Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mills not sexy, says Ortiz

JJO's blog post has some reaction to the hiring of Brad Mills:

If you were paying close attention when they fired Cecil Cooper, you would have heard when Wade said that his good friend Tal Smith loves to point out that everybody does well in an interview. I've always interpreted that thinking as "we're going to bring a guy we're close with and we will never think outside the box or our friends in baseball." When was the last time the Astros' organization hired somebody who wasn't their pal?

That's not to say Brad Mills won't be a good pick.

He needs a chance, and that's all he wants, really. Is he the sexy pick? No, but who cares? The Astros don't need sexy. They just need a leader. They also need a guy that the general manager trusts...

...Now at least, Drayton can start the evaluation process he promised the fans who are wondering why his organization has become a laughinstock throughout the industry the last two years with more embarrassing national headlines than positive ones? Other than Aaron Boone's return, can you remember a positive national or local Astros story the last two years? Can you think of some embarrassing moments?

For a story I'm doing on the national perception of the Astros, one prominent national baseball writer who works for a major magazine said he couldn't comment because he didn't want his thoughts to appear as though he was being mean. You know it's bad when your organization's standing throughout the majors the last two years had fallen so low that even critics pass because they don't want to appear too mean.

There's that tease again. I seriously can't wait for the "No one likes the Astros" story. But read the whole thing, this is one meandering post (JJO's. Not mine.)

Deputy Jason will chime in with his take momentarily. Here's mine:

The 2009 Houston Astros had a problem in that the players I love in a completely heterosexual manner showed themselves to be absolute jackass punks. Under Cecil Cooper, the players were petty, inane, and played without a lick of fire. I’ve had bosses who I have not cared for, but you know what? That happens. I never had the forum or the platform to run to someone else who would leave me anonymous to let me piss and whine about it. And in this professional situation, I did my job and earned my paycheck, and supported the authority that was in place ahead of me. Because I respected my employer, and I respected myself.

That was totally lost this season. Cecil Cooper didn’t help himself any, and Ed Wade could have stepped in and done something. But he didn’t – whatever. I’ll go ahead and call out Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt in this open tirade. The Astros haven’t had any outward sign of leadership since Biggio and Bagwell left, and Lance and Roy have had the chance to step up and fill that void, and they have not done that, at least publicly.

Cecil Cooper couldn’t do it. Dave Clark may have been able to do it, but he was also in a leadership position within this team, and the problem remained. Phil Garner didn’t manage the team when Biggio wasn’t on the roster. So that’s a different consideration. But what truly concerns me about this team is that, with the impact of a manager up for debate, under Cecil Cooper the Astros acted like he was a college senior subbing in 10th Grade Chemistry. It’s preposterous to think that the players need someone to keep them motivated and playing hard, and they allowed whining and pettiness overshadow their play.

Brad Mills has dealt with whiny and he’s dealt with a complete lack of responsibility on a player’s behalf (see: Ramirez, Manny.) And you know what? They won two World Series. The talent level of the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007 were such that they could slide with that, and the Astros don’t have that luxury. But Mills deserves this chance and I’m not going to qualify it with any ridiculousness regarding the national perception of the Astros, or rate the “sexiness” of this pick.

I’m happy Brad Mills is the new manager, and hope he can rein in the runaway clubhouse that has become the Houston Astros.