After his firing from the White Sox, Jeff Manto landed in his old role, but with a new organization. He'll be the minor-league hitting coordinator for the Baltimore Orioles, which might be the closest thing he has to a homecoming for his journeyman career. He's fondly remembered in Baltimore for a productive 1995 season that accounted for 17 of his 31 career homers -- including four homers in four consecutive at-bats.
In talking about the role, he's just as positive as ever. But he also sounds a little different:
Manto said his four years as a major league coach will help him in this role on the O's farm as he knows what it takes to hit at the big league level.
"The ongoing thing today is being aware of your strike zone," Manto said. "That goes hand-in-hand with on-base percentage. On-base is a by product of your approach.
"We'll get with these players and teach differently at every level. You want kids to be balanced and ready to hit at the lower levels. As they progress and learn the strike zone all the major league things come into play like on-base percentage and situational hitting. It is a process, that is for sure."
He makes "on-base percentage" sound like a buzzword, but considering he's never stressed the stat before, it might sound unnatural. Whatever it is, it's a long way from this:
"Somehow, some way, you have to get to second base," said Manto. "That's why, to me, on-base percentage doesn't mean a lot for an individual player ... I mean, it's great to get on base, but does the player get to second or beyond and score runs? If not, what good is him just getting on base?"
It sounds like he's taking lessons from his Chicago tenure. Whether he's revisited his philosophy, or merely knows what to say to the media is impossible to discern, but something changed.
This probably would have been a better interview had Curtis Granderson not received a qualifying offer from the Yankees. He's great on TV, but after a while, you realize that's probably the biggest reason why Chuck Garfien wants Granderson to land with one of the two Chicago teams so badly. Baseball reasons make far less sense by comparison.
- Lloyd McClendon hired as new Seattle Mariners manager - Lookout Landing
- Lloyd McClendon: Leader Of These Men - U.S.S. Mariner
- Cubs to name Rick Renteria manager on Thursday - SBNation.com
- Cubs manager search: Epstein never contacted Red Sox about Torey Lovullo - SBNation.com
The Renteria hire seems like a rational choice, but I wonder about Theo Epstein, though. Going back to Boston days, there's a long history of drama and conflicting information around significant decisions. In this case, multiple reports said they were waiting for the World Series to end so they could interview Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo. Then it was said the Red Sox denied the Cubs permission due to the weird negotiations (see?) that resulted in Epstein coming to the Cubs. Now Peter Gammons said the Cubs never contacted the Red Sox about Lovullo at all.
Maybe it's because he's joined two teams with their own unique ecosystems, or maybe he has enough enemies springing these leaks to make him look confused, but a disproportionate amount of his acquisitions need the lint to be picked off them. It's not like the White Sox make all of their decisions with impeccable clarity, but the confusion and conjecture seldom takes place during the process.
The White Sox usually make an appearance on any list of logos or uniforms, but they're clear of scorn on this one, which mainly sticks to early drafts. The paragraph accompanying the Cubs' 1908 logo is one of the better things I've read recently.
Athletics Nation -- and SB Nation by extension -- turned 10 on Wednesday, and Billy Beane offers his congratulations in a video tribute. It's richly deserved. Blez is good people.
Rob Neyer watched an Arizona Fall League game that featured four challenges, and his initial review is mixed, although it sounds like it could be worse. The umpires did get all four calls right the first time, which is a reminder that they are pretty good at their jobs, all things considered.
I've occasionally heard about how the MLB schedule was put together by a husband-and-wife team, but I never really looked into how that happened. Now I don't have to, because ESPN Films put together this terrific 12-minute short.