Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Bits

> Dock Ellis died today. The 63-year old was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver after Thanksgiving last year, and was waiting for a transplant that never came.

He'll be remembered forever in Pittsburgh for his curlers and no-hitter on acid. And those images are valid; a saint he wasn't, at least during his highly-publicized playing days. Still, he was a fierce competitor and popular locker room guy, by virtually all accounts.

Ellis admitted publicly in several forums that he was hooked on booze and chemicals during his career. And we'll add self-promotion to his list of addictions.

But he was clean since 1980, motivated, he said, by fatherhood. Ellis worked with prisoners both in SCI and California as a drug counselor. He also fronted a Sickle Cell group to help fight the disease, and never shrunk from supporting black equality issues.

Rather than eulogize or worse, editorialize, GW is just gonna post a couple of links to cover his flamboyant career and later real life.

"Pirates Saddened By Ellis' Passing",;

"Ex-Pitcher Ellis Dies Of Liver Disease", ESPN;

"Ellis Is Trying To Strike Back At A Tough Foe", LA Times;

"Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr.", The Baseball Reliquary;

"Did Dock Ellis Throw A No-Hitter Under The Influence Of LSD?" Urban Legends;

"Dock Ellis Statistics", Baseball Reference.

> The Bucs won't get their paws on Daniel Cabrera. The left-handed wild child was signed by the Nats, according to Bill Ladson of MLB's Hot Stove Blog.

> The Pirates are also the darkest of horses in their chase of Derrick Turnbow and Ty Wigginton. Not only are several teams in the hunt, but Turnbow has suitors that could possibly return him to a closer role, while there are teams that see Wigginton as an everyday player, and will bid accordingly. Neither scenario is a fit for Pittsburgh.

> The Phils are shopping C Chris Conte now that they have Ronny Paulino on the roster. Paulino is younger and cheaper, and Philadelphia believes he can be a capable MLB catcher, which is more than the Pirate suits did.

GW agrees that his situation had escalated to the point where he had to go. What we don't agree with is the heavy-handed way the new management has treated some of Littlefield's guys. It smells to us like there's still a ways to go before communication and especially motivation is dealt with professionally by the front office.

It's understandable that the new sheriff in town would want to put a couple notches on the six-shooter, but the Pirates aren't in a position to fritter away talent. Some guys need tough love; others need stroked. The suits need to approach each player individually and dump their cookie-cutter, hard-guy philosophy.

> Jody Gerut agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.1775M with the Padres, thus avoiding salary arbitration, according to Corey Brock of

As you may recall, Gerut was the return for Matt Lawton in 2005, and blew out his wheel after 18 Pirate at-bats. He was out of baseball for two years before returning to hit .296 with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs in 100 games last season.


WilliamJPellas said...

I think you're right about the Huntington regime's mistreatment of Littlefield era holdovers. Littlefield stunk out loud for the most part, of that there's no question, but there were a few players drafted and developed on his watch who probably should have been retained. A lot of Huntington's dealings with Littlefield guys strikes me, as it does you, as needlessly "heavy handed". What, somebody needs to send a message? Why? Unless you buy the notion that guys like Ronnie Paulino are somehow clubhouse cancers---or maybe they just have cooties---because they came up through the system under Littlefield?

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Will, you hit on the key point - were they bad apples or just part of an "out with the old" philosphy? Not being a clubhouse insider, I don't know the answer. I can say I've never read anything negative about any of the players jerked around, except for Gorzo. Sounds like a superiority complex to me, with no reason I can see so far.
Actually, that kinda extends to their cookie cutter approach with pitchers, too, especially in the minors - strict pitch counts, limited work with off speed stuff, and the lust for big galoots that throw flames. I love a heater, but if you can throw a slider or curve for a strike, hey, that's OK by me, too.
Your "AL model" theory of team building is holding up just fine so far.

WilliamJPellas said...

I feel an offseason POTP coming on....

Ron Ieraci said...

Hey, a Christmas gift for GW to unwrap!