Friday, May 14, 2010

Hillman's Post-Mortem.


When I wrote my last article, I had no expectation that Trey Hillman would actually be fired before my next post. Feel free to insert your own joke about the frequency of my postings if you want, but this move happened faster than even the most optimistic Royals fan could have expected.

In retrospect, it’s pretty clear that the straw that broke Hillman’s back came on Sunday, just hours after my last article posted, when Josh Hamilton failed to tag up from first base on a routine fly ball…and the entire team missed it. No one on the team was even aware that they missed a chance to call Hamilton out on appeal until after the game was over. Instead, the Rangers scored two more runs in the inning. They won the game by two runs. You do the math – I have no doubt that David Glass did.

It’s easy to say that the decision to fire Hillman came from ownership. It’s easy because it’s probably accurate. Sam Mellinger writes that much to his own surprise, this decision came entirely from Dayton Moore. I have no doubt that Mellinger’s intel is solid, but I think that the mechanics of a move this big are too complicated to be a simple either-or proposition. The ultimate decision rested in Moore’s hands, but the idea that Moore made the decision to fire Hillman entirely on his own – barely 48 hours after he said “He’s exactly what our organization needs at this point in time” – is frankly far more worrisome than the idea that ownership imposed this decision on him.

It’s no secret that Moore was close with Hillman on a personal as well as a professional level, and if there was any doubt, Moore removed them when he broke down briefly at the start of his press conference. As he said, this was the most difficult decision he has made in his career. Credit to him for making it, then, but credit also to ownership for forcing some accountability here.

As a rule, meddling from ownership is never a good thing. But if there’s an exception, this would be it. It’s not clear if Moore was going to let his personal relationship with Hillman cloud his judgment, but if David Glass stepped in and helped make the decision for him, he not only saved Moore from himself, he might have saved Hillman from having his reputation further damaged.

I speak from experience: eight years ago this month, the general manager of the Royals finally fired his long-time manager, a manager that he had grown so fond of that he could not bring himself to let him go until well after it was clear that a change needed to be made. The general manager was Allard Baird, and his manager was Tony Muser. In 2001, Muser’s fourth full season as manager, the Royals lost 97 games, tying a team record for losses set…under Muser’s watch two years earlier. Rob and I were calling for Muser’s head all season, and we weren’t the only ones. Instead, Baird’s big move that season was to trade Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez.

Muser came back in 2002 as a dead man walking, even if he and his GM didn’t realize it. The Royals started 8-15, and late in the night on May 1st in Detroit, Muser learned he was fired – from a member of the media, as the news leaked before Baird could tell him himself. Baird let his friend down that night, but really, he let his friend down much more by not cutting the cord with him a year earlier, when Muser’s reputation might have been salvageable. Afterwards, I wrote this piece for Baseball Prospectus. Eight years later, Muser has yet to get a second chance as a manager in the major leagues.

Muser’s successor, Tony Pena, resigned in the middle of the night in Toronto, choosing to abandon his ballclub rather than come back to Kansas City and possibly testify in a divorce case in which he had been implicated. Pena’s successor, Buddy Bell, announced he would be “retiring” at the end of the 2007 season, ostensibly to take a position with the Royals that would require less travel. Approximately 18 minutes after the season, Bell announced that he was 1) hired by the White Sox 2) as their Director of Minor League Instruction, a position which requires a tremendous amount of travel. It wasn’t hard to read between the lines.

By the standards of recent Royals history, then, the timeline for the firing of Hillman was nice and clean. In his third full season, the Royals were not only not getting better, they were getting worse. That’s a pretty good rule-of-thumb to fire a manager with no previous record of success. Maybe it’s a brutal standard to uphold, but it’s a fair one.

In the aftermath of his firing, there’s a rather spirited debate going on about what Hillman did wrong. Joe Posnanski makes the case here that Hillman lost the respect of the players early, and never gained it back. I think he has a very valid point; this isn’t the first time someone has compared Hillman to Vern Rapp, and after the Hillman experience, I think it should be a hard-and-fast rule in baseball: NEVER hire a manager who hasn’t spent time IN SOME CAPACITY with a major league baseball team. I don’t care if he’s managed, played, coached, served as a trainer, batboy, whatever. The culture of a major league clubhouse is unique, and no amount of managing in the minors or in Japan can substitute for it.

But ultimately I don’t think that Hillman’s time in Kansas City would have been much longer or more successful even if he had spent a year coaching in the majors first. To Hillman’s credit, he seemed to correct a lot of the mistakes he made in his first season, when he almost lost the clubhouse in September. The price of fixing those mistakes may have been substantial; I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jose Guillen has played almost every day this season, even as his production has cratered, or that Gil Meche seemed to have final say over when he came out of the ballgame. But I think that Hillman’s biggest mistake with the Royals is far more fundamental. I think his mistake was in accepting the job in the first place.

No matter how impressive a manager might be when it comes to things that don’t show up in the standings, he’s going to lose his job if the things that do show up in the standings – wins and losses – don’t show progress after 2 or 3 seasons. And given the overall state of the Royals’ organization after the 2007 season, when Hillman was hired, he was facing an uphill battle to keep his job from day one.

He inherited a team that had lost 93 games, that had started Ross Gload at first base, and for whom Odalis Perez was the #3 starter. More than that, he inherited a team that after the season was ranked by Baseball America as having the #24 farm system in baseball. A small-market team with no talent on the field or in the minor leagues: this was close to mission impossible. The job wasn’t made any easier by his general manager’s decision to focus on high school talent in his first two drafts. I’m not faulting Moore for that decision at all; it may in fact prove to be the right move in the long run. But Hillman didn’t have a long run. He had to know that his GM wasn’t doing him any favors by drafting guys who wouldn’t be ready to help the team until well into the future – a future that Hillman might not have.

Or to put it another way, as recently as this spring training many Royals fans – myself included – lamented the Royals’ decision to draft Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer over Matt Wieters and Gordon Beckham. It’s now a lot less clear whether the Royals made the wrong decision. But having Wieters and Beckham might have made Hillman a more successful manager in 2010, even if they didn’t make him a better manager. Ultimately a manager is only as good as his players, and the Royals still don’t have the horses.

I think I made this case to a friend back when Hillman was hired: I’d hate to be Hillman, but I’d love to be the guy who replaces Hillman. By 2010 or 2011, my thinking went, the organization ought to have a lot more talent in place, making it possible for the Royals to be a contender by 2012 or 2013. Hillman just chose the wrong window of time to be the manager for the Kansas City Royals. He’s now paying the price for it.

That’s not to absolve him of his failings or to argue that his firing was unjustified. He earned this decision. But it’s only fair to point out that he was dealt a losing hand from day one.

The most important consequence of this move is that it places the progress of the team squarely on the shoulders of Moore, as they should be. Losing franchises have a natural sort of progression. After a team underachieves for long enough, the general manager fires the manager; if the underachievement continues for a few more years, then the owner fires the general manager. The new general manager then gets to fire the manager he inherits at a time of his choosing, and then the cycle repeats itself.

The Royals just finished the first stage. Moore inherited Buddy Bell, and was not beholden to him at all, so letting Bell go after the 2007 season was a free move. But Hillman was his guy, and by nudging Moore to fire him, Glass also sends a very strong message that the next time the pressure builds to axe someone in the front office, it probably won’t be the manager who gets scapegoated.

This is a good thing, and I say that even though I am not one of the chorus of Royals fans calling for Moore to get fired right now. While Moore has made some egregious errors in constructing this roster, it simply can not be stressed enough: the reason why the Royals suck year after year isn’t because they sign guys like Kyle Farnsworth and trade for guys like Yuniesky Betancourt. The reason the Royals are on schedule for their 15th losing record in the last 16 years is because they have done a terrible job of scouting and developing talent for a long, long time.

It’s too early to say whether Moore has fixed that fundamental weakness. But it’s not too early to say that the early results are promising. I hope to get to the minor leagues soon – I intended to spend today writing about them before Hillman was fired – but even casual Royals fans have heard about the exploits of Moustakas, Hosmer, Michael Montgomery et al. this season.

Hillman leaves behind a team that is not only not good, it’s not young. Incredibly, Billy Butler was the only player on the entire roster who was under the age of 26. That’s not a reflection on Hillman, but on the man who handed him this team. The good news is that while the success of the team may not change quickly, the complexion of the team just might. Mike Aviles isn’t young, but he represented an immediate upgrade to the lineup; pretty soon we may say the same about Kila Ka’aihue. Blake Wood, called up the other day, is 24. By this time next year, no less than three lineup spots and two spots in the rotation – and, if we’re lucky, the better part of the entire bullpen – might be turned over to young talent.

At that point or soon thereafter, it will be fair to judge Dayton Moore. If those players live up to their hype, then whoever succeeds Hillman as manager next year – whether it’s Ned Yost or (hopefully) someone else – will get the credit. And if they don’t, Moore will take the blame, and Royals fans will get their scalp.


I hope to be back soon with a full analysis of Ned Yost. In the meantime, from the self-promotion department:

- For those of you who would like to listen to the radio show after the fact (and the timing of Hillman’s firing couldn’t have been better, as we went on the air less than 2 hours later), click here to download the podcast. Scroll down to “Additional Programming”.

- My original hometown paper, the Wichita Eagle, ran a profile of me in Sunday’s edition here.

- Going further back, prior to the season I did my patriotic duty as an American by agreeing to be interviewed by here. Pay no mind to my prediction that the Atlanta Braves would win the World Series - that quote clearly must have come from Dayton Moore.


Anonymous said...

Your rule on only hiring managers who have major league experience would disqualify Earl Weaver. Weaver came up through the Orioles system, knew the players and had proven himself in the minor leagues, both as a manager and developer of ball players. More importantly, Earl never doubted his abilities to manage the big league club. I like the idea of requiring major league experience, but think there needs to be an exception for someone like Earl Weaver.

gbewing said...

Hillman experience or no experience was a bad MLB manager. I'm sorry a ML manager has to understand platoon differential and have some concept in 2010 of bullpen management and modern day pitching. Sabermetrics has to be higher than astrology on the learning tree. You don't have to be a slave to sabermetrics but you have to understand basic concepts. In 2010 a ML manager cannot bunt with the #3 hitter with 2 men on in the 1rst inning-it simply can't be allowed to happen. Ray Oyler is retired right?
The fact that Dave Owens was fired today shows how weak the organization is as well, this could have been addressed weeks ago but Dave is a friend of Trey's so team be damned. He was terrible and I don't feel sorry for him.

Sam Mellinger's take is another issue. You won't say it, I will it's fiction, it's just another KC Star soft oped on the Royals, that relationship is too cozy. Mellinger would benefit from putting more teeth into his columns- he tried to sell us on Jose Guillens near death experience now this- gimme a break KC Star. Is everything in Kansas City settling for mediocrity as a bench mark?

Randy said...

I thought Dayton's comments were actually one of the more damning votes of confidence I'd seen.

I thought, like you, Trey probably had through June. After reading Moore's comments, I realized Trey was on the hot seat. You just had to read him carefully; being in academia, I always have to read between the lines.

“Trey is a tremendous leader,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “somebody who is very consistent with who he is day in and day out. He’s exactly what our organization needs at this point in time.”
First--he is who he is? That's not something you say about someone you believe in. Saying someone is consistent is not a compliment when they are under fire unless the criticism is that they are inconsistent. You're working to find a compliment.

Second, at this point in time? He's either the guy, or he isn't. Sunday vs. Tuesday shouldn't matter...unless that qualifier is there to cover your rear if you decide he's not the guy at a different point in time.

“It’s not a question of effort or passion from our coaching staff.

Note the absence of the words "talent", "knowledge", "skill", "acumen", etc. You compliment work ethic in people without the requisite skill.

“I believe in our baseball team,” he said. “I believe in the talent that we have here.”

Well, if you believe in the talent, you believe in yourself. If you believe in the team and yourself, but your record sucks, who else do you blame?

Anonymous said...

I was at the game tonight. First key move by Yost. Dave Owen out as 3rd base coach. Eddie Rodriguez in with Rusty Kuntz back at first.

Anonymous said...

I read the piece. They forgot to mention that the Royals did replace the pitching staff. Technically by retirement, but still...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, correction to above post. I meant training staff not pitching staff.

Anonymous said...

GB, I disagree with your take on Mellinger and the Star entirely. I have no insight whatsoever into who made the final call. Mellinger and Posnanski in particular always give a fair hearing to the club, the GM, the player. They write balanced stuff, and don't get overly emotional. And so when you get these guys writing articles like "Hillman is failing" then that packs a whallop far greater than any screed Whitlock shot across Peterson's bow. Whitlock spent a decade trying to get rid of Peterson; when Joe and Sam wrote their pieces, the hammer fell quickly.

Mainly, I don't care. I enjoy the work of all three of them. I do think asking them to put more teeth into their writing is asking them not to be themselves, and their work would suffer for it. KC easily has the best sports writers of any small market team in the country.

Sandpuppy said...

After the Texas series, I was getting the feeling the hook was coming fairly quick, and after the first game against Cleveland, I knew it was coming within the week if Glass was indeed paying attention. You could just see the apathy in everyone's face that night and it was apparent things were about to go toxic. I'm pretty sure Hillman got himself thrown out arguing the SB call just to escape the field.

As for the Mellinger article, my read on it was that while Glass may not have technically said it directly, he made it clear in no uncertain terms what he wanted done.

Unknown said...

It seems to me that the idea of "lighting a fire under Dayton" so to speak with this firing can be a bit of a double-edged sword. I suppose it could cause him to make better decisions, but I'm not at all confident in his ability to do that. Is he NOW going to turn to sabermetrics.

Or, it can lead to bad outcomes, like sacrificing long-term goals for short-term, Bavasi-style, in order to try to save his job.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Also, I'm very interested to read your prospect round-up. A few things.

1) Since his hot start, Robinson is slumping badly. Was it all a pipe dream?

2) Bad starts by Crow and Melville. They're both getting shelled. When should we be seriously worried? Plus Dwyer and Sample have shown no progress. I know Montgomery has been dominant, but other than that it's pretty much just Lamb.

3) At what point do we become concerned about Hosmer's lack of power? Just 1 HR so far. Little low for the "best power bat in 20 years" or whatever the team was saying.

Ron said...

The idea that Moustakas and Hosmer are going to lead the Royals to the playoffs is ridiculous. The current fixation on the "talent" in the minor leagues is just whistling past the grave yard. The chances that all of the hot prospects in the minor leagues will come up as the same time and lead the Royals to the playoffs is about 1,000 to 1. They aren't going to be that good that fast. The Royals should quit babying players and waiting until they're absolutely 100 percent "ready" for the majors before letting them come up. There is going to be growing pains and adjustments to be made in the majors no matter how ready they are.

Moore and Hillman make putting together a big league team sound like rocket science. Isn't it scary to think that all of these people claim to put in 20 hours a day/365 days a year to construct a big league team and the result is what we see on the field? There's no way they can be working as hard as they claim to be and getting the results they're getting.

30 years ago, most people had very little idea who was in the minor leagues. When George Brett was called up, no one had ever heard of him. When Willie Wilson was called up, no one had ever heard of him. Same with almost all the Royals home-grown talent. It's just as likely the Royals will make the playoffs through shrewd trades (Patek, Mayberry, Amos Otis, Liebrandt, Gura, et al) as it is through the farm system. It should not take 10 years to build a contending team. That's silly. Americans in general and baseball fans in particular aren't that patient, and shouldn't be. Moore has had plenty of time to put a winning team on the field. Cedric Tallis did it in 2-3 years in the 1970s. Joe Burke did it in the 1980s. It can be done, but not by sitting around and waiting for a bunch of minor leaguers to come up. Odds are 3/4 of them will not live up to the press clippings (i.e. Clint Hurdle and Alex Gordon and a bunch of others). Good trades for major-league ready talent and young players already on other teams who are blocked from getting a starting position is a faster and more dependable way of building a team.

Dana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fast Eddie said...

Hey Royals fans, here's some OPS figures for this season, for comparison purposes:

Buck .917
Olivo .907
Kendall .700
Pena .077

Nick Cola said...

Those guys just needed to get the Royals stink off them. Amazing what a losing culture does to players mindsets.

I heard last week that Jim Riggleman has the Nationals players working on fundamentals every day. PFP's one day, had all the OF's making throws from deep RF another day, players taking infield, etc. His reasoning was that since they have been the worst team in baseball the last few years, what can they argue about? They needed to do something to change the routine and give the players more confidence. What do ya know, look who is above .500 at this point in the year and playing good ball.

Anonymous said...

The Nationals are a .500 team that's playing a little over their heads. The best thing Riggleman has done is get Adam Dunn and his putrid glove out of the outfield, and put him at first, where he's actually been reasonably competent. He's going to save that team 20 runs just by doing that.

ccsmc9: Hosmer has 16 extra-base hits among his 49 so far this season, and he's got a .473 OBP. And he's 20. With a little more development, some of those doubles are probably going to turn into homers. And even if they don't, he might still turn into Wade Boggs. And God knows the Royals could use a Wade Boggs.

pjbronco said...

The Earl Weaver comparison is about 40 years out of date. Players don't listen to guys with no experience or authority to bring to the clubhouse. Just my take.

Jayboid said...

I agree with Ron, 20 hours per day, 7 days a week, one begins to ramble like Floyd the barber of Andy of Mayberry fame. Ohhh yeesss Dayton Mike Jacobs, ohhhhhh yesssss ahhhhhhhh I see gooood things Dayton. Maybe some sleep would help. For instance........

Not a word or whisper about what seems to be obvious by our nocturnal sleep deprived experts .

Perhaps a dumb idea, but why not bring Gordon back, and send Bloomie (spork) packing. We have 3 players to man second, two for SS, nobody for third with “slug” heheheheh a little Treyism, and EL Spud and Spork backing up the outfield.

Good grief a below expectation Gordon trumps a Spork anytime. Gordon can steal a base too. Not betting the Spork suddenly sees the light and starts looking like Brett, but it's far far far too early to give up on Gordy.

“Rick Ankle” coming back..........ummmmmm yeesss Andy uuummmmm aaaaahhhh ohhh he's a good one Andy yeeeeeeeeeessssahhhaaaahhhhh.

Chris Berry & Scott Hammond said...

One down, 9 to go:
1. Fire Hillman Check
2. Release Guillen- nobody wants him. Just dump him and wash your hands with the 8 mil that we owe him. Lesson learned- don't give a guy w/ a horrible track record a 3 year deal.
3. Leave Gordon in Omaha to learn to play OF and have him start in OF in 2011.
4. Play Kila at 1b or DH every day, the rest of the season to see what you got.
5. I would play Mitch every day at center and rotate DDJ/Pods/Ankiel on the corners. See who you want to keep for next year. (1 of 3, and my vote would be DDJ)
6. Play B Pena 2x a week.
7. Make Soria a starter. Stretch him out starting now. Have him start next year. Tejada can be your closer.
8. Limit Meche to 100 pitches. Remember- we still owe him 12 for next year and 8 for the rest of this year.
9. Tell Zack to put the curveball away.
10. Only pitch Banny on day games. Perhaps he could throw every sunday. Not sure how it would work. Perhaps since they work 20 hours a day, the Royals could figure it out.

Grunthos said...

"While Moore has made some egregious errors in constructing this roster, it simply can not be stressed enough: the reason why the Royals suck year after year isn’t because they sign guys like Kyle Farnsworth and trade for guys like Yuniesky Betancourt. The reason the Royals are on schedule for their 15th losing record in the last 16 years is because they have done a terrible job of scouting and developing talent for a long, long time."

This is too easy on Dayton Moore. Having a good development system is (exception: NYY) a necessary component for success; but it is not sufficient. The GM also needs to be able to assemble complementary talent into a reasonably cohesive, synergistic team. If he sucks at evaluating existing ML talent, making trades, and picking up useful FA parts, then the development system isn't going to do jack for your ballclub. And Dayton has pretty much conclusively proven that he is not competent at any of those things.

I don't foresee win totals starting with an "8" in KC until he's removed.

John said...

Rany- I heard you have a real scouting report on Yuni. Any chance you could publish this on your next blog?

Anonymous said...

Did last night's decision to leave Hochevar in about three batters too long echo the Hillman philosophy that imploded with Meche the other night ... Much lower pitch count I know, but he clearly was finished after teahen or at least castro.

Anonymous said...

Blake Wood is the savior! From this point on, the season turns around.

Kansas City said...

I'm afraid the relative small number of comments her means the Royals have lost more fans.

Plus, Yost is talking like a moron about Soria, describing saves a something for the closer to get, instead of a byproduct of winning games:

“I don’t like to see a closer come in, have to get an out, go sit down and then have to go back out and get three more outs.”

“Closers are a very special breed,” Yost said. “Their focus is to get the last three outs. In a lot of other pitchers’ minds, those last three outs are horrifying. Why? I don’t know.

“What makes good closers good closers is they’re not afraid to come in and get those last three outs no matter what the situation is. I think closers are better built for that.

“It doesn’t mean I won’t use Soria for four outs. In a crucial game or situation, I will. But I want to try to stay away from that as much as I possibly can.”

“I like my closers to get every save that they can get,” Yost said. “Common sense rules on that, too, but my experience has always been, as a closer, it’s either raining or it’s a drought. You’re either getting a lot of save opportunities or you’re not getting any.

“They have to make hay while the sun shines and rack up their saves while they can. Four or five days in a row? I might push it four depending on how Soria feels. Five, I’m going to have to sit back and think about it.”

Read more:

gsmith601 said...

Could not disagree more with Ron. The last thing the Royals need to do is promote our minor leaguers too soon to learn at the MLB level. Gordon was rushed up (skipped triple AAA) and has paid the price. Butler was rushed up and had to get sent back down. Our guys should excel for a time at all levels before being promoted. Set them up for success not failure. Plus you waist the MLB service time by rushing them, I'd rather have them spend their peak years in our system at a reasonable price than with someone else or at a higher price for us.


John McGraw said...

It has been said that Mgrs. really only influence the outcome of 10-20games a year, i.e. through strategy and in-game-decision-making; Of course filling out a lineup card with Kubek,Richardson, Maris,and Mantle probably wins a fair share of games.

Playing, and resting players, at least a rudimentary understanding of sabermetrics, or just knowing players splits and/or anomolies (a lefty who inexplicably owns a lefty reliever from another club)These moves, choices and decisions do affect games.

It has been speculated that Stengel platooned so much because he didn't want the players to rack up numbers that they could in turn use to get bigger contracts (It was another era, and players didn't even have agents, Mickey Mantle famously was given a pay cut after the '57 season because he wasn't as good as he was in '56 when he won the triple crown!) Again different era-and Stengel's Yankees are a bad example.

Micromanaging can completely undermine a team: cause the players to defect. Cause the local paper to run a pie chart on different lineups used by said Mgr. Abner Boonie Day micromanaged those late 90's Royal teams into oblivion; and eventually the cellar.

The point I'm reaching for today is this, Mgrs and players always talk (esp after slow starts)about how the seaon is soooo long. Muser was fond of: "It's a marathon not a sprint."

The Skipper doesn't need to be Rah-Rah college coach everyday-nor does he need to be a stat geek imprisoned by his own matrices; micro-managing the club to death.

The good ones are a little- or a lot of both. (In the Royals case someone a little crazy would be my choice. Someone driven to win at all costs, a bulldog who will storm the GM's office when he trades for a shortstop that can't play.) Ive written these thoughts before. I'll do so again when the time comes. But for now I want to talk about the marathon/sprint thing.

For a long time (since the Muser days) I've been looking at the season differently; Forget series; forget months; (the Royals had a great Sept; Kc finally wins its first series! Hooray.)

The game is played nearly every day; esp in May, June, August and September.

So my saber-managing theory is this- Manage the week. No one wants to treat every game like a playoff game, (except the '75 Reds-but they were a Machine) My theory holds that you set a weekly goal of 4 wins: most weeks you'll play 6 or 7 games. If you lose the first 3; you manage and play the next 4 like a trip to the series is on the line. Just try to win 4. forget one day at a time. Win FOUR a week, that's the team goal. Everyone knows it.

Doesn't so much matter whether you win the series against the Orioles or sweep the A's its 4 games a week. Add that up over 6 months; 27-28 weeks and you will be 20 games over .500 or more-and that's contending. Of course having some players would help. Casey Stengel was a loser as a major league Mgr before he landed in Ruth's house and won 10 pennants in eleven yrs. Damn Yankees.(Thats not to say that Casey didn't manage because he sure did- especially his pitchers; only three 20 game winners that stretch)

John McGraw said...

I know in my last comment the 50's-60's Yankee refrences came out of left field, or more accurately from the short porch in Right; I've been reading Baseball's Reluctant Hero Roger Maris by Tom Clavin and Danny Peary-its about the 500th book I've read about the Bronx Bombers whom I abhor; even more than Hillman; But it's a good read, as were most of the other 499

-the '61 Yankees were a hell of a club-Maybe the best ever. Anyway that's why I wanted to recomend the book, Maris loved KC and lived in Raytown, for much of his career. Thought I should clarify why I was refrencing a 50 year old lineup. (And it was Houk's lineup not Caseys- but Casey managed games to win. Wrong or right, and he managed players.)

Four Games a week-doesn't matter which games-just try to win 4. I'd like to see somebody try it.

Kansas City said...

The KC Pitch, of all places, has a pretty good attempt at analysis of Hillman. In part, that he was a big fish in a small pond in high school and college and, as a result, was stunted as an adult and in his interactive skills. Thus, the excessive use of jargon, nicknames and seriousness in an effort to be in the in crowd. It rings true in terms of a possible explanation of a strange guy.

But still hard to understand why Moore was so favorably impressed.

John McGraw said...

Yeah insightful KC I agree. Wierd dude. Fish in small pond fits. So does the arrogance and use of jargon. I still like DM. Though its hard, esp in retrospect to the hillman hire.

Phil Garner has some ineresting comments, about changing the culture of baseball. Wasn't on my list but interesting.
Damn I lost the link and I don't remeber where I read it. Maybe it was Mellinger.

Kansas City said...

It was Mellinger on Sunday. Garner did not reveal much. He said that his guys would be tougher because of what they would need to go through physically and that he might use a 4 or 6 man rotation. I doubt that there is much in Garner's ideas, or for that matter, that he will get a chance to use them. Baseball is a game of skill, and physical strength or fitness is not necessarily an advantage.

It is very strange that with all the hundreds of managers over the past 100 years, there really is very little differences among them as to how they go about their jobs. Suggest that there never will be.

Rick said...

I'm starting to agree with anonymous, May 16th 4:03, that Blake Wood is the piece the bullpen was missing. The Royals are going to be the 2009 Rockies after Hurdle was canned!

Bubba said...

Does anyone know anything about Noel Arguelles? Where is he at right now? I knwo they originally said they thought theyd start him in Wilmington but I dont see him on their roster?

Also, has there been any mention of Danny Duffy possibly coming back? If he wants to return to baseball for the Royals or otherwise? I know this is a long shot but just seems so weird to me that a player who was that promising would just walk away from potentially making hundreds of thousands of dollars. If so, how would that work? Is there any precedent for something like this?

Anonymous said...

If he wants to return, he is still property of the Royals.

Danny Duffy said...

I'd rather stay retired than ever be forced to play for the Royals!

You want me to come back, get Dayton MORON to trade me to the Yankees!

Anonymous said...

Make sure you read Joe Posnanski's blog about Ned Yost. It's outstanding.

Fast Eddie said...

I live in NW Arkansas and Noel Arguelles isn't with the Naturals.

Donald Zackary Greinke said...

Thanks for costing me another win, Dayton Mooreon!

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