Minaya is to the Mets what Jim Hendry is to the Cubs. Aggressive but wreckless with contracts and can put a loser on the field with a $100+ million payroll.

– Every move is broken down to the point where you have to answer to Joey from Sheepshead Bay calling in to WFAN when your bullpen move didn’t work.

– No matter how big the Mets get, they are the poor stepchild of the Yankees.


Untold glory and unspeakable headaches can come from being the skipper in New York. Joe Torre gave the Yankees 6 pennants and 4 World Series titles and that wasn’t enough for some people. Make sure you can work well with Omar… just ask Willie Randolph how fun it was.


– Toronto is a great city. Big, cosmopolitan and clean… with universal health care.

– It’s also a passionate sports town and when the Blue Jays have something to offer, they show up in record numbers.

– With Marcum, Romero, Litsch and Drabek, they have a nice foundation of young pitching… which as we know is the cornerstone of any championship run.

– Expectations are low. Exceed them and be a hero.


– In case you didn’t know, Toronto is in Canada. You try luring free agents across the border!

– Also in case you didn’t know, Toronto is in the American League East. Unless you see the Red Sox, Yankees or Rays crumbling any time soon, you are more likely to see the EXPOS in the playoffs before the Blue Jays.

– Unless you really see Jose Bautista and John Buck being the cornerstones to a title team, this team is going to REALLY stink for a while.

– Toronto fans are passionate, yet don’t you feel they’d give Joe Carter’s home run back in a second for a Stanley Cup.

– People in America will put out a missing persons report for you.


Let some young manager working their way up the ranks take over Toronto. This is no place for a skipper with some success under their wing… except for Cito Gaston.

If I were advising the two… I’d tell Bobby Valentine to take over the Dodgers. Eventually the divorce will die down and L.A. would eat up his larger than life style.

As for Showalter, I wouldn’t touch the Orioles with a cattle prod. I’d go to the Mets, especially if Minaya is shown the door. Buck put together a winner in New York once before and he can do it again… and this time follow it all the way through.

Choose carefully, you two. You already have playoff experience and some aura about your dugout smarts in the bank. A World Series title on your resume… you might be talked about as a Cooperstown candidate.

And remember… all the smart baseball people read this blog and take my advice to heart.

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Last night I did the unthinkable… I went to bed without knowing the final score of a Red Sox game

When I left work after pulling a late night last night, I heard that John Lackey had a no hitter going into the 8th.

I admit, I perked up. I had a good 30 minute drive home and I thought “Could I hear yet ANOTHER Red Sox no hitter?” Since 2001, we’ve had Hideo Nomo, Derek Lowe, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester all throwing no nos.

Why not Lackey?

Then I started thinking “Wait a second! With Beckett and Buchholz both coming back from the DL and Dice K throwing well and Lackey on the verge of a no no… maybe THIS could be the rallying point for the Red Sox!”

He coughed up a hit with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 8th. And with the Sox up by 5 in the 9th, I was thinking while driving in the car “Have Lackey finish the game. He’s had an up and down year and finishing a complete game shutdown could boost his confidence with the Sox. Plus with Beckett coming off the DL, who knows how many relievers you will need? So have a rested and ready bullpen.”

When I heard DelCarmen was in the game, I swear I yelled at my XM Radio NO! NO!

When the 6-1 lead turned into a 6-3 lead before you could say “teeth grinder” I knew we were in trouble. By the time I got home, it was a 6-4 lead, and Papelbon, who no doubt was taking a nap when the game was 6-1, was thrown into the game.

I heard the Mariners tie the game. And I turned off the XM.
I didn’t check the sports ticker.

There was no way I was going to either

a) Watch them lose in the bottom of the 9th


b) sit through extra innings.

Wifey and I watched an episode of Mad Men and went to bed.

You understand I NEVER do that. I NEVER go to bed without knowing how the Red Sox game ended. It’s easy on the West Coast because many times the games start around 4PM out there. But I always like to check to see how my boys did… even when they are out of it… before I call it a night.

Not this night.
Even if they won, I felt like they lost.
A team that has playoff aspirations doesn’t let a team like the Mariners score 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th.

Evidently the Red Sox won. Instead of having a rested bullpen, they have a pen that had to throw 5 innings.

I saw that they won and didn’t feel elation. I just felt like they didn’t lose.

BUT it is worth it to update the tally.


April 4 – 9-7 win against Yankees (On Opening Night, the Red Sox overcome a 5-1 Yankee lead with a game tying HR by Pedroia and a go ahead passed ball.)
April 10 – 8-3 win against Kansas City (Beckett out pitches Zack Greinke and nearly gets decapitated by a line drive.)
April 14 – 6-3 win in Minnesota. (Okajima gets Morneau to pop up with the bases loaded in the 7th and Papelbon wiggled out of a 9th inning jam.)
April 20 – 7-6 win against Texas. (Darnell McDonald introduces himself to Boston with an 8th inning game tying homer and a walk off hit in the 9th.)
April 21 – 8-7 win against Texas. (The Red Sox were down 4-0 early only to win it on Youk’s 2 out 11th inning double.)
April 23 – 4-3 win against Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 3-0 lead but win it on Adrian Beltre’s bases loaded walk.)
April 24 – 7-6 win against Baltimore. (The Red Sox score 6 in the 7th and hold off a late Baltimore comeback attempt.)
April 26 – 13-12 win at Toronto. (The Sox blow an early 5-0 lead but hang on for dear life in a slugfest.)
April 27 – 2-1 win at Toronto. (Buchholz holds the Jays down for 8 but it takes a bases loaded walk in the 8th to go ahead.)
April 28 – 2-0 win at Toronto. (Daniel Bard wiggles out of trouble in the 8th to help Lester shut down the Blue Jays and finish the sweep.)
May 4 – 5-1 win against the Angels. (Juan Rivera misplays Jeremy Hermedia’s 2 out flyball into a 3 run game winning double)
May 5 – 3-1 win against the Angels. (Papi and Beltre homer and the Sox hang on despite squandering many potential rallies.)
May 6 – 11-6 win against the Angels. (Dice-K puts the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole before they even bat. The Sox bats respond.)
May 10 – 7-6 win against the Blue Jays. (Sox blow an early 2-0 lead, take advantage of some errors and hang on.)
May 18 – 7-5 win in New York. (Sox climb back from a 5-1 hole. A day after hitting a walk off homer, Marcus Thames drops a fly ball to start the winning rally for the Sox.)
May 25 – 2-0 win in Tampa. (Big Papi supplies all the offense as Papelbon wiggles out of a 9th inning jam.)
May 29 – 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Zack Greinke holds the Sox to one run, but they make it stick)
June 1 – 9-4 win against Oakland. (Lackey puts the Sox in a 4-0 hole but Victor Martinez goes 5-5 and the Sox score 9 runs late.)
June 2 – 6-4 win against Oakland. (Dice-K puts the Sox in a 3-0 hole before they come to bat, but come back thanks to Papi’s homer.)
June 8 – 3-2 win at Cleveland. (With Papelbon unavailable, Okajima, Ramirez and Bard hang on to make a winner out of Wakefield.)
June 19 – 5-4 win against the Dodgers. (Sox make 4 errors, blow a late lead and let Manny homer, but they win it in the bottom of the 9th on a Pedroia single.)
June 20 – 2-0 win against the Dodgers. (Dodgers blow an early bases loaded scoring opportunity and allow Buchholz to settle down for the win.)
June 24 – 13-11 win in Colorado. (The bullpen lets up 9 runs in 5 innings, but Pedroia homers 3 times including with 2 outs in the 10th to win a wild and stupid game.)
June 26 – 4-2 win in San Francisco. (An injury running the bases takes Buchholz out in the second, but the bullpen and Mike Cameron’s bat and glove win the game.)
July 2 – 3-2 win against the Orioles. (Wakefield gets the win and J.D. Drew homers twice, but it is Nava’s 2 out 8th inning bloop that landed between three fielders that breaks the tie.)
July 11 – 3-2 win in Toronto. (Jesse Litch took a no hitter into the 6th but back to back homers by McDonald and Big Papi win the game.)
July 17 – 3-2 win against Texas. (Youk ties the game in the 9th off of Cliff Lee and wins it in the 11th with a sacrifuce fly)
July 19 – 2-1 win at Oakland. (Beltre homers and Dice-K holds on to the win.)
July 22 – 8-6 win at Seattle. (Lackey lost a no hit bid in the 8th and the Mariners scored 5 in the 9th to tie before the Sox won in 13)


April 6 – 6-4 loss against the Yankees. (Scutaro’s error leads to the winning run.)
April 7 – 3-1 loss against the Yankees. (Sox leave the winning run on in the 9th only to lose on Granderson’s 10th inning homer)
April 9 – 4-3 loss in Kansas City. (Bard coughs up the lead, denying Wakefield a win.)
April 17 – 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Sox can’t score with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 11th… lost it in the 12th.)
April 17 – 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Red Sox comeback falls a run short, leaving two on in the 8th)
April 25 – 7-6 loss to Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 4-1 lead, leave the winning run on second in the 9th, let up 3 in the 10th and could only score 2 in the bottom of the 10th)
April 30 – 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (Tejada ties the game with a 2 out 8th inning homer and wins it with a bloop in the 10th)
May 1 – 12-9 loss in Baltimore. (Dice-K and Wakes get pounded, wasting 2 homers from Ortiz and an early 4-1 lead.)
May 2 – 3-2 loss in Baltimore. (Varitek is thrown at home trying to score with 2 outs in the 8th. Sox get swept in the 10th.
May 12 – 3-2 loss against the Blue Jays. (The Sox rally in the 9th comes up a run short and Kevin Gregg gets an ugly save.)
May 15 – 7-6 loss in Detroit. (The Sox blow a 6-1 lead and lose it on a 2 out bases loaded walk in the 12th.)
May 17 – 11-9 loss in New York. (The Sox come all the way back from a 5-0 first inning hole to take a 9-7 lead in the 9th… but Papelbon lets up a 2 run game tying shot to A-Rod and a 2 run walk off shot to Marcus Thames.)
May 21 – 5-1 loss in Philadelphia. (Big Papi’s bid for a game tying 9th inning grand slam is caught at the warning track.)
May 274-3 loss to Kansas City. (Dice-K walks the go ahead run in and lets another score on a wild pitch as the Royals no name bullpen shut down the Hot Sox.)
May 28 – 12-5 loss to Kansas City. (Sox blow a 3-0 first inning lead to be blown out in Fenway.)
June 3 – 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox lose a slugfest where two Boston runners are thrown out at home.)

June 6 – 4-3 loss in Baltimore. (Sox rally to tie the game in the 9th only to lose it on a small ball rally in the 11th.)
June 10 – 8-7 loss in Cleveland. (Sox blow an early 5-0 lead and then after rallying in the 9th to take the lead coughed it up with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th)
June 13 – 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. (Sox 9th inning rally comes up short)
June 22 – 2-1 loss in Colorado. (The Sox waste a solid Lester start and twice leave the bases loaded.)
June 23 – 8-6 loss in Colorado. (The Sox batter Ubaldo Jimenez around but Papelbon lets up 2 homers in the 9th to lose it.)
June 25 – 5-4 loss in San Francisco. (The Sox strand 11 runners in the last 4 innings wasting a solid Wakefield performance.)
July 5 – 6-5 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox spoil a 5-1 lead and 2 homers by Eric Patterson when Dice-K and the bullpen couldn’t hold down the Rays.)
July 6 – 3-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox bats go dead and Kevin Youkilis goes down to injury.)
July 7 – 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Matt Garza comes out of the pen, shuts down a late rally as the Rays sweep the Sox.)

July 10 – 9-5 loss in Toronto. (The Sox give Lackey an early 5-3 lead that he couldn’t hold.)
July 18 – 4-2 loss to the Rangers. (Lester loses a rare game at home that included a Rangers steal of home.)

July 20 – 5-4 loss in Oakland. (The Sox go up 4-0 after 2 but don’t score again and lose it in the 10th)
July 21 – 6-4 loss in Oakland. (Buchholz can’t hold on to an early lead as the Sox lose the series.)

Back to break even and may that is appropriate.
The team won… and technically it means the same in the standings as a no hitter. It just doesn’t feel like it.

It feels like they barely snuck by a team that has already called it quits for the year.

Beckett tonight… buckle up.

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