From Joel Sherman, "The churlish Wickman sensed his job slipping away, and in the bullpen during games complained about how his new manager (Torre) was using him. He also railed against the expanding role of (Mariano) Rivera, slamming the notion that any hurler with just one pitch could thrive for an extended period.
- It was just a matter of time, Wickman told the veterans in the pen, before the league deduced the parlor trick and began walloping one-pitch Mariano Rivera. Plus, if the one-pitch inventory did not eventually nullify Rivera, then he was certain to be undone by his size--or lack of it."
Wickman's comments made in 1996, reported by Joel Sherman on page 72 of his book, "Birth of a Dynasty" published in 2006.
- The AP article reporting Wickman's separation from the Atlanta Braves today illustrates a big problem. It's the "third rail" of baseball--you'll be demonized if you speak of it. INSTEAD OF TALKING ABOUT WICKMAN'S PITCHING SKILLS, THE ARTICLE FOCUSES ON A SMALL ASPECT OF THOSE---THE TOTAL SAVE STAT. This continues the media frenzy of recent years. The point has been to build this single stat, often quite misleading, into 2 things: a Cy Young award and a Hall of Fame induction.
Once in awhile you'll see a timid article or voice tip-toeing around this topic, but they don't have the nerve to name the focus of the cheapening of the save stat today, which is a national league west coast 1 inning pitcher (who has repeatedly proved he's not a big game pitcher). If I named him even on this small blog, my name would be publicized around the internet as a hysterical, demented, conspiracist. That's what the baseball media and internet has done to baseball records today. If you agree with them reality counts. If you don't, that's the end of you.
Easy Solution: If newspapers won't stop printing propaganda, stop inviting the writers to tv and radio interviews. (sm)