Tag:Joe Torre
Posted on: October 23, 2011 7:24 pm
 

MLB to investigate Red Sox, possibly ban beer

TorreBy Evan Brunell

Major League Baseball plans to investigate the drinking that went on in the Red Sox clubhouse, and could use that as an impetus to ban alcohol throughout the game, the Boston Globe reports.

“It’s something we’re concerned about, just to make sure that we get all the facts and that’s my area,” MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Torre said. “I know I have plans just to talk to some people.”

It's unclear what the investigation would be, but it may simply have to do with checking into the situation to make sure that not only has all the information been divulged, but that it won't happen again. Given Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz both admitted to drinking beer in the clubhouse during games in which the starters didn't pitch and admitted to mistakes along with fellow starters Josh Beckett and John Lackey, that will probably be enough to satisfy Torre, especially with Boston president Larry Lucchino standing behind his starters.

Currently, the Red Sox are just one of 12 teams that allow alcohol in the clubhouse. Baseball doesn't regulate alcohol in the clubhouse, but with the latest revelations in Boston, that could change.

“If we do happen to bar alcohol from the clubhouses, you have to understand the intent of this thing and what it looks like,” Torre said. “We’re up there and we’re role models, or we should be role models for the youngsters and how they behave.

"Guys understand that if they want to do something, they’re going to do something. They’re grown-ups. It’s something where we implement rules that we feel would be best for the game and who we’re being watched by. We’ve got to look at it."

Here's the only problem with this. Why is the news of Red Sox starting pitchers drinking beer on their off-days so horrible as to merit a possible leaguewide ban... and yet DUIs are going unpunished? Through early May, there had been six DUIs by players and none missed a game for illegally drinking and driving.

The idea of investigating alcohol in the clubhouse and whether or not to ban it makes sense. The reason for it does not.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 6:50 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 7:18 pm
 

Instant replay in MLB? Torre and La Russa



By Matt Snyder


ARLINGTON, Texas -- In light of the botched Ron Kulpa call at first base in Game 3, discussion of expanded instant replay has once-again ramped up.

As a refresher, here's a GIF of the play, courtesy of SB Nation:



Rangers manager Ron Washington, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Major League Baseball's vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre spoke with the media before Sunday night's Game 4 on the matter.

"All I want is to get the play right, that's all," said Washington. "And sometimes umpires don't get it right, and there's nothing you can do about it.

"You know, we brought in instant replay for the home run. I think in the World Series, for plays like last night, maybe we can find a way to get the play right."

And he's right. We can't be sure of what the perfect system would entail in baseball just yet, but there's far too much technology at our disposal to allow an easily correctable call to just stand and move on -- especially when the umpire himself knows he messed up.

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"Ron Kulpa came in, and I was in the umpires' dressing room afterwards, and he walked in. The first thing out of his mouth was that he had to see the play. He said, 'I missed it, did I miss it?'" Torre said, also adding that anyone questioning Kulpa's integrity -- he's a born-and-raised St. Louis native -- is crossing the line.

And I agree with Torre. Kulpa absolutely nailed the biggest call of Game 2 when he called Ian Kinsler safe on a ninth-inning stolen base. If he was in the bag for the Cardinals, he calls Kinsler out. It's very simple. So the focus should be entirely on replay, not Kulpa's honest mistake.

La Russa seems to feel Kulpa's pain, as well as any other umpire who has made an honest error and been vilified for it.

"My two cents is more in favor of looking at it. I think, as long as it doesn't affect the game as far as slowing it down, I think the umpires are -- it's unfair," La Russa said, when discussing that he'd like the umpires to get more help and take less blame. "And if there's a way to ease that burden, some limited additions are going to be discussed, and we'll see where it goes."

When asked if there was a chance that MLB would implement further replay measures, Torre seemed to give a bit of a contradictory message.

"Well, I'd say drop it, but I don't want people to think that we're stubborn about this," Torre said. He later noted that he's worried about delays.

"To me, wholesale replay, I think is going to disrupt the flow of the game. That's just my opinion. Am I old school? Yeah, I am old school, but I'm not ignoring the new technology that's available to us, and we're going to do everything we can to make the game better."

Only by refusing to implement simple additional measures -- even if only in the postseason -- MLB is certainly ignoring new technology. And what about the delay when a manager argues with the umpire? In a replay system, it's possible they just challenge a play or whatever the system might be instead of a five-minute argument delay.

"That's certainly legitimate," Torre said when asked about the time spent arguing calls. "That question is certainly legitimate, but they're not all going to be that clear-cut. Again, it's still not going to keep the manager from arguing, it's not going to keep the player from arguing before you go to replay."

And, again, I'd ask why they can't just review and overturn the clear-cut plays and ignore the close ones? Torre might say they don't want to be stubborn, but it's pretty evident Major League Baseball is being very stubborn on the use of video replay, at least for now.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 3:02 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 4:01 am
 

Overheard: Notes, quotes from World Series Game 3



By Matt Snyder


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cardinals took Game 3 of the World Series with some pretty huge offense. Here are some of the post-game notes and quotes from Rangers Ballpark.

• Don't forget about Allen Craig. He had two huge hits in the first two games of the series and then hit a home run in his first at-bat of Game 3. As we noted in the Game 3 preview, the designated hitter actually gives the NL team the advantage in this series, as the Cardinals can get Craig's bat into the lineup, while the Rangers only get to add the likes of either Yorvit Torrealba or Mitch Moreland. The Rangers have a sick lineup, too, but seeing Craig, Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and David Freese through the thick of the lineup is pretty imposing.

• Yes, first-base umpire Ron Kulpa is a born-and-raised St. Louis-area resident. I'm sure plenty of fans will latch onto that in the coming days and find it means that he had bias on the play. It's a ridiculous notion because, first of all, Kulpa was accountable for his mistake. "I saw a replay when I walked off the field, and the tag was applied before his foot hit the bag," he said after the game. If there was a hidden bias, he probably wouldn't own his mistake.

Secondly, if you still think he made the errant call on purpose, you're gonna have to explain why he called Ian Kinsler safe on a bang-bang play in Game 2. If Kulpa was in the bag for the Cardinals, he could have easily called Kinsler out and the Cardinals would have likely won that game, too.

World Series, Game 3
• Should Kulpa have asked for help? "No. On that type of play, I'm not going to ask for help. Ron (Washington) didn't ask me to get any help, either."

• Rangers manager Ron Washington on the call: "Well, he missed the play, and I knew he missed the play when I went out there. We still had an opportunity to get off that field with maybe them just pushing one run across the plate. We just didn't make the plays. I mean, I don't think you can just start all of a sudden making excuses about things. We had a chance to get off the field with them scoring one run in that inning right there, and we just threw the ball around in that inning, and it really messed up Harrison's outing because he was throwing the ball well."

• Neither Josh Hamilton nor the Rangers will say much about it, but when he had to throw on the brakes at third base in the bottom of the fifth inning, that had to have hurt his tweaked groin. Nothing brings out pain in leg muscle injuries like having to stop on a dime from full speed.

• "The thing I liked best was that he was working good counts all night," hitting coach Mark McGwire said to a handful of reporters in the hallway after the game of Albert Pujols' performance.

• Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki on throwing out the first pitch: "My last one in July was a little high. This time they told me to throw a four-seam fastball. I still don't understand what that means. But I think that's the grip I had. Or was it a two-seam fastball? No, I forgot. It worked out better the last time. Everybody just told me don't throw it low, so I left it way high, and Michael Young almost pulled a hamstring trying to jump and get it, and this time I think he could stay in the stance and catch it. So it was better."

• Cardinals manager Tony La Russa moved past Bobby Cox and into second place in the all-time record books. La Russa is now 16 wins behind Joe Torre for first.

• Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn on his outing: "You know, that's what this game is all about, who's going to be the guy that comes in and is able to get multiple innings in a game like that because both offenses were on tonight. Somebody had to come in and try to calm the storm, I guess, and I was able to make a couple pitches, and I actually got away with some pitches, too. So to be able to come in and get a couple outs there and not have to go in our bullpen any deeper, I felt like that was good movement on the rest of the series."

• Lots of attention is being paid to Alexi Ogando's issues this series, but Scott Feldman had a terrible outing Saturday night, too. Feldman and Ogando were an incredible bridge to the late-innings guys in the ALDS and ALCS but have faltered this series.

• Lost in the Cardinals' offensive hooplah: Matt Holliday is now just 2-for-11 in the World Series.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: October 5, 2011 4:03 pm
 

Sox won't consider Valentine, Hale

By Evan Brunell

The Terry Francona managerial search is going to be dragging on for a good while, but there's a couple of nuggets that filter out each day.

Wednesday, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that current Boston bench coach Demarlo Hale will not be considered for the Red Sox's vacant manager position. Hale was a finalist back in 2003 when Francona won the job, and Hale also came close to netting the Toronto job, losing out to fellow Sox coach John Farrell. He's a strong managerial candidate and figures to helm a bench somewhere one day, but it won't be in Boston, as McAdam writes that the Red Sox believe a fresh start is needed.

That fresh start won't include Bobby Valentine, Joe Torre or Tony La Russa, though. The Red Sox are seeking a "younger candidate, one more agreeable to working with others than a more established, veteran manager," McAdam writes.

Sources say that among the candidates discussed, some are still involved in the postseason. That would include Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, who seems to be a popular name in the search for a new manager. Also being considered is Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, whose team was knocked out of the playoffs on Tuesday. Another candidate is Cleveland bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. as well as Yankees bench coach Tony Pena, although Pena is not as viable a candidate as the aforementioned three names.

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 10:48 am
 

Francona wants to manage in 2012

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Terry Francona hopes to manage next season, according to a report from ESPN's Buster Olney.

Francona's contract was picked up by the Red Sox late last week. We looked at possible landing spots for Francona on Friday, noting that if he wants to manage in 2012, he'll certainly have a chance.

Olney also reported Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin will be one of the people interviewed to replace Francona in Boston. Mackanin was also on our list of possible replacements. One name that wasn't on our list was Torey Lovullo, the Pawtucket Red Sox manager in 2010 who went with John Farrell to Toronto. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted that Lovullo would be considered, while he writes that Bobby Valentine and Joe Torre are not candidates.

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Posted on: September 30, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Francona's out, who's next in Boston?

Bobby ValentineBy C. Trent Rosecrans

So, Terry Francona is out in Boston… who's next?

Here's several ideas:

Bobby Valentine: For the first time in a long time, he's not the heir apparent in Miami, as Ozzie Guillen has become the latest manager Jeffrey Loria is itching to fire. Valentine, 61, is currently an ESPN announcer, but he's managed the Rangers and Mets, as well as two stints as the manager for Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines. In MLB, Valentine has a record of 1,117-1,072 and appeared in one World Series, losing to the Yankees as the Mets skipper in 2000.

DeMarlo Hale: It wouldn't be sexy, but it would be a link to the recent regime in Boston. Hale has served as Francona's bench coach the last two seasons and was previously the team's third-base coach. Last year he interviewed for the Blue Jays job, which went to then-Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. However, he could be seen as too close to the former regime and not enough of a change.

Joe Torre: If you want a big name, there are few bigger in managerial circles. However, there's questions whether the 71-year-old would want to manage again and even as well as he put up with the madness that is managing the Yankees, why would he want to enter another circus? He also didn't exactly light the world on fire as the Dodgers' manager.

Dave Martinez: The Rays bench coach is going to be one of the hottest names in potential managerial searches until he gets a gig. He's served as Joe Maddon's bench coach since 2008. Martinez retired in 2001 after 16 seasons in the big leagues.

Pete Mackanin: The Phillies bench coach has been an interim manager twice, in Pittsburgh in 2005 and in Cincinnati in 2007.  He's been the Phillies' bench coach the last three seasons. Mackanin may not be seen as a big enough name for the Red Sox.

Don Wakamatsu: The former Mariners manager was the Blue Jays' bench coach last season. Wakamatsu had a strange exit in Seattle after what seemed like a players' revolt. He failed to get along with some of his players in Seattle, and with talk of problems in the Red Sox clubhouse during the last month of the season, Wakamatsu's past could be a red flag.

Eric Wedge: The current Mariners manager has been mentioned, but he's under contract and the Mariners seem happy with him. It doesn't make sense for the Mariners to let him go to Boston.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 15, 2011 7:25 pm
 

MLB looking into Kershaw-Parra feud

Gerardo ParraBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Major League Baseball will likely decide whether to discipline Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw by Friday, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez reports.

Kershaw was ejected in Wednesday night's game for hitting Arizona's Gerardo Parra, the day after Parra took offense to nearly being hit by Los Angeles reliever Hong-Chih Kuo. Parra retaliated the old fashioned way, taking Kuo deep, before taking an extra couple of seconds to admire his homer and then spring around the bases. Kershaw, in the dugout, took offense at Parra's actions and yelled his displeasure.

Parra doubled in his first at-bat on Wednesday against Kershaw, but then Kershaw hit him in the sixth inning and was immediately ejected.

Neither team had been warned by the umpires before the game, nor during the game, but Joe Torre, the former Dodgers manager and current head of MLB's baseball operations, called Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly to tell him the head office in New York would be watching the game closely. Torre oversees the man who will decide on any further punishment for Kershaw, Joe Garagiola Jr.

Kershaw had a strike on Parra when he hit him, and both Kershaw and Mattingly argued with home plate umpire Bill Welke that Kershaw was just pitching inside and Parra didn't get out of the way. The pitch hit Parra in the elbow.

"The first at-bat I threw him all away and he hit a double, so the next at-bat I came in," Kershaw said (via the Los Angeles Times). "It's just unfortunate. I understand [Welke] has a job to do, but at the same time he has to pay attention to what's going on in the game better."

The Dodgers were leading 2-0 when Kershaw was booted. They went on to win, 3-2, with Kershaw picking up his 19th win of the season.

While I don't think Kershaw was upset the ball went in and hit Parra, I'm not so sure he was looking to hit him. Arizona's Miguel Montero doesn't agree with me, telling the Times afterward: "We knew he was going to [hit him]. I guess there was a warning going on already, especially with Parra. I think that's part of the game and the umpires did the right move."

It would be highly suspect if Kershaw hadn't been tossed after hitting Parra -- regardless of intent. That said, that should be the end of it. It seems like any other punishment would be excessive. Kershaw didn't like what Parra did, Parra took care of it with his bat and everyone's had their say. It seems it should be over -- even though Montero didn't seem to see it that way.

"We'll see him next time," Montero said.

And sure enough, MLB will be watching then.

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Posted on: September 13, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: September 13, 2011 10:13 am
 

Pepper: More to the Mets' 9/11 hats story?



By Matt Snyder


One big storyline that emerged in baseball Sunday night was the Mets not being allowed to wear first responder (NYPD, FDNY, etc.) hats during the national telecast on ESPN. They did wear them in pre-game festivities -- as seen above on Ronny Paulino -- but not during the actual game, per MLB rule.

It turns out, according to a report from the New York Post Tuesday, there may be more than initially met the eye. Reportedly, commissioner Bud Selig called the Mets Sunday night and was "irate" that the team threw Major League Baseball under the proverbial bus.

"[Selig] got embarrassed by it," a Mets official said (New York Post). "The game got moved into prime time because of 9/11, and [MLB] ended up getting embarrassed."

The report also notes that Joe Torre -- who was named as the person who ordered the Mets to not wear the hats -- said there was a league-wide memo sent out but nothing specifically about the Mets, nor was the message anything "heavy-handed."

And then there's this (New York Post):
But another source said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon was "back and forth" with the commissioner's office on the matter until the proverbial 11th hour, when it was decided the Mets, on the hook for a $25 million loan from MLB, shouldn't risk the wrath of Selig.
So, if all this is true, the Mets basically forced their players to comply and let the commissioner's office take the blame in nefarious manner -- even though they didn't want to risk the wrath of Selig?

It's hard to know who to trust here. It seems like there's blame to be placed in both camps, but the bottom line is the players should have just been allowed to wear the special hats. It's a hat. Don't give me slippery slope on this. It's the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 in New York City. That's a special circumstance. Whether it's Wilpon, Selig, Torre or any combination of the three, someone dropped the ball.

"Moneyball" venom: There's a story in the LA Times about the "Moneyball" movie coming out and how polarizing it is. One telling quote is how, after winning the World Series last season, Giants executive Tony Siegle said "so much for Moneyball" in celebration. Later in the article, Siegle cops to having never read the book. And here's the crux of my criticism with those criticizing "Moneyball." The book wasn't saying A's general manager Billy Beane invented sabermetrics (he didn't) or that he was reinventing the wheel (he wasn't). It was just a story about a GM trying to find a creative way to compete with a less than competitive payroll. And he did for several years. It doesn't claim he invented on-base percentage or that he's a genius. It's a story. A good one. Maybe read the book before you complain about it. Nothing drives me more crazy than hearing something like "Moneyball doesn't work." Moneyball is a book -- and now a movie -- not a strategy.

More McCourt hate? Click here and check out the picture. Notice the MLB produced a poster talking about a special promotion where all the teams are giving money to Stand Up To Cancer. Also note the asterisk and specific mention the Dodgers aren't giving to the charity. The Sons of Steve Garvey notes that the Dodgers are giving proceeds to their own cancer charity (ThinkCure) and this could just be another way of Selig's office to sleight McCourt's administration.

More Rays' financial woes: It's no secret the Rays have money troubles, despite a stellar on-field product for the past handful of seasons. Payroll was cut after last season and several guys who had previously been key pieces were either traded or walked via free agency. Still, things are tighter than ever. " ... we’ve clearly fallen short on our financial projections," principle owner Stuart Sternburg said (TampaBay.com). "We have to make some projections but I could not have projected our attendance would be down what it was. I don't think anybody would have thought that either. ... Nothing positive happened financially this year. We were last (in attendance going into the weekend). I hadn't even realized that. I didn't forecast last."

Berkman's leverage: Outfielder Lance Berkman has enjoyed a career renaissance with the Cardinals this season and reports have indicated he wants to stay put. In fact, several reports from the St. Louis area said the Cardinals didn't trade Berkman when he cleared waivers in the last week of August because they feared that would prevent them from retaining him. So it seemed like a pretty sure thing he'd stay put. Not so fast, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss says it might not be a sure thing and that Berkman has leverage. Remember also, the Cardinals' payroll is going to be tight if they retain free-agent-to-be Albert Pujols.

'Man in White' travels to Minnesota? One of my favorite storylines of the season has been mocking those who really believe Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays are aided by a rogue sign stealer in Toronto. So, of course, since that story broke I make it a point to pass along whenever the Jays either don't hit well at home or explode on the road. And check this one out, courtesy of The Hardball Times: Bautista has seven career home runs in 34 plate appearances in Minnesota's Target Field. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Nick Punto and Tsuyoshi Nishioka have combined for 1,683 plate appearances in the Twins' new home. And they've combined for six home runs. Amazing. At his pace in that number of plate appearances, Bautista would hit 347 home runs.

Rangers staying in house: Some rumors have indicated the Rangers might be in on the Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder sweepstakes, but instead the Rangers are reportedly going to stick with Mitch Moreland at first base (MLB.com). It makes at least some sense. They'd be better served shoring up pitching -- All-Star starting pitcher C.J. Wilson is a free agent, too -- than worrying about beefing up an already potent offense. Plus, Moreland is only 26, really cheap and under team control for a while. If he further develops his power stroke (16 home runs and 21 doubles this year), he'll end up being a bargain.

No safety helmets for Philly: Despite second baseman Chase Utley suffering a concussion from being hit in the helmet by a pitch, the Phillies players are still declining to use a new, safer helmet model (Philly.com).

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com