Two hitting coaches were hired this week, and the choices were on the opposite ends of the scale.
Tino Martinez is the new hitting coach of the Miami Marlins. There might be politics involved in this choice, since Tino lives in Florida and he will probably appeal to the Latin contingent of South Florida, and he's never held a position like this before, and I've never heard anything about a scientific approach to hitting. But, you can't argue with his personal success with the bat and he does have a squeaky-clean personal reputation. That alone will go far after the fiasco that was Ozzie Guillen.
The other coaching choice is one I don't understand. Mark "I-Don't-Talk-About-The-Past" McGwire, who moved from the Cardinals to the Dodgers. It's one thing to use PEDs while playing, especially before suspensions were decreed, but why hire an admitted user AFTER his playing days are over. This guy lied and danced around his drug use in front of a Congressional hearing and didn't 'fess up until he was basically safe from any punishment. He may actually be an effective coach, I just don't agree with rewarding his terrible behavior when he could have stood up like a man and not been so arrogant in his denials. It may seem outrageous for the Dodgers to spend money like they have the last few months, but this was definitely a poor choice.
## SPEAKING OF MONEY...
The Dodgers just paid over $26 million for the rights to negotiate with Japan's latest pitching phenom, Ryu Hyun-jin (I'm sure we'll be told how to pronounce it later), and that's only the start - they still have to negotiate a contract with him. No matter how many times this kind of deal for a Japanese pitcher goes sour, somebody will still step up with the checkbook. And this time, it's not the Yanks.
## SOMEBODY HAS TAKEN GEORGE STEINBRENNER LESSONS
His name is Mitch Kupchak, the General Manager of the LA Lakers. After just 5 games, coach Mike Brown has been terminated because of the teams 1-4 record. With two new starters in the lineup, you have to know that it takes time for a team to jell and 5 games is nothing. Even Yogi Berra lasted 16 games before George dropped the axe on him. You could have picked a better role model, Mitch.
## LOWERING THE YANKEE PAYROLL IS WRONG...
...according to agent Scott Boras. Of course he thinks that. One of Boras main ploys is to set Boston and New York against one another, or to use the threat of big Yankee money to get better contracts for his clients. And it worked: many of the times, the Yanks were Boras' O.D.O. - One Dumb Owner.
Mike Lupica was not impressed. "...that's just Boras operating under the tragic misconception that we still care what he thinks. Nice to know, though, that he's still willing to throw his back out if he spots an extra twenty-dollar bill on the floor."
One sportswriter suggests that the Yanks post a "No Loitering" sign by first base for Robinson Cano's benefit. Probably not a bad idea. If there is one bad aspect of Cano's ability. it's his penchant for loafing to first base unless he is absolutely, 100% positive that he has an extra-base hit. Maybe Girardi should start handing out escalating fines for this behavior.
Congratulations to my friend Dwight Perry, Night Editor of the Seattle Times, and a source of many quotes in this blog, for completing his 3000th column in the Times this week. His column, "Sideline Chatter," is a must-read for me and thousands of others. His barbs, twists and groaners are the result of an ingenious sense of humor -- or perhaps too much scotch. Whatever the source, he is a very talented writer. Dwight, Picasner thanks you for your help and encouragement.
***THEY SAID IT***
"There’s a lot of college football left to play…but right now the BCS national championship could feature – Oregon vs. Kansas State. A prospect that must have ESPN as excited as FOX was to televise a SF vs. Detroit World Series." -- Janice Hough
"Steve Nash is out with a small fracture in his left leg — in just his second Lakers game. Probably not the definition of fast break that Lakers fans had in mind." -- Dwight Perry
"Cowboys owner Jerry Jones got locked out of his team's locker room: "Now that's an NFL lockout we can support." -- Todd Dewey, Las Vegas Review-Journal
"The president got heckled during a late campaign stop in Cincinnati: "Obama's get-tough-on-crime policy has cost the Bengals half their defense." -- Brad Dickson
"New York has been hit with a major snowstorm just days after tropical storm Sandy. It's one disaster after another, like Tim Tebow going in for Mark Sanchez." -- RJ Currie
"A Tour de France winner is okay after being hit by a car while riding his bike. This is when you know there maybe PEDs at the Tour de France - a guy is hit by a Buick and keeps on pedaling." -- Brad Dickson
"Mike Brown got fired from the Lakers for a lot of reasons, starting with this one: He put in a Princeton offense with a Laker team that couldn't beat Princeton. -- Mike Lupica