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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Posnanski: Bullpen phones

I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?

Here’s what we know happened. In the eighth inning, with the score tied, Tony La Russa picked up the phone and asked for Marc Rzepczynski to begin warming up. But here’s where it gets tricky. That’s all bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist heard. But La Russa would say afterward that what he actually SAID was that to get Rzepczynski AND Jason Motte working… he then noticed that only Rzepczynski was warming up. He then picked up the phone and called Lilliquist again to get Motte working. Fortunately, we have a recording of that conversation:

La Russa: “Hey, I told you to warm up Motte.”

Lilliquist: “You want me to buy you a yacht?”

La Russa: “Yes, that’s right, warm up Motte.”

Lilliquist: “Where am I going to come up with that kind of money?”

La Russa: “I don’t think it’s funny at all. Warm up Motte.”

Lilliquist: “You see a swam of dots?”

La Russa: “Yes.”

Lilliquist: “Guess what?”

La Russa: “Hey, man, there’s a game going on here. Just do it, all right? We’ve got a game to win.

Lilliquist (to Lance Lynn): “Hey, start warming up.”

La Russa was already having an astonishingly bad day. Before the game would end, his team would give up three outs on sacrifice bunts and two more on impossibly stupid stolen base attempts—it’s not often that a manager (or his players; it would be said that one of the busted hit-and-runs was called by [Albert] Pujols) can take personal responsibility for five of the 27 outs. He also ordered an intentional walk that backfired*, and later brought in the aforementioned Lance Lynn to come in only to intentionally walk another batter. This day was the managing equivalent of the day the Principal had in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

*As all intentional walks should.

But as absurd and illogical and freaky as all that was, nothing touched the phone call nightmare. And, unlike many, I believe the phone call nightmare justification because it’s simply the most plausible of all the incredibly stupid explanations for what happened.

The District Attorney Posted: October 25, 2011 at 08:03 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball geeks, cardinals, rangers

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   1. Fat Al Posted: October 25, 2011 at 10:40 PM (#3975365)
That whole thing is well worth reading. Good stuff.
   2. Esoteric Posted: October 25, 2011 at 10:49 PM (#3975371)
Typical Posnanski.

In sense of: typically entertaining.
   3. frannyzoo Posted: October 25, 2011 at 10:55 PM (#3975374)
RTFA. The Arthur Rhodes set up and punch is top-notch.
   4. True Blue Posted: October 25, 2011 at 11:08 PM (#3975380)
What's SI's excuse for hiring a retard like Posnarski?
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 25, 2011 at 11:22 PM (#3975388)
I enjoyed this article
   6. Walt Davis Posted: October 26, 2011 at 12:23 AM (#3975414)
RTFA. The Arthur Rhodes set up and punch is top-notch.

Better with Orosco.

The accountants bit was top-notch.
   7. rlc Posted: October 26, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#3975422)
But in many dugouts the phone IS protected by some sort of metal encasement -- in case of terrorists, I suppose -- and this is just about as pointless and wonderful.


Hate to step on a good joke, but clearly the phones are protected from Paul O'Neill and his ilk. If you're going to let the children have bats, you must expect the furniture to get broken.
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 26, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#3975423)
What's SI's excuse for hiring a retard like Posnarski?


WTF?
   9. McCoy Posted: October 26, 2011 at 12:38 AM (#3975424)
How does an operator still connect you in KC and how is there still a party line at Wrigley? Do both dugouts and both bullpens share the same line with the front office or something?
   10. Bob Evans Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:08 AM (#3975445)
is there still a party line at Wrigley?

I believe they use pigeons.

WTF?

Worst. Troll. Ever.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:29 AM (#3975457)
I love this comment:


I've got to admit, I'm maliciously delighted that La Russa invented the intentional walk specialist in a World Series game. It's a perfect satire of La Russa's style of managing.


I think TLR is a great manager, but I did enjoy the highlighting of some his postseason career failures. He has had a lot of really good teams. I think if he didn't have the "OMG he has a law degree and is really smart and does all these crazy maneuvers and is a mad genius" aura about him, sportswriters might say he was a choke artist, at least the degree to which they say Bobby Cox should have won more titles.
   12. Bob Tufts Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:39 AM (#3975463)
"My name is Elmer J. Fudd. Miwwionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht."

I think LaRussa is a good manager, but the style of play that results from his machinations is unwatchable (akin to the ugly NY Knicks/Pat Riley era without the muggings.)
   13. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: October 26, 2011 at 01:43 AM (#3975469)
I enjoy reading Poz, and this one made me laugh out loud.

I don't know why, but his last couple of posts (that one and the one about baseball on Fox) have an edge his other posts don't generally have. Poz sure is a great story teller, but as with all great story tellers, most times I can figure out the plot of his posts or stories in advance. Not these times.

[Edited for clarity]
   14. JRVJ Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:43 AM (#3975526)
This line by Pos

La Russa is the sort of man who will hire a left-handed accountant to figure credits and a righty to work out debits.


is as world class, all-time high level, no-matter-the-language-and-milieu as anything Pos has ever written.

I truly tip my hat to this phrase, which (at least) works as well in Spanish as it does in English (La Rusa es el tipo de persona que contrataría a un contador izquierdo para registrar créditos y a un contador derecho para contabilizar los débitos).
   15. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: October 26, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3975731)
I never RTFA, but was persuaded to by the glowing reviews.
I just emailed the link to several friends. If you haven't read it by now, do so immediately.
   16. Something Other Posted: October 26, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#3976298)
What's SI's excuse for hiring a retard like Posnarski?



WTF?
He's the only poster I have on ignore, and did so a couple of years back. It's nice to see I occasionally show good judgment.

I just about never RTFA either but y'all have persuaded me. I maintain LaRussa was never the manager most think he is, and is not the manager he was a decade ago. A good manager with terrific staying power who is well into his decline phase. He can still paint well in broad strokes (get good years out of iffy players, for instance). Guys in their late sixties often retain that ability while losing the ability to handle tactics and details well. There's no deep story here, I don't think, just an old man who has largely lost his moment to moment acuity and is not infrequently unable to handle complex, fast moving processes.

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