Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tracy, the day after

(Scene: the unemployment line. A content Jim Tracy and his staff stand in place.)

T-bone (holding Post-Gazette): Trace, Dejan wrote a long piece about you today.

Tracy: Is the manager of the 2004 NL West Champions intrigued? Yes.

T-bone (skimming aloud):

Before Tracy had donned a Pirates uniform, in the winter of 2006, he met with center fielder Chris Duffy and told Duffy he should play like Dave Roberts, the Dodgers' leadoff man ... Tracy told shortstop Jack Wilson, a three-time runner-up for the Gold Glove, that he did not like his approach to ground balls, that it should be more like Cesar Izturis of the 2004 Dodgers ... Jose Castillo was told to be like Adrian Beltre. Bench players were told to be versatile like Jose Hernandez, who also was acquired.
Manto: That's pretty messed up. Your obsession with the '04 Dodgers seems hurtful and kind of pathological. Is this why you always tell me to look and act like Tim Wallach?

Tracy: Look, Tim, is it wrong for a man to project the greatness of a division champion onto a group of lesser men in hopes that the latter would in essence realize that projection? No.

Cox (laughing): And then Ronny says to me "Coach, I don't practice catching throws from the outfield?" And I say "Ronny, I need to know these things."

T-bone (reading aloud): Paulino never was seen addressing that play in an on-field workout all summer.

Colborn: Damn, Ronny dropped a lot of balls.

Tracy: Lo Duca had only three errors all year.

Cuellar: Look, DL is way the hell up there in line! Man, he looks tired, like he's been standing for awhile.

Tracy (smiling): Our general manager was terrific. (Cranes his neck and spots DL far off in the distance) They should get him a chair. If our GM stands too long, you take the legs away from him, and in essence you've lost the GM.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Tracy fired

The Pirates have scheduled a press conference for 3:30 today.

Tracy still waiting

Decision today "doubtful", by Dejan Kovacevic. Tracy and his staff continue to wait and talk.

Manto: Any word yet, boss?

Tracy: Has our manager received any communication from our new general manager regarding our employment status? I'm not saying that.

Cox (laughing): What the #*@! is taking so long?

Tracy: Does the commissioner of major league baseball want an announcement made during the series of October games once played by myself and Cesar in 2004? No. Does our new general manager need more time? Yes.

Cuellar: Sounds like there's gonna be a big shake-up. (reading from the Post-Gazette): Huntington confirmed that his announcement could involve more than just the manager and coaching staff. "There is a series of decisions to be made," he said. "Is there a possibility that other personnel could be involved there? Yes." (laughs out loud) Trace, he's interviewing himself, just like you!

T-bone (whispering to Manto): Uh oh, maybe Neal is infected.

Tracy: If the manager is intrigued by "a series of decisions", which in this particular case, it would appear that the answer to that question is yes, than the "series of decisions" intrigues the manager.

Colborn: Tell 'em, Trace.

Manto: Go on, skipper.

Tracy: Of course our new GM needs more time. Is this man going to come in and rashly decide all of our fates, or by his action bring about the events indicative of how that action might come to be with regard to the coaching staff? No.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tracy waits

No decision still, Dejan Kovacevic reports. No discussions between upper management and Tracy and his staff since Monday, leaving them to sit around and talk amongst themselves:

Tracy: We have some people who, resume-wise, wouldn't be suggesting that we have some guys in that lineup that are doing what they're doing right now offensively.

Manto: Like Ronny Ballgame.

Tracy: I've used the words 'consummate professional' about this guy. I've used the term 'warrior.' We've seen all of that here. For two years he was basically the guy. Maybe not on paper, but as the year unfolded and you went out there between the lines and played your 162, he in essence was the guy for two years.

T-bone: Yup.

Tracy: He can really catch. He can really throw. And he really cares.

Cuellar: Uh huh.

Tracy: I think we realize exactly what it is we have to do. I also think redundancy time after time gets to the point where you've heard it before and don't want to continue to hear it. You just want to go out there and do it.

Manto: Damn straight.

Cox: Nady's hammy is barking.

Tracy: Hamstrings are a very tricky thing. This one is very tricky due to the individual because if you push the envelope too quickly and you take his legs away from him, you've in essence lost a player.

Colborn: C'mon, Trace, we're done. We failed.

Tracy: We didn't fail. We just didn't succeed as much as we'd have liked. (long pause) If we get beat, it's because the opposition went out and beat us.

Cox (laughing): Maybe you should've gotten thrown out a few more times.

Tracy: For what reason? For being ejected for what you don't feel, due to the action that took place, is indicative of the fact of action that's solely the player? I saw things out of the ordinary out there.

Manto: So will we still get paid?

Tracy: Why should this year be any different? Because it's the last year of the contract? So what? If I had two years, would there be any more job security? What difference does it make?

Colborn: Neal and Frank didn't ask about our philosophies. We will be canned.

Tracy: You always try to create the best scenario, but if that's not completely available, we won't use it as an excuse. The uneasy part is that decision-making on the other side is fairly simple.

(All Tracy lines are verbatim quotes from: Dodger Blues, Prisuta via Billy, or Kovacevic.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tracy very likely done

Decision by Friday, Dejan Kovacevic reports. So far, Frank and Neal have mostly only asked Tracy and his staff questions about player evaluations. I imagine this wrapping up something like:

Huntington: Castillo?

Tracy: Who?

Huntington: Jose Castillo.

Tracy: Big, powerful-looking, big man.

Huntington: Anything else?

Tracy: Real big. Not as nimble as Cesar. Now there's a player for you, Cesar Izturis. Even before I coached Cesar to win the division in 2004 - this isn't my first rodeo, you know? - I knew I'd found my #2 hitter. Offensively, he does a lot of hitting. Soft hands too, that Cesar. Does the man carry himself in every way like a big league baseball player? Yes. Does the man truly understand every facet of how this game is played? Yes. Is he versatile enough to play every infield position? Yes. Could he pitch in middle relief? I don't know.

Huntington: Please let me ask you the questions, Jim. (turning to staff): Anything else?

Colborn: I don't really pay attention to velocity with anyone. You just gotta stand up straight. Like Shawn.

Manto (with marker, at white board): So you see, [(R+RBI)-HR]/games played = "runs produced". It's as important as on-base percentage or any of your "nu skool" numbers.

Cox (laughing while raspily wheezing): Armas never told me he didn't slide!

Coonelly (stands up and stretches): OK, guys, let's call it a night.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

NFL week 4: Steelers at Cardinals

It's the other Pittsburgh team.

Game 162: Cardinals at Pirates

The Pirates have momentum as they finish their quest to force a one-game playoff and sneak into the playoffs as a wild card.

Game on at 1:35pm. Be prepared to see some guys playing at the peak of their abilities.