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WHEN FIRING THE MANAGER DOESN’T HELP

By Murray Chass

July 22, 2018

In an unprecedented wave of dismissals, three managers who led their teams to the post-season last year were excused from further duty with their teams: John Farrell in American League East champion Boston, Joe Girardi in New York with the A.L. wild-card Yankees and Dusty Baker in National League East champion Washington.

Now that the season has resumed following the All-Star break, this is a good time to see where those teams and their new managers are.

The Red Sox, under rookie Alex Cora, are exactly where they finished with Farrell, leading the A.L. East. The Yankees, also with a rookie, Aaron Boone, managing them, are in second place and have the best wild-card record.

So much for consistency. It ends with the Nationals, who have struggled in trying to justify their firing Baker and replacing him with rookie Dave Martinez. Perhaps the oddest aspect of the Nationals’ managerial machinations is they decided when they hired Baker that they would replace him after two years, no matter how well the team did under Baker.

In fact, Baker produced two division champions in two seasons, but he failed to get the Nationals beyond the division round of the post-season either year, losing five-game series to the Dodgers and the Cubs.

The Nationals, Baker said, have never explained why they limited him to two years, despite his regular-season success (95 and 97 wins).

“I was never told anything, and I didn’t ask,” he said.

Nor have the Nationals explained why …

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10 YEARS LATER …

By Murray Chass

July 15, 2018

Today’s column is being published on the 10th anniversary of the introduction of murraychass.com. Since the website’s first column, published on July 15, 2008, the site has hosted 920 columns. We thank you for being loyal readers.

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When the Atlanta Braves began their unprecedented run of 14 consecutive division championships in 1991, Alex Anthopoulos was barely a teenager. He was a 13-year-old boy growing up in Montreal, Quebec. Now a 41-year-old adult, Anthopoulos is the general manager who is directing the impressive but surprising rebirth of the Braves.

Hired only last November to succeed the scandalous John Coppolella, Anthopoulos has …

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DINNER AT THE BOONE ABODE

By Murray Chass

July 1, 2018

Imagine the dinner conversation at a Boone family gathering on a Sunday evening in November. I’m not talking about the idea that Bob Boone, the brilliant, long-time catcher, is an executive with the Washington Nationals and son, Aaron, is the manager of the New York Yankees, teams that could conceivably meet in the World Series. Their roles would be enough to fuel a long evening of spirited conversation.

But throw the word and the concept of sabermetrics into the conversation and you’d probably be wise to duck behind your chair at the dinner table.

With infielder Ray Boone having died in 2004, 60-year-old Bob Boone is the patriarch of one of baseball’s few royal families, those that have produced three generations of major leaguers.

I call on Boone occasionally to keep my views of today’s baseball in perspective. I have found over the years that our views are …

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