Man, JJO is hammering Coop.
I figured the lineup card issue would be used as a reflective episode on Cooper's ability to manage a club, and JJO didn't let me down. Regard, word-for-word:
Here's Cooper's side of the story.
"We have three or four safeguards, two or three coaches and myself," he said. "And today no one checked it. So we're all at fault, but I take the blame ultimately because it's my responsibility. That should be the end of it."
Translation, three other people screwed up, too, but I have to answer for it.
When did you know it was wrong?
"Actually, when (the umpire) said he was out," Cooper said. "That's when I noticed it. I didn't even look at it. I put it in my pocked tonight without really checking. Usually I check it every day and today for some reason, I did not check. And no one checked. That was the snafu."
At that point, I wanted to ask Cooper why didn't you at least come out of the dugout to calm Michael Bourn and explain to him that it was your mistake and not his. Bourn is a young player who was obviously upset. Fortunately, Geoff Blum stepped in and calmed Bourn down and let him know that he didn't screw up.
I didn't ask that question because I was dying to figure out why he didn't bother to look at his lineup card. Wouldn't you have to look at it if you wrote it? So I asked, "Who wrote it?"
"I wrote it," he said. "I wrote the original lineup. Every day we come in, I write a lineup, I hand it to my bench coach. He hands it to some one who does it on the computer. There's four checks. And today nobody checked. It is my responsibility."
Cooper has led off with Kaz Matsui consistently, so that's probably why the person who wrote it kept him there on the day Cooper wanted to lead off with Bourn and bat Matsui second.
"I'm sure that's how it really came about just because Matsui is always leadoff," Cooper said. "It's my responsibility. I take full responsibility for it."
Cooper didn't help matters by waiting so long to post his lineup. I'm going to offer Cooper and his bosses a bit of advice and let them know what's going on in the clubhouse. If they have a meeting to figure out what the heck's going on, I promise Cooper and his bosses that the players will say there's a lack of communication, whether it's guys not knowing when they're going to play or pitch or if a player is going to be in the lineup on a certain day.
It's never a good sign when players are frustrated because they keep going back and forth to see if the lineup is up, which is what happened Wednesday while Cooper watched the Texans play Home Run Derby.
"That might have created some of a problem too. I was waiting to talk to a couple of guys. That might have created a problem. But, again, it's my responsibility," Cooper said of the late lineup posting.
Did Bourn appear confused?
"He was confused," Cooper said. "Yeah, he was confused, but I knew exactly what happened."
We're all human. We all make mistakes. Cooper might warrant a pass for messing up the lineup, but a leader would have gone out to tell Bourn that Bourn didn't do anything wrong. Instead, Cooper and his good friend/bench coach Ed Romero remained in the dugouts. That's when leadership was needed.
I'll say messing up the lineup card isn't such a big deal. Joe Maddon did it a few days ago, and no one is calling for his resignation. I'll do some checking today too see how the Rays fans reacted to it, but he had the pitcher hitting #3 for Evan Longoria. So let's keep some perspective here.
The issue is what happened after, and I will admit that Coop could have handled it better. Conspicuously absent from the comments from the clubhouse are Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt. Oswalt didn't have a hand in the game tonight, obviously, but those two have not said a word about Cooper - yea or nay - all season long. Are we seeing the unraveling of a Major League manager? Stay tuned...