Tag:Kid Rock
Posted on: August 13, 2010 1:56 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2010 8:57 pm
 

DiPoto, Gibson making names for selves in Arizona

The reconstruction of the Arizona Diamondbacks has a long way to go, but the club this month has begun to settle in enough that it's worth asking:

Have the D-backs shown enough under interim general manager Jerry DiPoto and interim field manager Kirk Gibson that those "interim" tags will be removed?

Quick answer: Probably still too early, but let's just say the jobs that both men are doing is not going unnoticed by key head honchos.

"They've done a tremendous job," Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall says. "They both have. I think Kirk Gibson has really changed the makeup and the environment around the team. They've really responded to him.

"I'm pulling publicly for both of these guys."

One thing Hall has certainly noticed: Entering the club's series opener in Washington on Friday night, the Diamondbacks had either won or tied their past four consecutive series. They won three of four games in Milwaukee this week, took two of three from first-place San Diego, split a four-game set with the Nationals and won two of three against the Mets dating back to July 30.

Since the trading deadline, right-hander Daniel Hudson, acquired from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade, is 2-0 and has allowed just three earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. Hudson was one of six pitchers obtained in trades by DiPoto -- including three from the Angels for Dan Haren -- since July 25.

"There will be some candidates we'll talk to, with Jerry obviously being at the top of the list," Hall says. "After that, we'll look at managers."

Understandably, Hall wants a permanent general manager in place before the field manager so the GM can choose someone he's comfortable with.

As for Hall?

"If at the end of the day I end up with Jerry DiPoto as general manager and Kirk Gibson as manager, I'd be happy," he says based on how things are going now. "I'm thrilled with the work I've seen so far from both of them."

Likes: Wow, Jose Guillen and Pat Burrell now swinging it for the Giants. With them and the outspoken Aubrey Huff, the San Francisco clubhouse will not be dull. ... This weekend's Giants-Padres series will be great fun. The Padres won the first seven games against Bruce Bochy's club this year, but this is a different Giants' team now. ... Fine, fine acting performance by Derek Jeter in The Other Guys. He's got one line and he delivers it with the gravitas of ... well, OK. So I exaggerate. But the movie's funny, the plot entertaining, Will Ferrell is back on his 'A' game and in the aftermath of the Jeter shooting, the cops even get a line in ripping A-Rod. Good stuff. ... Tyler Kepner's excellent piece in the New York Times on Ryne Sandberg managing at Triple-A Iowa while hoping for a chance to do it with the Cubs. ... How entertaining was it when the Kings of Leon had to abort their concert in St. Louis a few weeks back because pigeons kept crapping on them? ... Puget Sound and Ferndale, Wash. ... A weekend at home with baseball on XM radio and on television with the MLB Extra Innings package.

Dislikes: When Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez unleashes his inner punk, it is not a pretty picture.


Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It was 1989 my thoughts were short my hair was long
"Caught somewhere between a boy and man
"She was 17 and she was far from in-between
"It was summer-time in Northern Michigan
"Splashing through the sand-bar, talking by the camp fire
"It's the simple things in life like when and where
"We didn't have no internet but man I never will forget
"The way the moon light shined upon her hair"

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

Posted on: July 6, 2009 8:17 pm
 

Black, Padres talking extension

While Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro announced the other day that manager Eric Wedge definitely will be retained through the rest of this season (Wedge is signed through 2010), another manager is close to landing some security of his own.

San Diego and manager Bud Black, whose deal expires after the 2009 season, are having ongoing conversations about a contract extension, and the two sides are hoping to reach an agreement sometime this month. There are still significant details to be worked out, such as length of the extension and salary. But there is desire on both sides to get it done, leading to the current optimism that it will get done.

"They should," veteran outfielder Brian Giles said. "We've got a lot of young guys, and that comes with a lot of growing pains. I think he's done a good job with the team they've put together."

The economically downsizing Padres weren't expected to contend this season. But they've played far better than expected following last year's 101-loss disaster. And handed a roster far more versatile than last summer's slow-footed, non-athletic group, Black has been able to expand his managing chops.

"I've seen him grow as a manager," said Padres closer Heath Bell who, like Black, arrived in San Diego in 2007. "He's gotten a little better with strategy each year. I've seen him do a little more each year."

Bell especially complimented Black's style of privately asking veterans for input at times and keeping them apprised of what he's thinking. Padres management was especially impressed when the normally low-key Black blistered his team following a sloppy, 0-6 trip through Houston and Chicago in May.

Following that, the Padres responded with a season-high 10-game winning streak and won 12 of 15.

"I think it would be good for the organization," if Black is retained, Bell said. "I think it would be pretty positive."

Likes: Eric Wedge mostly is getting killed by Cleveland fans right now. But I will say this: Whether he eventually stays or goes, it is nice to see an organization (and by that, I mean general manager Mark Shapiro, especially) take some of the responsibility for what's gone wrong instead of simply blaming it all on the manager. Fans love to see skippers get the ax, and often it's warranted. But it's rarely that simple. ... Very classy move by the Chicago White Sox in dedicating a memorial at U.S. Cellular Field to the late, legendary baseball writer Jerome Holtzman. The case, in the lobby area of the park, even includes a cigar among the typewriter and assorted other artifacts from the career of Holtzman, who passed away a year ago this month. ... Netflix the two-disc DVD from the old Johnny Cash Show and, if you like music, you will not be disappointed. It's a greatest-hits sort of collection from Cash's old television show that ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and among the guests are the Creedence Clearwater Revival (you sure don't get a chance to see them perform every day), a very young Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong (he seems like he was a very sweet man), a very young James Taylor, Glen Campbell, Kris Kristofferson, Derek and the Dominos, Ray Charles and many, many more. Very enjoyable. And I didn't realize how eclectic that show was back in the day when it came to various musical styles.

Dislikes: Really, really bad news: Sean Penn is out of The Three Stooges movie. Awwww.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long
"Caught somewhere between a boy and man
"She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
"It was summertime in Northern Michigan
"Splashing through the sand bar
"Talking by the campfire
"It's the simple things in life, like when and where
"We didn't have no internet
"But man I never will forget
"The way the moonlight shined upon her hair"

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

 

Posted on: February 20, 2009 10:42 pm
 

Where have you gone, Dontrelle Willis?

LAKELAND, Fla. -- New spring, new start for Dontrelle Willis, the former Florida Marlins ace who has been covered in rust since landing in Detroit last season.

"Every year, I feel like I have to win a job," Willis says, referring to both his golden years in Florida and his current, slump-ridden stretch. "There's no different mentality."

There is a different vibe, however. The Willis who was selected as National League Rookie of the Year in 2003, named to two NL All-Star teams and once was one of the game's most dominant and effervescent pitchers, is gone.

In his place is an older (27) model who is attempting to keep his career from slipping away. Willis appeared in only eight games during his first season in Detroit in 2008, starting seven, and going 0-2 with a 9.38 ERA. Most baffling was his 35 walks against only 18 strikeouts in just 24 innings.

New Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp is watching a determined Willis who has tweaked his mechanics on the advice of the club's minor-league coaches who worked with Willis in the midst of his control problems last year.

"The stuff the guys in the minor leagues worked with him on really took," Knapp says.

While Willis' delivery remains unorthodox, his current version is simplified. He doesn't twist away from the plate quite as dramatically as he once did -- "he's not as violent with his head," Knapp says -- and his leg kick is a little more deliberate and not quite as high.

"He still has his personality," Knapp says, adding that he is relieved with that.

"As a teacher, sometimes the more you get in guys' heads where his mechanics are concerned, the more chance you have to lose him," Knapp says.

So Knapp is attempting to take it slow with Willis and sprinkle in timely suggestions.

So far, it's been a good first impression on Willis.

"He's explained a lot of things, like about us playing catch properly," Willis says. "Things I had never heard before about things that are like second nature to me."

The theory being, of course, is that if you play catch properly, the odds of developing bad habits lessen. Proper arm angle, proper footwork ... it all goes hand in hand, so to speak.

Willis, who has been one of the game's hardest workers since breaking into the majors in 2003, arrived in Lakeland on Jan. 2 to begin preparing for 2009.

"He had some goals in mind, delivery-oriented, that he wanted to achieve," Knapp says. "He's looked pretty good."

Next step: When the Grapefruit League season begins on Wednesday. Baby steps for now. Willis is no longer the sure thing he once was. But it's spring, and at this time of year, there's always hope.

------

All set for the Oscars on Sunday night? I think I'm the only guy in America who did not like Slumdog Millionaire. Bet it wins best picture anyway, but I thought it was extremely overrated.

Based purely on personal enjoyment -- not technical filmmaking, scripts or anything else -- here's how I see the five pictures up for Best Picture this year:

1. Frost/Nixon. Frank Langella is captivating as Nixon.

2. The Reader. Kate Winslet is so good.

3. Milk. Sean Penn should win Best Actor over Mickey Rourke. Rourke (The Wrestler) was really, really good. But part of it was, and this isn't to diminish Rourke, he was playing himself. Penn was acting the whole way. And while everyone is talking about Penn and Rourke, Langella deserves a big mention here.

4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Too long and not balanced enough. Too much time spent on Button as a young man in an old man's body, and not nearly enough on him as an old man in a young man's body. I thought the latter was when it really started to get interesting, and that only came in the final 45 or so minutes of a movie that lasted for nearly three hours.

5. Slumdog Millionaire. The uplifting ending? The Bollywood dance during the credits? Give me a break.

Likes: Toronto center fielder Travis Snider, one good-looking rookie prospect. ... That the media relations director of the Toronto Blue Jays is named Jay. Jay Stenhouse. How perfect is that? But I am glad that Detroit doesn't have a media relations director named Tiger. Tiger Britten instead of Brian? Nah. ... Pitchers throwing live batting practice. After the first couple days of spring, camps begin to get a little boring. Then, when the position players begin to arrive, the pitchers begin to throw to them, and that really puts some juice in camp. Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera batted against Justin Verlander the other day -- I wasn't in Lakeland then, but I would have loved to have seen that one. ... The large dinosaur statues off of Interstate 4 next to the billboard that reads, "You're leaving Dinosaur World." Kitschy. ... Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen on West Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. ... The Huevos a la Mexicana at Tapatio's in Lakeland.

Dislikes: You mean that steroid Alex Rodriguez said his cousin got over-the-counter in the Dominican Republic wasn't available by prescription, even in the D.R.? Shocking.

Sunblock Day: Cold. I mean, like 40-some degrees cold at 7 this morning. Nice, bright sun, and I know some Tigers-related folks spoke with family back home in Michigan and it was only 15 or so and snowing. That quieted the weather-related complaining in Florida very quickly.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long
"Caught somewhere between a boy and man
"She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
"It was summertime in Northern Michigan"

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

Posted on: August 13, 2008 11:52 pm
 

Carl Crawford: See you in October?

No need to wait until season's end. We've already got a winner in the Most Unfair Moment of the Season.

It'll happen Thursday, when Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford undergoes hand surgery that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season.

How about that one?

Guy plays his guts out year after year for teams that, if they weren't going to lose 100 games, they sure were going to give it a try.

He's a two-time All-Star, a four-time AL stolen base champion, an all-around good guy.

And now, just when things are finally starting to get good in Tampa Bay, Crawford must leave?

You know what I think of when I think of Crawford? This spring, making the rounds from camp to camp, I was talking with the Angels' Torii Hunter when the subject turned to players who are pleasures to watch.

"Know who I really like to watch?" Hunter asked.

"Who?"

"Carl Crawford, because he plays all-out all the time."

"Do you know him pretty well?"

The answer came back quickly: No. Not at all.

That really registered. To me, that's one of the highest compliments a guy could ever offer. Many players around the league will say good things about their friends.

But for a player to volunteer how much he enjoys watching another guy play … and he doesn't even know that guy? That's as pure as it gets.

I don't know whether the Rays will hang onto their AL East lead, but I do know this: These next three or so weeks are as crucial as any three-week stretch in franchise history.

Because not only is Crawford out, but the Rays have placed rookie smash Evan Longoria on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his wrist.

The Rays think Longoria can return to the lineup by Sept. 1 -- thus, my three-week assessment. But if Longoria is out longer, the Rays' task only gets more difficult.

As Rays manager Joe Maddon said earlier this year, "We're not just trying to be a member of the standings. We're trying to be at the top."

For Crawford's sake, after the season they've put together, the Rays deserve to be there. That way, Crawford can re-join them for some October fun.

Likes: Six weeks left, and five of the six divisions remain up for grabs (I'm taking a wild leap here and awarding the AL West to the Angels). It's dizzying attempting to keep up with who's in first in the AL Central. Minnesota and the White Sox have traded places for five consecutive days. … San Diego reliever Heath Bell's T-shirt: "I'm in Shape … Round is a Shape." … Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, ejected again during Wednesday's doubleheader with the Cubs. … Milwaukee's starting pitching. CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets back-to-back in the rotation? The Brewers get to the playoffs, it's not going to be any fun for opposing hitters in a short series. … My new laptop. The old one was so virus-ridden after five years it was like trying to run through quicksand. It's been forever since I've updated Bull Pennings, partly because I took a week off following the All-Star Game and partly because the old computer had become nearly unworkable. … Kid Rock's All Summer Long. Never thought I'd be saying this about Kid Rock, but what a great, great tune.

Dislikes: Foreclosures and gas prices dominating the newspapers each morning.

Rock-N-Roll Lyric of the Day:


"Splashing through the sand bar
"Talking by the campfire
"It's the simple things in life, like when and where
"We didn't have no internet
"But man I never will forget
"The way the moonlight shined upon her hair

-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long

 
 
 
 
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