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Monday, June 06, 2005

The Turns of a HOF Career

This weekend showed two different sides of having a HOF career: the continued success of manager Frank Robinson and the firing of Eddie Murray.
Robinson, still underrated by many even though he is in The Hall, continues to impress with his managing feats, previously with the forlorn and forgotten Expos and now with the newly christened Nationals. With the smallest payroll in the tough NL East, Frank has managed his way to a first place standing here in early June. Quite a feat for a franchise nobody really seemed to want or care about; yet over 40,000 showed up at creaky old RFK yesterday to see the Nats win again. The Nationals payroll, managed by MLB, is about $48.6M, and competes with the payrolls the likes of the lamentable Phillies (over $95M), Florida Marlins (over $60M), the well-run Braves (over $85M) and the ponderous Mets (over $104M).

Sunday started with a potential distraction for Robinson's team: T. Ohka was fined for walking away from the mound and Robinson without giving him the ball when being lifted in Saturday's game. According to the AP, Robinson held a closed-door meeting before the Sunday game, after the fine was announced. "This is what I'm saying when we talk about chemistry....The chemistry is very high right now on the ballclub. One person can damage that chemistry to where it hurts the team." says Robinson. Do you think the players in Washington have any doubts about who is running that team? Frank played the game hard, to win - and he manages exactly the same way. The Nats are 6-1 against quality teams like Florida and Atlanta in the current homestand. Well-done Frank, well-done.

In Cleveland, the Tribe decided to cut ties with HOFer Eddie Murray as their hitting coach. The Tribe's hitting stats are terrible and obvious; Murray's sins, however, are not. Most of the player quotes published today are complimentary to Murray, including those in the home-town Cleveland Plain Dealer. A story by Paul Hoynes in that paper though hinted that Murray's disinterest in PR duties may have helped push him out the door. Hoynes writes today, "Derek Shelton, Indians minor-league hitting coordinator [Murray's replacement], arrived in Chicago before Sunday's game to replace Murray. The former minor-league catcher has been in the system for three years. He does not have 3,000 hits or 500 homers like Murray, but he apparently is going to talk to reporters regularly, something that never fit into Murray's job description." "Communication is important for a hitting coach," Shelton said. "You have to have the ability to listen and give feedback."
Manager Eric Wedge says of the move, "I try to make decisions based on what is best for the players. That's what I did here...."
Murray was never very talkative as a player, some in the press criticized him for it over the years. Perhaps Murray is a lousy listener as well. There has to be a place in the game for a great such as Murray.....Let's hope somebody finds it for Eddie.