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First off, check the classic shot I found of the old Wedge porn stache. I never thought I'd be pining for this guy to grow that atrocity back on his grill, but it's clear he can't coach without it. In this piece, I take a look at some paralells between Wedge and Butch as his descent was beginning. And I also have some fun with Wedge's robotic cliche laden press conferences.
I've never been a big Wedge basher. I thought he did a good job last year with this team until the 7th biggest statistical meltdown in MLB history over the seasons final week.
My take on Wedge is that he is clearly lacking in several areas, and probably in over his head, but that with the structure of this orginization, I'm not convinced that anyone else the team would realistically replace him with (Skinner, Lovullu, et al) would do any better.
It seems to me like he may be starting to circle the drain though. I see alot of paralells from when Butch's descent began.
This all said, I expect Wedge to finish out the season, and for the team to rally and play much better ball the rest of the way. I think this team will still win 85 games, maybe even 90. But it won't be enough. The Tigers are for real, and Toronto's improvement gave the East three good teams. It's gonna take 93-94 wins to get in the playoffs in my view, and the Indians have dug themselves too deep of a hole.
But Wedge ... good god, these press conferences. I happened to catch each of the last three pressers on the radio, and it's getting comical at this point, similar to the way Butch's started to get.
For a couple years we all thought Butch was the Messiah, and took his press conference speak as gospel.
Next thing you know he had a gut feeling, told the fans to get a life, started using the phrase "fighting their guts out" every 30-40 seconds, and had shitty offensive linemen "grading out at 93%" on a weekly basis.
The typical Wedge press conference goes like this:
Press: "Eric, the team is really in a rut. We're 61 games in. Any sense of panic?"
Wedge: "I believe in these guys, and we're gonna get this thing started back in the right direction. Our best baseball is ahead of us. We're just going to keep an even keel, and not get too high or too low. These guys are fighters, these guys are winners, and it's only a matter of time before that starts being reflected in the standings."
Press: "Jhonny Peralta is hitting .225 and left another 4 guys on base tonight. Any thoughts of a change?"
Wedge: "Jhonnys a figher. Hes gonna battle through this and start producing like we know hes capable of. This is an incredibly talented kid. He may be hitting .225 but hes hitting balls hard. With a couple bounces the other way, he could be hitting .360."
Press: "Couple big series ahead. Is this do or do time for the team?"
Wedge: "We're just gonna take them one at a time. We can't be worried about anything except the game in front of us each night. We're gonna keep going out there, giving it 110%, and our efforts will be validated."
Press: "Any thoughts of calling up Jeremy Sowers to replace Jason Johnson in the rotation?"
Wedge: "Jasons a fighter, and we're gonna stand by him as he battles through this thing. I thought he did some real nice stepping stone type things in his last outing, and Carl Willis saw some real progress on the game tape."
Press: "Guillermo Mota has been awful this year. How long can you can keep trotting him out there?"
Wedge: "Mota's a fighter. This guys a scrappy veteran that has a track record of proven success. We're gonna find ways to get him work and help him get this thing back on track."
Press: "Any comments on the incident between Byrd and Wickie last night?"
Wedge: "Listen, these guys are fighters. This is the type of enthusiasm and professionalism these two bring to the table. These guys are winners, and no one wants to see the ship righted more than these two guys."
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