October 04, 2012

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 15 comments

A's reliever Pat Neshek lost a newborn yesterday, 23 hours after the child was born.

posted by rcade at 08:54 AM on October 04, 2012

There are no words.

posted by tommybiden at 09:59 AM on October 04, 2012

Don't touch Adrian Beltre's head.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:17 AM on October 04, 2012

In new that will surprise no one, the Boston Red Sox have fired Bobby Valentine.

That didn't take long.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:30 PM on October 04, 2012

Good thing they got rid of that bum Francona, right? What a joke.

posted by feloniousmonk at 01:38 PM on October 04, 2012

That's horrible for Pat Neshek and his family; to go from celebrating the birth of your child and your team making an improbable division win on the last day of the season, to that kind of grief? Tommy is write, there aren't any words.

posted by hincandenza at 02:04 PM on October 04, 2012

I remember hearing about the Beltre head rub thing, but didn't realize he got so swingy; his overreaction is why they kept doing it, but man what if he'd turned around and punched someone in the eye accidentally? Then again, he already did damage that Red Sox season sending 2 people on the DL after colliding with them in the outfield on a popup.

I don't get why the Sox fired Valentine today; why not after the playoffs (doesn't Bud hate these kinds of personnel moves as distractions from the big events?), or better, why not in August when everyone and their uncle knew he wasn't coming back (although diehard Sox fans feared the worst)? Valentine seemed to actively want to hurt the team in September, and continued to be a buffoon with the press. Along with all his other failures, he certainly wasn't a good manager for just trying out the young talent and helping the team evaluate who would be making up the roster in 2013.

posted by hincandenza at 02:09 PM on October 04, 2012

I don't get why the Sox fired Valentine today; why not after the playoffs

I think it's a Band-Aid pull: better to get it over with quickly than suffer a drawn-out discussion of the obvious. I can't really see a benefit to firing him in August if your plan was to play minor leaguers and tank for a draft pick. Even if that wasn't the plan, there's no real upside to bringing in a different lame duck to finish that last month.

posted by yerfatma at 02:24 PM on October 04, 2012

I'm surprised they waited until today and didn't do it after the ninth inning last night.

posted by dyams at 03:39 PM on October 04, 2012

I'm surprised they waited until today

Just heard on the local radio station strong speculation that the Sox are after Toronto's manager ... after all, the Jays have been hugely successful during his tenure.

Some wiser organization is going to hire Francona and overachieve into the post season next year.

posted by cixelsyd at 04:20 PM on October 04, 2012

Toronto's manager is John Farrell. He left Boston for Toronto not long ago and was one of the front runners for the job before they gave it to Valentine. It's not as random as it might seem.

posted by feloniousmonk at 04:26 PM on October 04, 2012

I'm surprised they waited until today and didn't do it after the ninth inning last night.

The front office at least had the courtesy to fire him in person rather than by telephone. The team was in New York, and Valentine returned to Boston after last night's game (if that's what you want to call it) to meet with the front office this morning. I will bet the decision was made a long time ago, but rather than go through an interim manager with all of the speculation that might bring, they let Bobby V complete his tying of the noose on the rope.

I'm not so sure that John Farrell is the right choice as manager for Boston. He's not had a great deal of success in Toronto, although injuries have played a role there. If it is to be Farrell, he will need a very strong bench coach to handle the position players while he devotes the bulk of his attention to the pitchers. In other words, Farrell is a superb pitching coach, but is suspect as a manager. I would opt for Arnie Beyeler, the manager of the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox. The next couple of years appear to be a rebuilding effort featuring younger players from the farm system. Beyeler has managed many of them at one time or another, and as long as he shows some measure of competence and doesn't try to dominate the dugout, the veterans will play for him. It worked in 1967 when Dick Williams moved up from the Red Sox AAA farm team, so why not now?

posted by Howard_T at 04:42 PM on October 04, 2012

It's too bad they burned their bridges with Francona because if this last year has shown anything, it's that they never should have let him go. I assume Francona is at or near the very top of every team's list who'd be looking for a manager, so his year of not working and being an occasional MLB commentator must have been him simply not wanting to jump right back into managing.

I think the manager situation in Boston is far less important now that a lot of egos have left. Francona's gift- and the one Valentine was supposed to bring, but was an absolute disaster at- is similar to what made Phil Jackson so good: managing egos. With the fire sale this summer, for at least a season or two Boston will need a guy who can develop young talent, and I think the players who remain (Pedroia and Ortiz among them, and Ellsbury who'll have contract year impetus to be healthy, productive, and cooperative) won't be disruptive or difficult.

On preview: Howard also points out that yeah, Farrell's skill is as a pitching coach, and the Sox have sorely missed him being around. Looking at how their once-solid pitching staff became an abysmal joke of inconsistency and injury, it's hard not to see a correlation. But as a team manager? There's no good reason for him over anyone else, if he even wanted to manage here.

posted by hincandenza at 04:50 PM on October 04, 2012

Thoughts are with the Neshek family. I can't imagine what they're going through right now.

posted by evixir at 04:06 PM on October 06, 2012

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.