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Girardi 7th Most Popular Mgr, Scully Making the Grade, Minaya Interview Inaccuracies, Citi Field Renovation



By Mike Silva ~ August 26th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

We have chatted quite a bit about Joe Girardi‘s management style this week. In a recent Sports Illustrated poll of the players, Girardi ranked as the 7th most popular manager to play for in baseball. This aligns with what I have heard, as the player perception of Girardi is far different than the media one. Of course, it’s easy to love a manager when things are good and they are winning. That hasn’t always been the case with Ozzie Guillen, but he continues to rank high on these type of polls.

Again, my issue isn’t discussing a lie vs. no lie with A.J. Burnett; it was how he reacted to being asked a difficult question.

Here is the Top 15 list:

1. Joe Maddon
2. Terry Francona
3. Jim Leyland, Tigers
4. Mike Scioscia, Angels
5. Dusty Baker, Reds
6. Ozzie Guillen, White Sox
7. Joe Girardi, Yankees
8. Tony La Russa, Cardinals
9. Ron Gardenhire, Twins
10. Bud Black, Padres
11. Charlie Manuel, Phillies
12. Ron Washington, Rangers
13. Jim Tracy, Rockies
14. Bruce Bochy, Giants
15. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

Why did Maddon win? It’s probably because he doesn’t make it about him. He even deflected praise from winning the poll by discussing how this is more indicative of the team. Three weeks ago, Rays Index wrote a piece about how the media perception of Maddon is the fans are not enamored with his performance. Cork Gaines had this to say:

Hey, Maddon’s style opens himself up for criticism. He sticks with struggling players longer than most would. He never saw a platoon he didn’t like. He walks people with the bases loaded and he probably would have sat Babe Ruth against a tough lefty.

He went on to say, however, that this is inaccurate and generally the fans like him despite some odd in game strategy.

Want to know why the players like Maddon? Take this blurb from the St. Petersburg Times this week:

Saturday, he started keeping the Rays’ clubhouse closed until 3 p.m. before night games instead of the usual noon and have players hang out there for hours.

“I want them to come later,” Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. “Have a life, take their wives or girlfriends out to lunch, mess with the kids, and then come here at a more decent hour and then play a game of baseball.

Looks like they don’t mind the unorthodox approach to the game, and his ability to connect with them on a personal level. The real test will be when things get rough. Will they still feel the same way? It sounds like they will. Will the players still love Girardi when things go bad? To be determined.

***

Interesting how Mattingly has become a player favorite in just one short year. One of the knocks on Donnie Baseball was that he didn’t spend extensive time managing at the minor league level (see Ryne Sandberg), and would experience a difficult transition with a big league club. That doesn’t appear to be the case, and he seems to have excelled in a terribly difficult position.

***

Speaking of the Dodgers, Vin Scully is the best announcer all-time, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the lunacy of life working for Frank McCourt.

Season ticket holders are being asked to evaluate Vin Scully’s performance. One emailed the L.A. Times to provide details. He was asked to grade Scully on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following eight areas: 1. Knowledge of baseball; 2. Knowledge of Dodgers organization; 3. Objectivity; 4. Accuracy of calls; 5. Storytelling ability; 6. Focus on the game; 7. Style; 8. Overall performance.

Looks like Scully is in no danger of losing his job, as the team told the L.A. Time the job is “his as long as he wants it.”

***

The inaccuracies spewed on the WFAN Morning Show with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton are so numerous you could do a site dedicated just to that. I was surprised, however, how bad it was yesterday when they had Omar Minaya in studio.

First, Carton decides to lead the show by saying the “David Wright era is over.” Why you ask? Because the Mets put him on waivers. Putting players on waivers happens all the time. Sometimes you do it to see who could be interested. Think of it like a poll.

Check out this childish blog post about the Wright situation over at WFAN’s website. There’s some hard hitting analysis by the Morning Show.

But this is what you do when you don’t have the requisite knowledge to fill 4 hours of sports talk effectively.

Carton then asked Minaya why he couldn’t acquire Jason Bay since the Red Sox gave up nothing (Manny Ramirez was in that deal). He also didn’t know the Mets tried to sign Alex Rodriguez in 2000. It was a silly question for Omar since he was the Assistant GM. Steve Phillips was running the team during that period of time.

The best was when Craig told Omar he doesn’t have to worry about talking about the Mets since he doesn’t work there anymore. Actually Craig, yes he does. Minaya is signed to a contract through the end of 2012. I am sure the same confidentiality agreement he discussed when firing Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson applies to him. A little research buddy.

If you are going to interview someone, and go back in time you have to be accurate. You have to study your topic so you can have a two-way dialogue. If Carton wants to be funny, fine, but how about doing some research? I know, the cool table at school doesn’t do homework, but Carton is getting paid a million plus dollars a year. He has to be deeper than just the class clown.

Funny how they brought up a funny clip of Omar that I shared with everyone this past Saturday when talking about the Fantasy Phenom contest.

Nah, no one at WFAN reads my site or pays attention to me.

***

It turns out Derek Jeter has broken up with Minka Kelly. I wonder what the time frame of the split.

Funny, I suggested that Jeter use to always do the right thing before he started dating Kelly. Then he was taking advantage of the fan that caught his 3,000th hit ball and skipping things like the All Star Game; out of character for Derek.

Jeter is hitting .349 with a .846 OPS since the All Star Break. I wonder if this is due to improved health, peace of mind post-3,000 hits, or getting rid of a distraction.

I will let that sit and you all can figure it out.

***

Lenny Dykstra story gets creepier all the time. Dykstra has been charged with indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself to women responding to his ads on Craigslist. The L.A. Times states that “Dykstra allegedly placed an ad on Craigslist requesting personal assistant or housekeeping services. The release said that when the women met Dykstra, he allegedly informed the women the job required them to give a massage, and allegedly exposed himself to them. ”

What else can I say about Lenny?

This corroborates reports of this type of behavior in the past.

I do wonder if he had his head on straight, what type of player he could have been. Maybe one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball.

This is what I wrote in a time capsule piece earlier in the year:

Dykstra was called up to the big leagues in 1985, and through his first two and a half seasons he was sixth in OBP (.359) amongst centerfielders in all of baseball. He was on base more thanKirby Puckett, Barry Bonds, and Willie McGee. After the ’86 postseason success things began to change. Dykstra appeared to swing for the fences more, leading to criticism from Davey Johnson. The former Mets skipper sounded exasperated in spring training of 1988, as Dykstra showed up to camp with an additional 20 pounds of muscle. ”What Lenny needs to do,” Johnson said, ”is to hit the ball on a line more, or on the ground, spray it around a little. He’d hit a lot higher if he’d do those things, and bunt.”

Injuries would plague Dykstra the rest of his career, eventually leading to his retirement in 1998. The steroids, running into walls, and who knows what off the field activities took its toll. So what kind of player could a healthy and clean Dykstra been? If he listened to Davey Johnson’s advice and focused on line drives rather than homers, would we have seen more seasons like 1990? I think that is a very fair assumption.

***

It was fun to watch Jorge Posada player second base yesterday. It was also fitting that he made the final play to end that 22-9 softball disaster at The Stadium.

Posada last played the position in 1991, while at the Yankees Low-A Oneonta affiliate. He made 20 errors in 64 games; the next season he would begin his career as a catcher. Posada even played 6 games at third, and two in the outfielder during his minor league career.

You can check out the final play, if you missed it, here.

***

Great proposal by Read The Apple, about possible changing the Citi Field RF Wall to look like this:

The fans like to speculate about whether the Mets should build the team around pitching, speed, and defense due to Citi Field. They also like to discuss whether changes to the park means its less likely they are going to keep Jose Reyes around. The park has nothing to do with Reyes coming back. They will sign him if the contract stays within a 5-6 year time frame at reasonable dollars (around $17-$20 million a year). If the bidding gets insane, then I think Reyes will be in another uniform, and they will have to consider Plan B.

The ballpark needs to play fair to the hitters. Right now that is not the case with the 415 RF gap and 16 foot left field wall. A small change like Read the Apple suggested, along with a lower left field fence should do the trick.

I agree with Matt Cerrone, who said it would be cool for fans to sit in a picnic area with the right fielder there. It’s almost as if you are part of the action.

Today, they added blue coloring to the walls (I like it), and showed how the left field fence could be lowered.

I will caution you, however, the wind patterns at Citi Field might not lend itself to the ball carrying. The ball didn’t carry at Shea until June. One of the reasons Citizens Bank Park is a launching pad is due to the ball carrying very well. That is an element that can’t be corrected by moving in the walls.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Girardi 7th Most Popular Mgr, Scully Making the Grade, Minaya Interview Inaccuracies, Citi Field Renovation

  1. Tom McDonough

    Read the above reference to Lenny Dykstra being even more creepy than usual, and I was hit with an epiphany. If Boomer decides not to re-sign with Fan, who better to co-host with Carton than Dykstra?
    Two self absorbed egomaniacal bullies with no original thoughts between them! Dykstra can at least plead drug use messed him up, Carton has to accept the fact that he is and always will be garbage.

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