As we hit the All-Star break …
The craziest thing about how MLB has gone crazy is that so many of those who have driven it nuts should have arrived in their jobs knowing far better. You would conclude from their baseball upbringing that none of today’s managers would find that this play-the-same-numbers bullpen roulette epidemic makes a flake of sense.
Clearly, then, they’ve been put under the same nasty spell, one that turns wins into losses and what begin as nicely paced games into all-day or all-night sojourns to the Land of Nod.
Let’s look at the current list of skippers who manage more like Gilligan.
We have overachieving, often undersized former catchers who scrapped and scraped their ways to or close to the majors, making their baseball bones by relying on gut instincts, knowledge of fundamentals and the practical ability to deal with the here and now, qualifying them to be big league managers.
They include Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Kansas City’s Ned Yost, San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy, Houston’s A.J. Hinch, Oakland’s Bob Melvin, Toronto’s John Gibbons, Detroit’s Brad Ausmus, Atlanta’s Brian Snitker, Seattle’s Scott Servais, St. Louis’ Mike Matheny, Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash and the Cubs’ Joe Maddon.
If anyone would know that games rarely will adhere to pregame scripts — that make-believe is not open to consideration, thus don’t mess with effective starters and relievers as per some witches’ brew formula — it is those guys.
Yet, there they are, and here we are.
Current managers who overachieved as hustling, head’s-up infielders include the Mets’ Terry Collins, the White Sox’s Rick
Renteria, Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell, Philadelphia’s Pete Mackanin and San Diego’s Andy Green.
Is it possible to believe that any of them once believed or were taught that successful managing begins with pregame designations of four relief pitchers, one inning each, sixth thorough the ninth — and we win! Not a chance!
But here we are, still adrift without power or paddles on Lake Ridiculous.
Reader Chris Pego sent a box score from the July 2, 2002, game, White Sox 17, Tigers 9 — 29 hits, seven walks and two errors. That game ran 2:53. That game takes four hours today! Last Sunday, Indians 11, Tigers 8, ran 3:55.
July Fourth’s games took longer to complete than General Washington’s march to Trenton.
Dodgers 4, Diamondbacks 3, an 8 ¹/₂-inning game, took eight pitchers and 3:26. A’s 7, White Sox 4, another 8 ¹/₂-inning game, ran nine pitchers and 3:25.
Red Sox 11, Rangers 4, a night game, went 3:56. Twins 5, Angels 4, 8 ¹/₂ innings, 3:20. Blue Jays 7, Yankees 6, blew a 3:28 — not too bad considering nine pitchers pitched, with three relievers pulled despite the use of the DH and allowing no hits.
Astros 16-4 over the Braves, 3:40. In that one, Astros manager Hinch, up 12-3, yanked his first of three designated-inning relievers after a no-hit, 12-pitch seventh!
Perhaps the best was Pirates 3, Phillies 0 — a 3-0 shutout, for crying out loud — that ran 3:01. It was a new-fashioned pitchers’ duel — eight pitchers. Eight pitchers in a 3-0 game, and the winning team used five of them!
For those of you snoring at home, 25 years ago the AL All-Stars defeated the NL’s, 13-6. There were 19 runs, 31 hits, three walks, two errors and 18 pitchers. Still, the game ran just 2:55, six minutes faster than Tuesday’s 3-0!
We’re heading toward a day when the reliever who leads his league in blown saves also leads in wins.
When it comes to baseball, ESPN is the network that identified Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round The World,” as a “Walk-off homer to win the 1951 NLCS.” Seriously. And ESPN remains eager to prove its version of baseball is like eating pizza with a spoon.
During last Sunday night’s Nationals-Cardinals, Max Scherzer threw several breaking balls that were called strikes, though ESPN’s misleading computerized strike-zone box that appears atop every live pitch, showed the pitches to be well outside.
Yet the batters, demonstrating no dissent, appeared to agree. Naturally, ESPN’s three commentators dutifully ignored these moments. That stupid box is ESPN’s game-long story and ESPN’s sticking to it!
Tuesday, ESPN hit us with this stop-the-music, scrolling news: “Nationals’ Daniel Murphy is the first in franchise history to have four hits and five RBIs on the Fourth of July.”
Genuine baseball fans wouldn’t research, let alone post such a thing to a national audience, not even at knifepoint.
One of the many differences between longtime Mets radio voice Howie Rose, and longtime radio voice of the Yankees, John Sterling:
Rose is fundamentally sound, trained and conditioned to provide pertinent info. Thus, he will say, “At the end of two, Mets 2, Braves 1.”
Sterling, who rarely gives the score during play, will say, “At the end of two, 1-0, Yanks.” If you don’t know the Yankees’ opponent, you’re left to guess. He also will report, “End of three, no score.”
But as Sterling says about his tired, they’re-all-the-same, self-promoting home run calls that are so often wrong — as he did Friday on a first-inning “home run” by Aaron Judge that caught — that is your problem, not his.
For those who might miss Robinson Cano, check out MLB.com’s video of his last two at-bats in the Mariner’s 9-6 loss to the Royals on Wednesday.
After jogging into a two-men-on, 6-4-3 double play to end the seventh, his error allowed Kansas City to score three in the top of the 10th. Cano, at $240 million over 10 years, ended it with a grounder toward the hole at second then jogged toward first, again not even bothering to force a hurried throw. He was thrown out by 20 feet.
See that story about a man convicted of double homicide — one victim, his sixth wife — choosing to wear a Tony Romo Cowboys’ jersey into court? Quirky coincidence: “The First 48” real detectives show included the arrest of a murder suspect wearing future Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman’s No. 8 UCLA jersey.
Is there no one who can convince underdeveloped, 7-foot-3 shooting guard Kristaps Porzingis that by backing Carmelo Anthony he is barking down the wrong tree?
How would you like to be among those 20 FOX Sports employees canned by boss Jamie Horowitz, then two days later Horowitz is fired?
Nets radio voice Chris Carrino hosts the seventh annual dinner/dance and fundraiser to cure FSHD, July 20 at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach. Carrino, one tough dude, is afflicted by FSHD, a disease that attacks and atrophies muscles, often beginning in young adulthood. Details at chriscarrinofoundation.org.