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Tag:Alice Cooper
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:48 pm
 

Love Letter: The Jose Bautista edition

KANSAS CITY -- So in my season predictions coming out of spring training, I picked Toronto fourth and included this line: "Jose Bautista hits 54 home runs again, I'll key in 'Oh Canada' and wake to it each morning next winter on my iPod alarm clock." As if anybody is supposed to take these things to heart. Well, ahem. That was back in March. Two months later, this is what I get from my man Chris. ...

From: Chris

Hi Scott,

Re. your comment on Bautista just before the season started, I live in Canada and have some great renditions of 'Oh Canada' I could send you so you don't have to listen to the same one every morning this coming winter. Peace.

What if I pick Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup. Could we call it even then, Chris?

Likes: Buck Martinez, former catcher and Toronto's outstanding television man. ... Another former catcher, Gregg Zaun, broadcasting for the Blue Jays. Zaunie is one of the good ones. ... Another helping of Arthur Bryant's burnt ends today. ... The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, as I wrote about the other day. Make it a priority if you get to Kansas City. ... Planet Sub downtown here. Cool vibe, great sandwiches. The tuna fish with bacon was a winner the other day. ... The Zac Brown Band's Knee Deep, with special guest Jimmy Buffett. ... The Kansas City Star. Excellent newspaper. ... Fountains everywhere you look in downtown KC. It really is very cool. ... The fans in Kauffman Stadium singing along loudly to Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places in the middle of the sixth inning each night. Excellent.

Dislikes:
Aw, ran out of time in Kansas City and didn't get to tour the American Jazz Museum in the historic 18th and Vine District. Next time. And the All-Star Game is here next July. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"No more pencils
"No more books
"No more teacher's
"Dirty looks
"Well, we got no class
"And we got no principals
"We ain't got no innocence
"We can't even think of a word that rhymes"

-- Alice Cooper, School's Out


Posted on: June 14, 2009 10:07 pm
 

Nationals' Acta days appear numbered

Two springs ago, then-Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden looked me squarely in the eye during a conversation around the batting cage and uttered this declaration:

"Manny Acta one day will be a Hall of Fame manager."

He could not have been more earnest.

I did not write it because it was ludicrous on so many levels.

But with Acta pretty much reaching his expiration date as the Nationals' skipper, that statement is so apropos today in explaining a lot of things about how a Montreal Expos club turned into a disgrace by major-league baseball's stewardship has become an even bigger disgrace.

That Bowden could be so delusional to even say such a thing when the sample size of Acta's career was so miniscule (he had managed in the majors just one season at that point) helps explain many of the other decisions he passed off as sound during his time as GM.

That the Lerner family, owner of the Nationals, could allow a man with the gall to make such half-cocked assessments to remain in charge of running the show for four seasons helps explain why the Nationals currently are challenging the 1962 New York Mets for baseball ignominy.

Unless or until he gets another job, we'll never truly know how good -- or bad -- of a manager Acta is because evaluating his work with the mismatched cast of characters he was given to work with is impossible.

He was one of the hottest commodities on the managerial market when he was a third-base coach with the New York Mets. He was respected in the clubhouse. As a manager, he was always prepared. Surely, he's better than the ship that wound up taking him down.

But a Hall of Fame manager? Those were brazen words, even from Bowden. And, I thought, unfair to Acta. Here was a guy attempting to get his managerial feet on the ground with a club that was, at minimum, several years away from legitimately contending.

As things turned out, he had his hands full. He tried to leave his imprint, benching a Felipe Lopez here and a Ryan Church there when they didn't hustle. In each of the past two seasons, Acta ranked second among major-league managers in pinch-hitters used. But, as they say, you can't make chicken salad out of chicken ... .

The one thing that I thought did not reflect well on Acta was that his team often looked disinterested and arrogant. A coach with a major-league team asked me about it last year, then proceeded to rip the Nationals for the way they casually got on and off the field, often at little more than walking pace. This coach said it was one of the most unprofessional teams he had ever seen.

Acta probably could have ranted and raved more than he did, but given the cast of characters and reprobates he was handed, would it have mattered? I doubt it.

He did what he could with what little he had. In the end, he certainly did enough to warrant another crack at this managing gig.

I don't know that he's Hall of Fame material. But he's certainly better than a misguided organization made him look.

Likes: Excellent blog work from the Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger, who, in following up Shin-Soo Choo's winning hit off of a seagull last Thursday in Cleveland's Progressive Field, dropped a note to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Mellinger writes of the response from Dan Shannon, PETA's assistant director of youth outreach and campaigns: "PETA is just glad the bird is OK. Talk about having to take one for the team. But if Shin-Soo Choo wants to make amends, he could drop by his local animal shelter for a few hours to make it up to the animal kingdom." Quips Mellinger: "So, to review: Maximum sentence for bouncing a game-winning single off a seagull: 2 hours community service." ... Eric Arnett, Milwaukee's first-round pick out of Indiana University, was very impressive during the few minutes I saw him in the television booth on Sunday before he sets out for rookie ball in Montana. Very well-spoken and clean-cut young man. He was even wearing a tie.

Dislikes: Hate to see Toronto's Roy Halladay suffer a groin strain in the midst of a sensational start to 2009 (10-1, 2.52 ERA). Right now he's only expected to have his next start pushed back a few days. I hope that optimistic report is true and he avoids the disabled list. It's a crime that he's never started an All-Star Game. I know it's early but, right now, he deserves this year's start.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well, we got no class
"And we got no principals
"And we got no innocence
"We can't even think of a word that rhymes"

-- Alice Cooper, School's Out

Posted on: June 22, 2008 9:21 pm
 

Campaign's over for three managers

Guys get hired and guys get fired all the time.

You work with them, enjoy some more than others and roll with it.

When Toronto fired John Gibbons, I couldn't help but smile while recalling a small moment from two springs ago.

Somehow, a few years back, I acquired a button that read: "George W. Bush: The Best Reason Yet for Canadian Citizenship."

Figuring I had the perfect person to whom it would make a funny gift, I brought it with me to Florida a couple of years ago and gave it to my buddy Jeff Blair, who covers baseball for the Toronto Globe and Mail. You know -- he's smart, pays attention to what's going on in the world, has a sense of humor, lives in Canada.

He laughed when I gave it to him that morning at Blue Jays camp, then got a devilish twinkle in his eyes.

When the workout was finished and maybe 15 of us reporters met with Gibbons, Blair waited until the session was about to start when he made a big elaborate presentation of the button to Gibbons.

Told him, "Scott Miller wanted me to give you this present. ..."

Gibbons is a Texas native.

He's a hard-core Republican.

And there Blair was, selling me out, telling the skipper that I brought the button for him.

Gibbons took the button from Blair, read it and started laughing. I, of course, immediately accused Blair of being an ungracious recipient of a gift, telling Gibbons that it was not meant for him at all.

The way the entire thing played out was pretty funny all around, and Gibbons and I joked about it a handful of times over these two years since -- me asking if he's been wearing his button, and him saying an unprintable word or two through a big smile. He's a good man, and a good baseball man, and I'm sure we'll see him somewhere around the game after he's finished de-compressing.

Which I'm sure he needs right about now. But sorry, John ... I don't have any parting gifts for you.

****

Speaking of Blair, this is one terrific quote from Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios that appeared in his story the day Gibbons was fired: "I don't want to talk about what happened today. We can talk about other stuff. How about boats?"

****

As San Diego manager Bud Black was saying the other day after Gibbons (Blue Jays), John McLaren (Mariners) and Willie Randolph (Mets) all were fired last week, "As baseball people, you're hardened to that sort of thing. It doesn't make it any easier, but you realize these things happen.

"It goes back to your days as a player. You have friends who get traded or released, and you know these guys are doing everything they can to help the team win, exhausting everything in their power."

****

My job is to stay as plugged in as possible, and I work very hard at it, but I've gotta say: I had NO idea that Willie Randolph was fired by Mr. Met.

This clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart is the television equivalent of crushing a fastball down the middle.

****

I've always gravitated more toward the personalities in baseball than the numbers, but still, this is absolutely mind-boggling:

When the Lakers blew that 24 point lead in Game 4 of the NBA Finals earlier this month, it was officially only the biggest collapse in 37 years ... because no records of Finals games before 1971 are available.

Say what?

That is absolutely stunning.

That same week, when Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th homer, I wondered how many at-bats it took him to move from 500 to 600 compared with Barry Bonds. I e-mailed David Vincent, home run expert for the Society for American Baseball Research, and within 15 minutes -- literally -- I had an answer.

It took Griffey 1,012 more at-bats than Bonds.

But don't ask the NBA about anything pre-1971.

Likes: Summer heat. ... C.C. Sabathia with the bat. ... Detroit's Marcus Thames: Eight consecutive hits were home runs, then he doubled on Friday and then walloped another homer on Saturday. Making it nine homers in a 10-hit stretch. ... The Drive-By Truckers at the Belly-Up Tavern in Solana Beach, Calif., on Friday night. Rockin' good time.

Dislikes: Man, these are ugly days for Houston. I'm not talking about the Astros losing nine of their past 11 games. I'm talking about those mid-1970s rainbow uniforms they wore Saturday night in Tampa Bay.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well we got no choice
"All the girls and boys
"Makin' all that noise
"'Cause they found new toys
"Well we can't salute ya
"Can't find a flag
"If that don't suit ya
"That's a drag"

-- Alice Cooper, School's Out

 
 
 
 
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