Friday, September 26, 2014

Exclusive Interview: Pete Rose

Pete Rose was one of the most highly decorated players in baseball history. His 4,256 career hits stand alone as the most in baseball history. The switch-hitter was a former Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, 17-time All-Star, and two-time Gold Glove award winner throughout his career. He spent time at six different positions and won the batting title three times. The controversy surrounding his illustrious career began soon after Rose's playing days ended- and his managing days began. 

In 1988, as the Reds' manager at the time, Rose was given a 30-day suspension for making contact with umpire Dave Pallone. In 1989, a downward spiral that would end his managerial career began to unfold. The media reported that Rose had bet on the Cincinnati Reds- the very team he was managing at the time. He was eventually ruled permanently ineligible by major league baseball. He finished with a career record of 426-388 through parts of seven seasons. The Hall of Fame voted to exclude players on the "permanently ineligible list" in 1991. The list's sole living member at the time was Pete Rose. After many attempts to appeal and much media scrutiny, Rose admitted to gambling in his autobiography, My Prison Without Bars, divulging that he bet daily on the Reds, but never against them.

Q: With the possibility of a new commissioner replacing Bud Selig in the next year, do you see a possibility to be re-instated in the future?
A: I don't even worry about that. I have other things to worry about. Bud Selig is a good commissioner and has done a lot of good things for baseball. Sorry to see him go.

Q: Do you see Las Vegas as a city that would be capable of having a major league baseball team?
A: I think it could, but you would need a dome stadium. It is too hot for people to go to the stadium in July and August.

Q: In your opinion, who is the best current manager in the major leagues and why?
A: Nobody is a good manager unless their players make them good. Right now, I could say that the manager in Milwaukee is the best with 51 wins. You could say that Bruce Bochy is the best manager with a couple World Series rings. There are a lot of younger managers in the game today. The Jim Leyland's, Tony LaRussa's, and Dusty Baker's of the game are gone.

Q: What was your favorite city to play in? (aside from Cincinnati)
A: I like the AstroTurf. Philly, Pittsburgh, Houston, St Louis.

*NOTE: The interview above was conducted on June 29th, 2014*

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Career of Frank Garces

In 2009, Frank Garces started his professional baseball career with the Texas Rangers, by signing with the team as a 19-year old amateur free agent. After a poor performance, tossing 16.1 innings (9BB/12K) with the Rangers' Dominican Summer League (DSL) team, Texas decided to release him. Garces spent the next season pitching in an independent league in the Dominican Republic. In 2011, he signed a minor league contract with the Padres organization, once again finding himself in the DSL. The southpaw pitched considerably better his second time around, striking out 115 in 71.2 innings while only walking 20 and posting a 2.51 ERA. 

His next season saw him promoted to Fort Wayne (skipping two minor league levels!) and a continuation of his excellence. Throwing 50 more innings than the season before, Garces appeared to have broken out to a tune of a 2.81 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 25 starts. Unfortunately, his 2013 season was a disaster, with his ERA doubling in the hitter friendly California league. His K/BB ratio did not change much, but he gave up considerably more home runs (0.9 higher HR/9 in 2013 than 2012). The Padres management decided to transition Garces to a bullpen role, and promote him to San Antonio.

Garces' conversion was a major success, as he strung together eight saves and a 1.93 ERA in 51 appearances for Double-A. His performance in the bullpen led the front office to give Garces a shot in the big league bullpen after Jesse Hahn was sent to the minors. In his first 12 major league relief appearences, the San Cristobal native has struck out seven in seven and two thirds innings, while only allowing two runs. 

Frank Garces' strong season, coupled with his August and September showing in the major leagues, could lead the once minor league free agent to a job in the Padres' bullpen next season. With six players currently on the 60-day disabled list, and Rule V eligible prospects needing protection, tough roster decisions loom ahead.