Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dukes Fined, Threatened with AAA for Helping Old Ladies Across the Street

Rizzo, I'm trying to be a fan here. Really I am. But you seriously threatened to send your most talented player, arguably the best player on the team right now, to AAA, because he hung around too long at a charity event for little leaguers?

Seriously? Really? No, come now. This is a joke, right? Look, benching him was overreacting. Fining him was silly. Sending him to AAA? That can't be a serious threat. And throwing around completely idiotic, obviously hollow threats doesn't usually command respect down the chain of command.

Hey, I care about punctuality as much as the next guy, but this is the kind of thing that you deal with by just pulling the guy aside and saying, "hey, don't do that again please." Imagine in your own workplace if you were 5 minutes late to a meeting--for whatever reason--and your boss said, "if you do this again, we're going to demote you, cut your salary, and relocate you to a different city." Unless your economic situation absolutely required you to eat the shit, every one of you would tell a boss like that to kiss your ass.

Serously, five minutes late? You never got stuck in traffic, Rizzo? Manny, you never lost track of time and arrived late to a function? Shoot, it's not like he missed the first pitch of the game.

This team has big problems. A budding superstar outfielder being five minutes late is not one of them. If they really think that it's in the best interests of this horrendous failure of a franchise to deprive itself of the most talented player they have, then THAT'S a far, far bigger problem than Elijah's overzealous dedication to helping kids in the neighborhood.

24 comments:

niggledork said...

ridiculous... we're a tragedy of errors turning into farce...

Dave said...

This team cannot even spell its OWN NAME correctly on its home uniforms.

Yes, we are in trouble.

sjb said...

Source for the AAA threat please? The Nationals Journal entry linked to does not contain any such statement (which would indeed be shocking if true).

Dave said...

It came from Bill Ladson, nationals.com

JayB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JayB said...

Steven,

The AAA quote is an Acta quote not Rizzo....Ladson NOT NJ....and what I think may well be going on here spells the end for Acta very soon. I see this as Acta being passive aggressive trying to win a power struggle with Rizzo. I doubt very much that Rizzo said this at all or if he did he did not say it to Dukes. Acta leaked it to try to paint Rizzo into a corner.....Employees rarely will these types of battles with their Boss....Acta watch is at 30 days and counting down.

Trapper John said...

The threat to option Dukes is completely absurd, but not at all surprising, given the rudderless nature of the team. Everything this club does turns to shit - from the Dominican situation, to the lack of bullpen, to the Milledge mismanagement, to even the CHUD statues.

I honestly can't see the Nats progressing until the first five years are completely wiped away. Stan, Rizzo, and Manny - all of whom are extremely talented as individuals - simply will not succeed here. The team needs a fresh start.

JayB said...

Oh and Steven...as if anyone needs another reason why Acta is such a poor example of a manager....he pinch hit Alex C....just called up from AAA to get him an AB and to be nice instead of Sending Josh W up to try to extend the lead. Alex struck out on 3 pitches....and don't give me that Left Handed vs Right Handed Crap. Face it...Acta has run his course just like Alan Trammell did.....

An Briosca Mor said...

"The AAA quote is an Acta quote not Rizzo"

JayB, first off there was no quote from anyone in Ladson's article. A quote is when a statement has quotation marks around it and is attributed to someone. Like this quote that I attribute to Ladson:

"Both acting general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Manny Acta made the decision to let Dukes sit out the game, and the outfielder was warned that if he was late again, he would be optioned to Triple-A Syracuse."

Second, Ladson says Dukes was warned that he'd be sent down if he's late again, but does not say who it was that warned him. Could have been Acta, could have been Rizzo, could have been both of them together, could even have been someone else.

Third, this is strike two for Dukes on being late. He was late once last year and had to sit. He was late yesterday and had to sit as well as pay a fine. It stands to reason that a third offense would merit a stronger penalty, and Dukes has been informed that it will.

Steven said...

ABM--can you honestly say that in the last 2 years you've been late to fewer than 2 work functions?

Personally, I can't remember the last time I wasn't late to 2 work functions in a week.

An Briosca Mor said...

Different work environments have different rules. Manny Acta made it clear last year that he has very few inviolable rules, and that being on time is one of them. In any work environment, the employee needs to adjust to the rules of management. All other Nats players aside from Dukes and Milledge apparently have no problem following Manny's rules and showing up on time each and every day. I see no problem with Acta applying his rules on the team, provided he does it fairly. And from what I can tell, that's exactly what he's doing.

Steven said...

First of all, no pro sports team has equal rules for everyone.

In this case, if it was just the fine or just the benching, I would just shrug and move on. Probably not what I would do in Manny's place, but whatever.

Threatening a demotion and pay cut over 5 minutes is insane in pretty much any work environment, except maybe a war zone.

Factor in that nothing at all goes on at all in those minutes, that it's just clubhouse down time for players to prep themselves before actual scheduled events like team stretching, and you're completely in the realm of Office Space-style management knuckleheadedness.

Steven said...

I kinda wonder actually how this intense punctuality standard is enforced. We know nothing goes on in those 5 minutes, so is Manny sitting by the front door taking attendance? I mean, who would even notice a single player being 5 minutes late in a normal clubhouse?

JayB said...

Steven,

You clearly have not been any baseball clubhouse or dugout...no….. I did not make the Major Leagues but I do have some first hand experience with baseball at a high level...That deadline that Milledge and Dukes have missed is the last possible time....in reality, if you are not there 30 to 45 mins before that time you are late in everyone’s eyes....that is the issue that Milledge has bumped up against time after time.....Everyone is there hours earlier....this is the time you put in to work on your game.....look at video, talk scouting reports etc.......Once the deadline comes there is no time for that individual stuff.....you are in a group rotation of warm ups....the reason that this issue does not happen to any other players is they understand the game and how it works.....NO BODY ELSE would walk into the club house 5 mins or even 15 mins before the schedule time to be on the field. If you do you are just asking for your teammates to question your work ethic.

Steven said...

You're right Jay. I think what they need is to do it like the Bolsheviks did after 1917. See, all these peasants didn't understand that in an industrialized economy workers have to work by a clock, and to be even one minute late is unacceptable. So since these drunken farmers were used to working by the sun as the only timepiece, they really had to instill some discipline. Nothing worked until the czar authorized factory foremen to shoot any late workers on the spot. That worked. I think that's what Rizzo needs to do to show that he's really serious about discipline.

Trapper John said...

Indeed. And the players can all live in a group barracks in that building on Half Street.

JayB said...

You are good at taking everything to such and extreme that your points become meaningless. Baseball is the way it is....it is a choice....Dukes will be fine with it....he get it....Milledge did not get it at all....Lastings made his choices and is paying the price...Dukes knows how it works and likes the game....it is not a problem for him.

Steven said...

If Lastings is still walking the earth, he hasn't paid enough of a price. Clearly, he should have been smothered in the crib.

I now realize that it doesn't matter how fast you are, how good a hitter you are, plate discipline, power, on base skills... none of these things matter. We will build a winning team by evaluating players purely based on punctuality.

e poc said...

I don't know, Stephen. I mean, Kearns can't like it much if Dukes is showing up late and still gets to start while he rides the bench. Or Willingham. These guys expect to be starters and they're already sitting for a rookie. They don't complain about it, but it's a little much to take when they're doing everything they've been asked and Dukes doesn't even show up on time. I think that's the perspective you have to take if you're a manager. It's definitely a little drastic to threaten to send the guy to AAA, though, and even the fine may be excessive, given the circumstances, but I can understand it. If you're a horrible team, you don't want to send the message that players don't have to give their all and take the rules seriously. I'm just saying that I can see both sides, and there's no reason to resort to hyperbole.

It's kind of like the Milledge thing: I can see both sides. It may be that the Nats' management is ridiculously overreacting, or it could be that they're doing their best with a bad outfield situation left by Bowden.

That said, I don't understand why they'd call up Maxwell. Doesn't he need to play every day in AAA so that everyone can decide whether he's a prospect or not? This year is basically his last chance, prospect-wise. My point here, I guess, is that whatever our disagreements, I think we're in complete agreement that in general, this organization is hopelessly confused and directionless.

Michael said...

If it would bother Kearns and Willingham that they would have to ride the bench over a player who showed up a 5 minutes late (because he was do charity work), don't you think it would bother Dukes that he has to ride the bench to inferior players, who's lone attribute seems to be punctuality?

If Kearns and Willingham expect to be starters, they should perform less like bench players.

Samantha said...

I don't agree that Kearns or Willingham have performed like bench players. Willingham is a legitimate starter, and so was Kearns before his injury-riddled 2008. He's performed well so far this year. It's really not in my nature to defend an organization with such obvious faults, but I absolutely hate disingenuous arguments like some of the ones that have been put forward here in the last week or so. If Dukes has a problem with being punished for violating team rules, that is not something that Acta or Rizzo should tolerate. Are you seriously suggesting that Dukes would be justified in getting upset because his talent doesn't buy him special treatment?

And by the way, I think it's kind of absurd to claim that Dukes was late because he was doing charity work. He was late because he lost track of time. I could understand it if he had to stop on the way to the ballpark to save a child from a burning house, like Jose Canseco did in that one episode of the Simpsons, but that wasn't the case. He stayed too long at an event. The work he was doing is commendable, but a responsible adult schedules his day so that he can do his charitable work and still show up to the office on time. If he's late, no big deal, but he sits the bench for five innings and gets fined.

It's weird, because I actually logged on to say that Acta replacing Dukes with Maxwell in the seventh was the final straw, and I was done defending the organization. But here I am.

Steven said...

epoc--your position is that Dukes should get sent to AAA for the sake of Josh Willingham's feelings? Look, if they feel he needs to sit for 7 innings, fine, whatever. But if you're really arguing to send Dukes to AAA over this, then we're in extreme disagreement.

e poc said...

Steven:
This is getting ridiculous. I explicitly said that I do not think that Dukes should get sent to AAA. There is no way in which an intelligent person can misread or misconstrue what I wrote in that way, so please stop arguing against absurd strawmen. If you'd like to substantively engage what I actually did say, I'd be happy to have a discussion about it, but it is irritating that you choose to so maliciously misrepresent my position.

Steven said...

epoc--well you don't have to get pissy about it.

To be clear, we don't disagree on this. I don't have a big problem with benching Dukes. A $500 fine is whatever. The AAA threat is absurd.