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How would you like to be Phil Nevin?
Angels manager faces tough task
Good morning, all. I hope your week is off to a terrific start.
As I watched the Red Sox-Angels Patriots’ Day game from Fenway Park on Monday, my thoughts turned to Los Angeles Angels manager Phil Nevin. Has there ever been a manager in a more tenuous situation? And I do not mean trying to mobilize a troubled franchise. Nevin manages the most celebrated player in baseball, perhaps all of sports: Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani is the Babe Ruth of his time: pitcher-designated hitter extraordinaire. In the prime of his career, he is also a free agent at the end of this season. The money he will command will be off the charts. Which club owner forks over the dough is anybody’s guess, although websites and social media, looking to generate clicks, are having a field day predicting where he will end up.
Which brings me back to Nevin, the former star MLB player, realizing his dream to be the manager of an MLB club. Nevin, who replaced Joe Maddon as Angels manager in the middle of last season, knows the spotlight, having been Aaron Boone’s third base coach with the Yankees. Now among his players is Ohtani.
This all came to mind, as Ohtani was pitching at Fenway on Monday in the pouring rain. As the rain came down, the mound became slick. What would happen if Ohtani slipped and suffered a severe injury? Should Nevin remove him? How would the pitcher who replaced him feel? What, he cares about him but not me?
The umpires eventually halted the game and had the mound and infield treated. The game then went into a rain delay after the third inning, and Nevin wisely did not bring Ohtani back after the lengthly interuption. But the reality is Nevin has a huge assignment and it is more than trying to manage the Angels into contention. It is also about managing the health of someone who is about to become the richest player in baseball history.
Nevin has big shoulders. He can handle this most delicate of tasks. Still, wish him luck. He will need it to augment his managerial skills.
Have you noticed more and more MLB players being interviewed during games, especially on national telecasts? The dialogue with the broadcasters adds another dimension to the coverage. It is also adding money to the players’ wallets. According to the NY Post (I would link to the story but it is behind a paywall), a player receives $10,000 for agreeing to an in-game interview.
The money is not being paid by the networks but comes from a joint pool of MLB and the MLBPA. The stipend was offered to convince reluctant players to participate- at $10Gs for five-minutes of talk, I doubt you will find even the most reticient of players answering “no.”
What’s with the NFL draft?
Expect gobs of NFL news over the next two weeks. The NFL draft is scheduled Apr. 27-29 in Kansas City. Wednesday is the deadline for draft-eligible players to work out for interested clubs. This season there will be 259 selections rather than 261. The Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round pick and the Houston Texans their fifth-round pick for violating NFL policy.
The selection number is important because a player’s contract offer is based on his slot in the draft. In other words, the Dolphins will have their 21st pick “vacated.” The other teams will not move up a slot. The first round will advance from number 20 to 22.
Let’s just say the draft has come a long way from my high school days, when it was held at a New York City hotel on a weekday morning. I could remember my Geometry teacher, a big New York Giants fan, interupting class to call a friend of mine, who owned a corner deli and was another big Giants fan. Tony would be monitoring the draft on radio and pass the info along to Mr. Z. Now the draft is televised in primetime on several networks and gets huge ratings. As for Mr. Z, he put his math acumen to good use, leaving the teaching profession to become owner of a string of car wash centers.
That is going to do it for this week’s newsletter. As always, thank you for subscribing and have a terrific weekend.