Results tagged ‘ Ryne Sandberg ’

The Future Unknown to Sandberg

Not too many people know what the future holds for Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg, but at the moment the smart bet is he will be in the dugout managing the Phillies in 2014.

He has been impressive through 12 games, although much can change.

Asked today at Citi Field if Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. provided him a timetable for a decision about his future, Sandberg said, “No, he didn’t talk about that. Nope. He told me … I’d be named interim manager and we were both on the same page. I might’ve had as much input or more to say than he did as far as these are meaningful games for evaluation of the players and all that. Fairly easy conversation but it was left at that.”

My gut simply tells me Sandberg is the guy. He has made some changes in the clubhouse. He has handled the games well. Everybody seems to be responding to him appropriately. I’ve got to think if that continues the job is his.

Sandberg Is Making Changes

Ryne Sandberg, Chase UtleyRoy Halladay yesterday tried to clarify his comments from Tuesday in Class A Lakewood, where he made waves when he discussed the Phillies’ managerial change.

Halladay has said both publicly and privately how much he has enjoyed playing for Charlie Manuel. I don’t think that was BS. I think he genuinely respected the former Phillies manager. But I think Halladay also hasn’t liked what he has seen in the clubhouse lately, and he tried to express those feelings to reporters. But he perhaps garbled his intended message and instead of saying the poor attitude, work ethic, etc., in the clubhouse needed to change, it sounded like he was reburying Manuel and blaming him for everything. That isn’t Halladay’s style, at least not in my experiences with him. He will speak his mind, but he’s not the type of guy to blast a manager, especially a few days after he has been fired.

But Halladay said what he said. So what about “guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls and taking extra BP and all those little thing that nobody thinks make a difference?”

Ryne Sandberg said yesterday, “All I can say on that is being the third-base coach and infield instructor up to last week or five days ago, players came to the ballpark, they reported, they got their work in with the coaches and all of the players were ready to play every single game.”

Now, keep in mind, if Sandberg felt differently he certainly was not going to say, “Oh, yes. I completely agree with everything Halladay said. He’s right.” But that’s OK. Sandberg already has talked about lackadaisical play and things needing to change. My very early impressions of Sandberg are he is a man with a plan and a very good sense of how he wants to do things.

I saw evidence of that early this season. He instituted infield practice at home. That is something I have not seen since I started covering the team in 2003. Every once in a blue moon you’d see the team holding infield and outfield practice before a game, but typically only after a run or sloppy games. But Sandberg wanted this to happen, whether or not the team was playing well or poorly. These 20-minute sessions typically began before 4 p.m. for a night game, so I remember asking him if everybody needed to be there. I asked because at the time players didn’t need to be in uniform and on the field until the official team stretch, which is a little after 4 p.m. Sandberg seemed completely baffled by my question. He looked stunned.

“These are mandatory,” he said sternly.

That leads me to one small, but noteworthy change he has made since he took over Friday.

Sandberg has a 3 p.m. report time to the ballpark for 7 p.m. games.

That is new.

Like I said, in the past players needed to be on the field in time for their group stretch. But Sandberg is making sure everybody is at the ballpark no later than 3 p.m. Again, it’s a small, but noteworthy change. But for me, the biggest thing for Sandberg is changing attitudes in the clubhouse. The clubhouse has not been a positive place this season. Players are unhappy (examples here, here and here). Maybe that’s just how clubhouse are when teams are losing. But things certainly haven’t been helped by the negative energy and attitudes.

If Sandberg can get everybody in the clubhouse to focus their energies on what matters on the field instead of what happens off it, then I think Sandberg will have earned his keep and deserves the full-time job. So far the early returns are good.

Halladay Clarifies Comments on Manuel

Giants Phillies BaseballRoy Halladay made some very interesting comments last night following his rehab start in Class A Lakewood.

Most everybody took them as Halladay saying Charlie Manuel let things slip the past two seasons, and that Ryne Sandberg would get players back on track, refocused, rededicated, etc. But Halladay made a statement to reporters this afternoon, trying to clarify those comments.

Here is what he said:

“I felt like what was said necessarily wasn’t written. And I just want to make it well known that I have a lot of respect for Charlie. There were some articles put out that offended me and I’m sure offended Charlie. And I called him today and talked to him about it. We’ve been in a lot of contact. I loved playing for him. He was a great manager. Everybody here loved him. The players loved him. And he was a lot of the reason they won the World Series here. I just want to make that point clear. I was also trying to say that I feel like if there was somebody that’s going to replace a guy like that then it’s going to be a Ryne Sandberg type of person with the experience that he carries and everything else.

“But I really felt like a lot was lost in translation with respect to Charlie. I just want to make that clear. I don’t endorse any manager’s firing. The players get managers fired. Any time a manager is fired as a player you feel like you haven’t done your job.

“Really, that’s it. I just want to make sure the air is clear there. I talked to Charlie and we’re good. But I wanted him to know that I really enjoyed playing for him and as far as managers have gone, he’s the best I’ve ever been around. I really enjoyed the time with him. At the same token I look forward to working with Ryne, too. Really, that’s about it. I think I saw one title that said I endorsed the firing of Charlie Manuel. And that really bothered me, so I just wanted to make sure we were all clear.”

Halladay: Change Is Good

Roy HalladayRoy Halladay made a rehab start last night at Class A Lakewood, but the most interesting thing might have come after the game when he spoke to reporters about the Phillies’ recent managerial change.

The Phillies fired Charlie Manuel on Friday and replaced him with interim manager Ryne Sandberg.

“I’ve exchanged tests with him (Manuel), obviously I loved him, he was great, but from what I’ve seen, Ryne came in and made some changes and addressed some issues that I think were being overlooked,” Halladay said. “From that standpoint, as much as I miss Charlie, I think that Ryne is going to a good job and yeah I think bring back a little more of the Phillies baseball style than we’ve had the last couple years. You know, we really haven’t had that whole team effort and the whole team hustle I think we had in prior years.”

So what exactly needed to be addressed?

“Ah, just different things,” he said. “I mean guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls and taking extra bp and all those little thing that nobody thinks make a difference. I think he (Ryne) has been very good so far, but I don’t want to take anything away from Charlie. We all respected him tremendously and, you know, I think he’s going to have the choice of what he wants to do at this point in his life, so I’m happy for him.”

Interesting. It’s safe to say the chemistry in the clubhouse hasn’t been good for some time. There are some unhappy players in there. Maybe Sandberg will get the players refocused on things that truly matter. And maybe that will make a difference. We’ll see.

Balk Shouldn’t Have Been Called, Ump Says

Ryne Sandberg, Jim JoyceJake Diekman got called for an unusual balk in the eighth inning last night at Citizens Bank Park.

Diekman was working out of the stretch with runners on first and second when Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado wanted to call time and made a movement out of the batter’s box, although he never left the box and time had never been called. Diekman began his delivery to the plate, but upon seeing Arenado move out of the box he believed time had been called and stopped his delivery. Home plate umpire Jim Joyce called a balk.

Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg and Joyce had three conversations about the call during the game. Sandberg’s contention: a hitter cannot induce a balk. Rule 6.02(b) states: “If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a ‘set position’ with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has stepped out of the box, it shall not be called a balk.”

Joyce spoke about the call following the game with Randy Marsh, who is Major League Baseball’s director of umpires. Marsh is in town this week.

“I implemented the balk wrong,” Joyce said before Tuesday’s game. “The rule actually states if the batter leaves the batter’s box and causes the pitcher to hesitate or stop a balk shall not be called. I got probably a little more technical on that. He didn’t leave the box, but the spirit of the rule is if you make the pitcher stop by some sort of action by the batter a balk shall not be called. I probably was a little overzealous in throwing out that balk.”

Joyce said he spoke with Sandberg and Rockies manager Walt Weiss about it before tonight’s game.

“You could have the hitter step out and if the pitcher delivers a weaker pitch they could step back in and whack it, if they’re just trying to deliver a pitch,” Sandberg said. “So for me it’s a total disadvantage for the pitcher there in all regards to the play. The rule states that and I think that’s why the rule is what it is.”

No Runs for Ryno

Ryne SandbergRyne Sandberg knew this would not be easy.

He joined a select group Saturday when the Phillies suffered a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Sandberg became one of just three managers in baseball history to suffer shutout losses in their first two games as manager.

Miami’s Mike Redmond suffered the same fate as Sandberg to begin this season.

The other?

Louisville’s Jack Chapman in 1876, which was the first year of the National League.

Managers Offer Thoughts on Manuel

Charlie ManuelThe Phillies fired Charlie Manuel today, and managers around baseball offered their thoughts.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez
“I have a lot of respect for Charlie and the way he handled that situation in Philly. As you well know, it’s not the easiest place to manage. People have a lot of expectations. It’s almost like New York City with a big press (following). I admire him. … Whatever Charlie wants to do, he can do. He’s done a lot of good stuff. Whether he wants to stop managing and go into the front office to help the Phillies or if he wants to get back on the field, I think he can do what he wants.”

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly
“Charlie’s an experienced guy, he’s been through a lot. This is not a good situation. I feel for that part of it.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland
“This comes as a surprise to me. I’m very close to Charlie. I think the world of him. He’s obviously done a great job over there. And it’s just one of those things. That’s just part of our business. It’s too bad but it’s something that happens. Football coaches, baseball managers, we know what that’s all about.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire spoke about Manuel here. Asked if he was surprised Manuel got fired with 42 games remaining, Gardenhire added, “I guess yes because there’s so little time left in the season. But no, just listening to Charlie talking in Spring Training. He said he didn’t have a contract next year and didn’t know what was going to happen. Charlie is not one to back away from his stance on anything. If he believes in something, he’s going to stay with it. I know they were trying to play kids but Charlie is going to do it his way.”

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson talked about Ryne Sandberg getting the job on an interim basis. Gibson had the D-Backs job on an interim basis the final three months of the 2010 season before getting the full-time gig.

“If they’re thinking about Sandberg, it’ll help him be better prepared for next year,” Gibson said. “If you’re an interim guy, you’re kind of evaluating and preparing for if you do get the permanent job. Then you can communicate exactly what you see and what you think you should do, things like that. You can be more prepared to implement it. He’ll know the team better. He should know the system pretty good right now. He’s been in the Minor Leagues as well as the Major Leagues. I feel like it helped me. The more games you manage, the more comfort you kind of get.”

Manuel to Be Replaced

Charlie Manuel, Chase UtleyThe Phillies will announce a managerial change at a news conference this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, a source confirmed.

Manager Charlie Manuel just won his 1,000th career game as manager Monday in Atlanta, but this season has been a disappointment.

Manuel, 69, also is in the final year of his contract, and it had been expected the Phillies would make a change following the season. It seems the team’s freefall in the National League East standings – the Phillies have lost 19 of their last 23 games – has accelerated that timetable.

A source said the Phillies front office has discussed possible scenarios for a managerial change in recent weeks, although until recently nothing had been decided. The Phillies front office held a conference call in the afternoon to discuss the change.

Phillies third base Ryne Sandberg is most likely to replace Manuel as an interim manager through the end of the season. He has been the heir apparent to Manuel since he joined the coaching staff in the offseason.

CSNPhilly.com first reported the change.

Practice? Yes, Sandberg Is Talking About Practice

Ryne SandbergBig leaguers need practice, too.

But organized infield and outfield work during the season had become so sporadic that any structured pregame practice at all stood out like a sore thumb. The Phillies picked up those sessions a bit following last season’s July 31 Trade Deadline, but they typically were limited to the first game of every home series.

That is changing. They already had practices Friday and yesterday and have another scheduled tomorrow as Phillies third base coach and infield instructor Ryne Sandberg makes them part of the team’s routine. He said they will be 20-minute sessions as needed and as he sees fit before home games.

“That’s what I do,” Sandberg said. “That’s what I like to see happen. It’s a stress on defense. It allows us to have time to work on things. It’ll be something that will be stressed throughout the whole year.”

The Phillies took ground balls regularly in the past, but it typically occurred during batting practice. Charlie Manuel calls this a more structured, more hands-on setup that allows for more discussion and teaching. The sessions are mandatory.

He likes it.

“The fact it is more organized, it gives you time to talk to get your points across as far as mistakes we’ve made or things we want to improve on,” Manuel said. “It’s a little bit stricter coaching and I like that. I like everything about that.”

But structured practices do seem to be a rare occurrence in baseball these days, not only with the Phillies, but every team.

“I don’t think getting away from it is a good thing,” Sandberg said. “Having it is a very positive thing. In my day we took infield every day, except for day games. I think it’s something that’s necessary to stay sharp and stay on top of things. We’ll also have the outfielders join us and throw to the bases, probably twice a homestand or something like that. It’s for everybody to stay sharp on defense. It’s a big part of the game. To work on it and stress it becomes important.”

Sandberg’s Journey Back

I had a chance to speak with Ryne Sandberg earlier today about his journey back to the big leagues.

It took him six years of managing in the minors before the Phillies hired him as third base coach. That seemed like a long time to a lot of people: Hall of Fame second baseman can’t get a job in the big leagues? What’s up with that? But Sandberg sounded like a patient guy who had no trouble paying his dues. He is well aware there are plenty more coaches in the minor leagues that have been coaching a lot longer than six years before getting the call.

Case in point: new Phillies bullpen coach Rod Nichols spent the previous 13 seasons in the minors.

Everybody considers Sandberg the heir apparent to Charlie Manuel, whose contract expires after next season. Manuel said he is not worried about any questions that might pop up next season about his future, which could happen if the Phillies start slowly.

Asked if he felt he needed to have a conversation with Manuel about any of those potential questions from pesky reporters, Sandberg said, “We’ll both be fine. I’ve been around him long enough. I feel like he has a trust in all of his coaches. I don’t think I’d be on his coaching staff if there wasn’t a trust level and a comfort level. I think we’ve developed a trust these last two years, both in Spring Training and in September as a call up. We’re very comfortable with each other. I enjoy being around him, and I think he feels the same way about me. And now we’ll work together. We have a common goal: winning as many games as we can and get to a World Series.”

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