Does Maddux get a pitch?
A few facts and opinions from the World Series:
If the Red Sox are looking for an outside-the-box managerial candidate, consider Mike Maddux. The outstanding Rangers pitching coach danced around his aspirations to manage when asked, but he obviously wants it.
“I think it’s an interesting topic,’’ Maddux said.
How interesting? He found it fascinating that Bud Black and John Farrell have opened the possibilities for teams to choose pitching coaches for their managerial openings.
How about Boston?
“It’s a very interesting city,’’ said Maddux, who pitched for the Sox from 1995-96 as a long reliever and spot starter.
There seems no doubt that Maddux would be interested in taking the next step. He feels he’s ready for it.
His brother Greg, a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, has been doing some work for the Cubs’ front office and is considered a future executive. Mike Maddux has become one of the game’s top pitching coaches and is quickly gaining the reputation as someone who easily could become a manager.
We’ll see if the Sox consider interviewing him after the World Series.
As we wrote on Sunday, the Sox certainly have considered Farrell as a possible replacement for Terry Francona. In order for this to happen, Farrell would have to want it and the teams would have to agree on compensation, but trying to do that in the same division is difficult.
The Blue Jays wouldn’t want to lose their first-year manager, but as one major league source said, “It’s hard to keep an employee if he doesn’t want to stay.’’ That would appear one way the Sox could get Farrell. Otherwise, as one Sox official said, “I know we wanted to make it happen, but compensation is an issue.’’
You wouldn’t blame the Blue Jays for asking for a ransom in return. The Sox certainly wouldn’t have to interview Farrell to get him on board.
One thing this offseason has proved - anyone is available, and anyone can be had for a price. The Marlins got Ozzie Guillen, the Cubs got Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, all of whom were under contract. It doesn’t appear that the Padres will even request compensation from the Cubs for Hoyer.
I asked Joe Torre, the executive vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball, about implementing a universal plan to ban alcohol from clubhouses. Torre came back with, “Some teams already do. It’s something we have to discuss.’’
Of course it is. Players have plenty of time to get showered, dressed, address the media, then head out to a restaurant or bar. As Torre pointed out, “Players are spending less time in the clubhouses now than ever before.’’
Baseball needs to shape up its image in this area. There’s no room for players drinking during or before the game and certainly no reason for players to have to drink beer after a game on stadium premises. Do they really need a beer that much?
There’s the issue of team camaraderie, and we’re sure the boys in Boston were yucking it up during the game, but there are ways to bond without having a beer.
Torre isn’t a fan of expanding instant replay, but he said he continues to have an open mind. First base umpire Ron Kulpa missed a tag play at first during Game 3.
Torre admitted one area where he might approve replay expansion would be on fair-foul calls.
“There are pluses and minuses to replay, and when you see a play like [Saturday] night all you have to do is show it and you’ll see that he missed it and it’s simple to make that decision,’’ Torre said. “But in saying that, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to listen, not going to watch, and not make adjustments as we feel fit, or that we feel it’ll apply.
“I’m old school, but I’m not ignoring the new technology that’s available to us, and we’re going to do everything we can to make the game better.’’
Torre also thought that having replay to fall back on would make umpires not work as hard.
It appears that having umpire conferences after every controversial play would help get calls right. Does he encourage umpires to do more of that?
“We have encouraged umpires to confer with each other,’’ Torre said, “and from what I’ve seen this year they have asked for help in certain areas. If they didn’t see it, they’re going to make a gesture of some kind to let that umpire know that maybe we should talk about it.’’
That didn’t happen Saturday night when Kulpa, a St. Louis native, missed a call on a tag play at first base, calling a Cardinals runner safe when he was clearly out.
Should conferences be automatic?
“Well again, we’re stopping the game again. [Saturday] was just unusual. I can tell you one thing. Ron Kulpa came in and I was in the umpires dressing room and the first thing out of his mouth was, ‘I missed it, did I miss it?’ I’m sure he hears fans booing after the inning and they’re very conscientious.’’
As a follow-up to a column about the lack of young fans watching the World Series, the numbers from the first two games were really low. Males in the 12-to-17-year-old range had a rating of 2.5 and 2.2.
You certainly can cite the Internet, more outside activities for kids, start time of games (which are actually sooner than years past, with no real difference in viewership), and families being priced out of going to the ballpark as reasons.
As one e-mailer pointed out, “Kids today don’t love the game like you did when you were a kid.’’
Maybe that says it all.