Viewer Mail 5.1.2011

Books, Fantasy/Roto, Games, Management, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players

Nicole writes RE my review of the Joe DiMaggio book—link:

Paul – bravo! That is one of the best book reviews I’ve read in a long time. You are an excellent writer. Thanks for lending your reviewing talents to Jerome’s book and for hosting a stop on the blog tour. We appreciate it.

Nicole was my contact when Tribute Books asked me to review the book.

Dunno if I’ve ever gotten a “Bravo” before!

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE Roger McDowell:

What an embarrassment. Kids don’t belong at a ballpark? WTF!?!?! If it weren’t for kids at the ballpark no one would give a rat’s ass anyway.

You’re right.

Dude’s gotta go.

Never underestimate the power of blowback against the complainant and the power of “treatment”. The “damaged” family hiring Gloria Allred might wind up eliciting sympathy toward McDowell based on the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

He did something stupid, but if he goes through some sort of anger management course to “understand” why he behaved that way and—most importantly—if the Braves want to keep him on, he might hold onto his job.

Franklin Rabon writes RE batting orders:

I think one thing that managers drastically confuse is base stealing and base running. You want your leadoff hitter to be a good baserunner, because he’s going to be running the bases a lot, but you don’t necessarily want him stealing a lot of bases unless he almost never gets caught. Yet, a lot of managers will put a guy in the leadoff spot who steals a lot of bases, but gets caught a lot, when that player would better be utilized down in the order in front of slap hitters that need him to steal second and/or third in order to get a run across. Alex Gonzalez needs a guy on third much more than Dan Uggla does. Dan Uggla mostly just needs a guy on base, any base.

The propriety of basestealing is en vogue now more than ever with certain teams who are using it to their detriment. The Blue Jays have been running wild under new manager John Farrell and I don’t think it’s a good thing.

Yesterday Juan Rivera tried to steal third with the Blue Jays down a run and one out with 2 strikes on Edwin Encarnacion; Encarnacion struck out; Rivera was nailed by a wide margin at third.

The risk-reward was non-existent. Yes, on third Rivera could score on a wild pitch—which A.J. Burnett has the propensity of throwing—but it was a stupid idea.

In fact, off the subject, the Yankees-Blue Jays game wasn’t a case study in proper managing and execution. The Blue Jays don’t approach their at bats correctly. Why was Yunel Escobar hacking at the first pitch from the mentally fried Rafael Soriano before giving him a chance to implode? I understand it’s Yunel Escobar and he doesn’t listen or think, but it was beyond discipline; it was something you don’t do.

And Joe Girardi yanked Joba Chamberlain after he threw six pitches in the sixth inning why?

The insipid “formula”? I don’t want to hear about any formula. If any manager simply adheres to some absurd set of tenets, there’s no point in him being there at all.

In fact, this all ties in with the manager’s decision on whom to bat leadoff—many managers don’t think, nor do they lead; they follow which is the opposite of what a good manager is expected to do. With me anyway.

Mike Luna in The Bleacher Seats writes RE Michael Kay:

In what capacity does this Michael Kay person work for the Yankees? Isn’t he the TV play-by-play guy or something?

Why is he so far out front, then? He seems to act as spokesperson a lot of the time, like he’s head of their PR department. It’s just a little odd to me that he seems to need to speak for the organization, defending them where there might not need to be any defense.

Maybe I’m thinking of someone else, but is he the one that took shots at Cliff Lee during the playoffs, accusing him of cheating by touching his hat too much?

Very odd, indeed.

He’s the play-by-play man on the YES Network; host of Centerstage; has his own afternoon show on ESPN radio.

Nobody with a modicum amount of baseball knowledge goes to Michael Kay for analysis; he’s a Yankees fan with a forum and has taken his own private feuds public as he did with Joe Torre, ripping the former manager at every opportunity due to a personal and poorly concealed vendetta.

He’s not even entertaining as radio man John Sterling is; but Sterling’s act is tongue-in-cheek and he doesn’t pretend to be a reporter or analyst—it’s shtick.

Kay portrays himself as an insider with a breadth of experience from being a former sportswriter, broadcaster and radio host while still maintaining fealty to the Yankees organization.

YES has an agenda of Yankees support and Kay is the frontman.

I don’t remember if he took shots at Lee; the main distraction with Kay during the playoffs was his declaration that the ALCS was over…after the first game.

Expertise is relative and Kay is an orphan.

John Ogg writes RE my posting about Mike Francesa—link:

Just wanted to let you know I loved your article, that’s dead on about Francesa.
I belong to a site called themikefrancesa.com & thechrisrusso.com . With those names, you’d probably think it was a site dedicated to their greatness. Most use it now to complain about Mike and how horrible his show has gotten since Mad Dog left. They complain about how Mad Dog just isn’t the same with Francesa. We discuss sports in general and WFAN NY 660 AM.

Again, spot on about Francesa. Great article. I’m going to check out your book as well. Have a nice day. – John (Johninga at themikefrancesa.com)

I appreciate the compliments John.

Truthfully, I rarely listen to Francesa anymore and wonder about Russo’s listenership since he moved to satellite radio. I totally understand their need to go off on their own, but something about the duo worked; they needed each other. Neither man’s ego will allow them to openly admit this fact, but somewhere underneath the arrogance, egomania and self-importance, they have to know it.

I don’t understand Francesa’s need to be considered omnipotent and never wrong—to the point where picks are altered and he uses outside sources for fact-checking but claims to have “thought” about statements and corrected them.

It’s no great accomplishment to never be wrong—I certainly don’t want to be right all the time; it only enhances credibility to admit a mistake and be somewhat humorous about it, but his pomposity and desire to be relevant stops him from seeing or accepting it; perhaps it’s the sycophants who treat his every utterance as if they’re profound, but it all ends with the same result—a desperate desire to present this image that couldn’t exist in anyone, specifically someone who’s totally wrong as often as Francesa is.

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I’m administrating a discussion group on TheCopia.com. Click on the link to leave a comment or start a new topic.

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Please purchase my book, Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide. It’s good for your Fantasy Baseball needs.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

It’s out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.

If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

Become a fan on my Facebook fan page. Click on the link.

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A Narrow Window

Books, Games, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players

The Braves placed pitching coach Roger McDowell on administrative leave pending the investigation into the incident in San Francisco in which he was accused of threatening, abusive and offensive behavior towards the fans—ESPN Story.

Minor league pitching coordinator and veteran baseball man Dave Wallace will take over as Braves pitching coach on an interim basis.

The crux of this situation is this: is the investigation being conducted as a perfunctory method to cover all their bases before firing McDowell? Or are they going to give McDowell a chance to take an anger management course or some other means to show public contrition for what he did in an effort to keep his job?

If a sufficient amount of time passes and the episode blows over, then perhaps McDowell can keep his job.

It’s a tough road for McDowell and the Braves with Gloria Allred representing the “traumatized” family. So horribly wounded by McDowell’s tirade, presumably the only thing that will assuage their collective pain is a sufficient amount of money.

But I suppose it’s possible.

The Braves had no choice in the matter but to do something to at least delay making a permanent change, and Derek Lowe‘s arrest for DUI last night certainly didn’t make their lives any easier. They had to make the McDowell incident go away for now.

We’ll see what happens but maybe he’ll stay.

Wallace is a respected pitching coach and good baseball man. He’s experienced in multiple facets of an organization having worked in front offices, as a minor league coordinator and in hotbeds of controversy with the Dodgers, Mets and Red Sox.

He’s no yes-man; he butted heads with Bobby Valentine when Wallace was hired to replace Valentine’s preferred pitching coach and friend Bob Apodaca with the Mets, but Wallace appeared to be a pawn in the constant tug-of-war for control between Valentine and GM Steve Phillips.

But that was personal. As a coach, he’s done a good job and he’ll be perfectly fine whether he has to take over permanently for McDowell or is only there long enough for the incident to be muted and McDowell is able to return.

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I’m administrating a discussion group on TheCopia.com. Click on the link to leave a comment or start a new topic.

****

Please purchase my book, Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

It’s out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.

If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

Become a fan on my Facebook fan page. Click on the link.

//

There Are Better Ways To Commit Career Suicide

Books, Games, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players, Uncategorized

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was either drunk or left his brain back in Atlanta before the team’s trip to San Francisco as he pretty much covered all the bases of job-ending stupidity in a public rant against the San Francisco fans and various groups in general—NY Times Story.

You can read about calls for McDowell’s firing everywhere; obviously he’s not going to be able to keep his job after this.

That the offended family chose to hire matron saint of the cause célèbres and tabloid fodder, attorney Gloria Allred, is a clear indicator that they’re not letting this go until they get paid; McDowell gets fired; or both.

McDowell did something so far beyond the scope of acceptable and excusable bouts of dunderheadedness that he’s going to be forced out as Braves pitching coach. No ifs, ands or buts. At first I thought the his apology was sufficient before reading the full context of the story, but he’s gotta go.

If McDowell was a star, difference-making pitching coach with a track record that would justify his retention despite this incident, obviously the Braves would find a way to keep him on. Dave Duncan gets a pass for most transgressions because he’s Dave Duncan and Tony La Russa wouldn’t let him be fired without a patented La Russa tantrum; McDowell doesn’t get that same leeway.

Mentioning La Russa isn’t a small part of such an equation. If Bobby Cox were still managing the Braves and insisted that McDowell be given the chance to redeem himself, McDowell might survive this inexplicable act of self-immolation; new manager Fredi Gonzalez has enough problems of his own trying to establish himself amid the new clubhouse culture and rampant criticisms of his strategies that he doesn’t need to be answering questions regarding his pitching coach’s misanthropic, homophobic, abusive rant.

The Braves have no option other than to force McDowell’s resignation and presumably pay a settlement to the “damaged” family. They hired Allred because they want attention and money.

They’ll get it.

And McDowell will be gone from the Braves dugout. Soon.

I have no idea what the Braves would do for a replacement pitching coach; presumably they’d hire someone from inside the organization. Rick Peterson is out of work and highly respected, although I don’t know if the Braves would want to go the Peterson route—he’s got a short shelf-life and might infringe on Gonzalez’s authority; but he’s a good pitching coach with proven results.

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I’m administrating a discussion group on TheCopia.com. Click on the link to leave a comment or start a new topic.

****

Please purchase my book, Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

It’s out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.

If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

Become a fan on my Facebook fan page. Click on the link.

//