Clint Hurdle Tries to Get Noticed, With Ugly Results
by Mark T.R. Donohue
I haven't mentioned the fact that Jeff Francis got thrown out of a spring training game a few days ago for throwing at a batter because the moment I see any blog post describing the activity from a fake baseball game, my eyes glaze over. But when stupid managerial decisions in the spring come back to hurt a team in the actual games, the silence must be broken.
Francis has been suspended for five games -- five regular season games -- because Clint Hurdle forced him to throw at Kevin Kouzmanoff. This means that the first time through their rotation in April, the Rockies will be forced to skip Francis, and they'll also be unable to fully take advantage of a light early-season schedule with enough days off to let them get away with not overexposing their fourth and fifth starters.
I wrote a few weeks ago that there are only three kind of managers, bad ones, indifferent ones, and indifferent ones who are good interviews. In the last year of his contract, Hurdle already seems dead set on moving from the indifferent category to the bad one. What is he trying to prove? Both the Rockies and the Padres had already received the dread "warning to both benches" when Hurdle made Francis throw a purpose pitch. Of course, it being mild-mannered Jeff Francis on the mound, the "purpose pitch" when released barely had enough juice to reach all the way to its target. But still, Hurdle should have known better than to assume that because it was a spring training game he could "show his resolve" without there being any real-season consequences. Highly dumb, and it's already cost the Rockies at least one ticket sale. I was planning on buying a ticket for the second game of the year (I already hold one for Opening Day, when I assume Aaron Cook will be starting) to see Francis pitch; now I won't be going, since Rodrigo Lopez does nothing for me. Of course, the Rockies will get my money on the other end when Jason Hirsh (who but for the Francis suspension would have started his season on the road against San Diego) goes on Wednesday the fourth, but...I dunno. I'm still mad.
Clint: Given that you have held your job for as long as you have, the Monforts are clearly not holding you to particularly stringent standards. Quit drawing attention to yourself. Fill out the lineup cards, pat players firmly on the rear when you come in to make pitching changes, stop bunting before the late innings, and knock it off with the vendetta nonsense. No one is questioning your manhood. We're beginning to question your common sense, but as long as you've got that classy soul patch your macho bona fides are safe.