The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Baseball Blog

February 19, 2008

The myth of veteran leadership

First day of official workouts, and Ron Gardenhire had to have a talk with Livan Hernandez about Livan's earrings and unwillingness/inability to keep up in the running drills.

Just a little reminder about the limitations of what the Twins broadcast mouthpieces lovingly refer to as "veteran leadership." If part of the rationale for importing Hernandez was to have an established starter for the 26-and-under crowd to model their behavior on, it's off to a rocky start.

The earrings are a minor thing. The running isn't. That's an issue that gets to the core of spring training. If Livan can loaf through his wind sprints, why can't Scott Baker or Glen Perkins or Mulvey?

Earl Weaver used to say that the most important thing in his managerial career was that in his first spring training his stars — guys like Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson — went through all the drills, all the practices, with full effort. If the stars brought into it, the role players would follow. For a career minor leaguer like Weaver, it was vital; the Robinsons could have ruined his opportunity. Gardenhire's established now, and hernandez is no Hall-of-Famer in waiting, but the principle is the same.


A unique aspect of spring training 2008 is the fallout from the Mitchell Report. All over the game, guys named in the report as steroid or human growth hormone users are reporting to camp and hoping to make the issue go away in a hurry.

Andy Pettitte's apologia was the most high-profile, in part because of the Roger Clemens factor, in part because it's the Yankees, in part because he has admitted, under oath, use of HGH that went beyond what was in the Mitchell report.

But the basic rule has been to follow the Jason Giambi example: A vague "apology" for unspecific "mistakes" and "distractions." Paul Lo Duca. Paul Lo Duca. Eric Gagne. They're sorry they got caught, and that's the extent of their sorrow.

If gassy insincerity is all they have to offer on the subject, they should just shut up.

e-mail Edward Thoma

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Baseball Blog
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Free Press news updates
Special Promotions
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands