Rays Diary 6/10/14     Say It Ain’t So Clueless Joe: Episode…Too Many To Count!

The Bad News:  Clueless Joe totally blew it again in the eighth inning when, as is his usual strategy, he decided not to advance the runners from first and second with no outs in a one run ball game.   His “plan” succeeded” as it always does when his hapless offense had no runner at third to easily send home on a sacrifice fly, a lazy ground ball to first, a safety squeeze or even a wild pitch.  Let’s face it, it would seem that the only thing that can save the Rays and their currently professionally inept and dysfunctional baseball organization is for Zim to be resurrected so he can manage the team.  Anyone want to bet against the fact that he would have managed to manufacture a run or two tonight  if he were managing? What’s happening now is probably the unraveling of an A-1 Rays business organization.  The reason is that just as the foolish Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders owners think they know football, the Rays’ business people, including Andrew Friedman, think they know baseball.  They don’t!  They know business!  The scouts’ job is to evaluate players and Mr. Friedman’s job is to sign them and design brilliant contracts and trades which no one anywhere can do better.  As field managers, they are worse than “Little League,” which seems to be their approximate level of competence.  This is slightly less than Clueless Joe’s level, but actually about the same as Derek Charlatan’s level of “expertise.”

The Good News:  Having closely followed the Dodgers from 1950 until the fateful inception of the Devil Rays, I can assure you that the ever optimistic Don Zimmer is in Baseball Heaven, surrounded by Jackie and Pee Wee, Duke and Roy and all of his old teammates, but the man he is talking to is Walter Alston, the “Manager’s Manager.”  They’re probably laughing, remembering how incompetent Tommy Lasorda was when he initially inherited Alston’s job.  Zim is reminding him that as stubborn and blatantly clueless Joe is about the basics of baseball, he is no worse than Tommy was when he first started managing at the major league level.  He didn’t advance runners, he had no idea how to use pitchers, he doubled the number of strikeouts and introduced his offense to something Alston almost totally avoided, the “shutout.”  Alston’s teams could go for virtually an entire season without a shutout by a team that was usually at the bottom of the league in hitting, even in years when they won pennants and World Series!  Who knows, if “Clueless Joe” decides that he really does want to manage after all, like Lasorda, he can actually learn how to do so.  It’s actually up to him.  Does he want to continue playing the fool and substituting carnival acts for professional managerial moves, to continue to manage like an ass or does he want finally mature into a bonafide major league manager?

Derek Charlatan, on the other hand, has no legitimate credentials.  He seems to be a blatant fraud, a baseball plague on this team, actively “teaching” players to do things that actually ruin their hitting and eventually erode their offensive skills.  Ben Zobrist needs to hire a professional hitting coach in the off-season or his hitting skills will continue to deteriorate beyond recognition.  His comical, amateurish swing, flipping his wrists like a little child is the laughing stock of the entire American League.  If this is the swing that his mentor, Derek Charlatan is trying to teach Ben’s teammates, it goes a long way toward explaining the team’s offensive demise this year.  I believe the myth that good pitching, especially the fantastic pitching that the Rays have enjoyed over the past five years, can forever hide the ridiculously obvious inadequacies of such an incompetently managed and coached team has now been officially exposed.  The question now is: just how mediocre does the Rays organization want to be in the next few crucial years, mediocre enough to kill the franchise in Tampa Bay?  It’s time for apologists to wake up and “grow some cojones” as Mr. Estrada might say if he were not justifiably afraid of being terminated by the Rays.

Al Finkelstein (O’finky) 6/10/14