Hot Bats And The Search Continues
Quick notes from a rainy night at the K:
• Uh-oh. Mike Sweeney was a late scratch with a strained oblique.
• John Buck collected his first base hit with runners in scoring position. He is now 1-18 with runners in scoring position this season.
• Matt Stairs scored from first on base hits not once, but twice! Both times on Emil Brown extra base hits. Hey Matt, the oxygen is on me!
• In fact, with Sweeney out of the lineup, all of the damage was done from the lower half.
• Mark Teahen continues to flash the leather at third.
• Scott Kazmir will probably be a good pitcher in the majors someday, but Thursday he struggled. He had trouble finding the zone against leftys and against the right handed hitters he was leaving the ball right in the hitters wheelhouse.
• Lima-Time gave his usual performance. Cruising through the first couple of innings before hitting the speed bump in the middle innings. Tonight it was the fourth when a couple of singles, a couple of walks (one with the bases loaded) and Lima entered full meltdown mode.
• The tarp went on the field with the score 7-5 with two outs in the top of the seventh. Looking at the radar, I doubt they will resume tonight. And with the Royals not having to take the field in the eighth inning, they should be virtually assured of a victory.
I really like Allard Baird. He's got an incredibly difficult job and he strikes me as someone who is honest (sometimes brutally so), forthright and pulls no punches. Ask him a question, and you’re going to get an answer. He doesn’t play games with the media, like the GM of the other professional sports franchise in this city.
I also think that Baird has done an outstanding job over the last year and a half acquiring talent while giving up next to nothing.
Some highlights from his press conference Thurday about the process of finding a new manager:
• As far as the next manager goes, Baird wouldn’t get specific with names, but said he anticipated a “master list” to be in place by Friday. The timeline is secondary to getting the right person. Baird even said that if the Royals don’t find “the right guy” they were willing to wait until after the season to make a permanent hire.
• He defined two types of managers: Independent contractors vs. the organizational guy. Baird is looking for total commitment that he says is crucial for our market. He’s looking for someone who will, pardon the cliché, bleed Royals blue. The new manager needs to be someone who believes in the youth movement as being what is best for this organization. Total commitment is necessary. A manager who will look to veterans when the going gets tough need not apply.
“The youth movement is very easy to talk about, but it becomes very hard to carry through when you are struggling.”
• Previous managerial experience in the big leagues is a plus, but will not be deemed a necessity.
• Baird described his ideal manager as someone who is a communicator, a winner, a tactician at the major league level, committed to the organization and someone who believes in the direction the team is going.
I believe the search will last at least two weeks. Baird is going to be very methodical. He mentioned that he is “a planner.” Pena’s resignation truly took him by surprise and he will take the time to put together the framework to make the right decision.
Pena wasn’t working as manager of this team. He was Baird’s first managerial hire and his resignation has given Baird a second chance, so to speak. Baird realizes the pressure is squarely on him. Truth be told, he’s lucky to have gotten this second chance to make things right.
He’s going to take his time and I have faith based on his track record over the last several months that he will make the right decision for this team.
Good luck Allard. You're going to need it.