Dan's Dugout: Clever Catchers Keep Skills as Pilots • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Clever Catchers Keep Skills as Pilots


Like the dad in Father Knows Best, the man behind the plate is the only man on the field who sees the entire game in front of him.

Yogi Berra won 3 MVPs as a player and two pennants as a manager Credit: Topps

Yogi Berra won 3 MVPs as a player and two pennants as a manager
Credit: Topps

That’s why Casey Stengel called Yogi Berra the smartest man on the team.

And it’s why many catchers eventually become managers.

They know the game.

To cite one prominent example, Joe Torre, who spent most of his career behind the plate, won five world titles with the Yankees en route to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bruce Bochy won three world champions in San Francisco, Mike Scioscia has the longest tenure of any current pilot, and Joe Girardi deserves credit for getting the 2017 Yankees in position to reach the playoffs after missing postseason play five times in the last six seasons. And let’s not forget Detroit field boss Brad Ausmus, who caught for Houston’s only World Series team, and Ned Yost, whose Kansas City Royals won two straight pennants in 2014-15 and a world title on their second try.

Even the best managers, however, have to avoid the tendency to over-manage.

In recent days, Girardi caught some guff from Jaime Garcia when he lifted him with a fifth-inning lead, costing him a chance for the win.

Joe Girardi caught flak from pitchers for early removals Credit: Bill Menzel

Joe Girardi caught flak from pitchers for early removals from games
Credit: Bill Menzel

Then the pilot took a hit from fireballing reliever Dellin Betances for removing him in the eighth inning – and replacing him with struggling southpaw Aroldis Chapman.

Managers seldom insert lefty pitchers against righty hitters but Girardi went against the book.

Fortunately, the move worked and the team went on to win, with Chapman chalking up a rare four-out save.

Even after the heat of the moment subsided, Betances told reporters the next day that he was miffed. But he and his manager agreed that the bottom line was winning the game for the team.

One of the brightest men in baseball, Girardi is exceptionally articulate, well-spoken, and intelligent. But his players, for the most part, cannot match his pedigree.

He might need to remember Billy Martin’s philosophy of managing, which was to keep the five guys who hated him away from the five guys who were undecided.

Getting players upset in the waning days of September doesn’t make for smooth sailing as the days of the season dwindle to a precious few.

Dan’s diamond dust:

Francisco Lindor is collecting extra-base hits in bunches Credit: Frank Hyatt

Francisco Lindor is collecting extra-base hits in bunches
Credit: Frank Hyatt

MVP contender Francisco Lindor doubled in the sixth Saturday, giving him an extra-base hit in 10 straight games — four shy of the major-league record shared by Chipper Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927) – and making him the first shortstop to do that since 1900 . . .

Matt Boyd’s 5-10 mark and bloated earned run average for Detroit this season was almost forgotten when the young righthander held the White Sox hitless for 8 2/3 innings Sunday . . .

Edinson Volquez (Marlins) owns the only no-hitter of the homer-happy 2017 season . . .

Mets swingman Robert Gsellman maintains a mysterious mastery over the Braves at Sun Trust Park, where his win Sunday gave me him a perfect 3-0 mark there this season . . .

After leading the American League with an attendance of 3.39 million last year, the Toronto Blue Jays are on track to finish first in turnstile count again . . .

Hard to believe 30 years have gone by since Keith Hernandez collected his 2,000th hit . . .

For the 12th straight year, there will be a Baseball Film Festival in Cooperstown, with 21 films set for showing from Sept. 22-24 in the Bullpen Theater of the Hall of Fame. To learn more, see www.baseballhallof fame.org/events.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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