Last night, Phil Garner had the worst meltdown of any manager or head coach since Terry Murray said his team was in a "choking situation" after the Philadelphia Flyers were whomped 6-1 to go down 0-3 to the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 (the Wings won in four). Here's what Garner said about his team after it lost a 14-inning game yesterday/this morning:
"Absolute rotten hitting.''
"We might have played 40 innings and it didn't look like we were going to get a runner across the bag.''
"It's embarrassing to play like this in front of our hometown.''
"I'm really ticked off.''
Way to stay cool under pressure, Phil. Nice to give credit to the White Sawx who held your team to one hit in nine+ innings after a disputed homer, or to praise Jon Garland who righted himself after four mediocre innings to shut your boys down.
Better yet, Phil, berate yourself for yanking Andy Pettitte after only 98 pitches in game 2 with a 4-2 lead or for not trying to squeeze home a run in the bottom of the ninth yesterday with two excellent bunters up, one out and a runner on third. What a great walk-off play that would be: it forces the defense to make a fantastic play and send the message to the team that everyone needs to do what is necessary to win.
The Great Verducci contrasts Garner (click title) with Lou Piniella:
Remember when the Yankees beat the Mariners in Seattle in two close games [to start] the 2000 ALCS [actually, 2001, which started in Seattle where the Yanks won 4-2 and 3-2; the 2000 ALCS started in NYC and the teams split -- TKM]? Then-Seattle manager Lou Piniella went to the interview room and promised the series would come back to Seattle. It didn't, but the manager took the focus off his players and at the same time tried to create a sense of confidence for them.
Perhaps that indicates why Piniella won the 1990 WS with an inferior team (90-72 Reds with up-and-down rotation v. 103-59 A's with three top starters) and will have no shortage of job offers if he wants to manage outside of Tampa.