The Baseball Analysts, one of my favorite baseball blogs, recently had two entries worth highlighting.
The first dealt with Jack McKeon and was written by Kevin Kernan. Kernan collaborated with McKeon to write the book I'm Just Getting Started. Kernan does a great job with this entry relaying gems like this one:
The image of McKeon sitting alone in that corner of the dugout has become a staple of Marlins' broadcasts. That isn't just Jack McKeon sitting there, that's 50 years of managerial experience sitting there. McKeon fell in love with some of the teaching tools that Rickey brought to the game.
"When he was trying to teach a guy to throw a curveball down low and just off the plate," McKeon says, "he would lay a $20 bill right there on the ground. He'd say, 'If you hit the $20 bill, you got it.'
"Now that's Moneyball. That got the pitchers focused. They were focused on what their job was to do -- hit that $20 bill," McKeon says. "They had to follow through and come down through their motion. It was a great incentive. It was not only a fun thing, it was a teaching tool. I've never forgotten that."
McKeon knows the same drill would work today with one minor change. "You'd have to use a $100 bill," he says.
I've still got a soft spot for Jack. He was certainly given a raw deal by Jim Bowden and the Reds.
The second piece deals with a subject near and dear to Reds fans hearts at the moment: players who were once solid but are now kaput. Two Reds make the cut:
Medium Well Done
Rich Aurilia: SS, 33, CIN, .211/.253.352. Aurilia had a nice run with San Francisco from 1999-2003 and the Giants let him go at just the right time. Never one to draw many base on balls, Rich is walking at the lowest rate of his career. He has a little power still in his bat but is a mediocre defensive player and a slow baserunner, especially for a middle infielder.
Ken Griffey, Jr.: CF, 35, CIN, .244/.313/.372. Griffey has been skidding since 2000, his last full season. He has stolen 11 bases this century, an indication of his health and speed (or lack thereof). Junior doesn't have the ability to lift the ball like he once did. To illustrate, he didn't hit his first home run this year until the last day in April and his groundball/flyball ratio is the highest ever. Griffey is also striking out like never before and his BB/SO ratio is at an all-time low.
It's unfortunate, but I can't really argue with either, although I still hold out hope for Griffey.