Hidden amongst everybody waxing poetic about Lou Piniella, comes this quote from Carl Crawford (hat-tip to RaysRev.com)…

I’m glad I played for Lou because he gets everything out of you. You don’t lollygag at all. Some things you guys see now, wouldn’t happen if Lou was here. I guarantee that.

We don’t think think many people will be surprised to hear that Joe Maddon at times runs a loose ship. But we are surprised to hear a player take a thinly veiled shot at a manager that many would call a “player’s manager.” And it is surprising when that player is a superstar very near free agency.

We have long wondered aloud if the Rays would have been better off had Piniella and Maddon reversed their tenures with the team. That is, have Maddon develop and grow the roster and maybe Piniella would have done a better job maximizing the talent once it was in place.

As for the “lollygag” comment…is that a shot at BJ Upton, or the team in general? Obviously Upton’s recent incident received the most attention. But there certainly could be others that didn’t lead to a dugout confrontation and that the fans didn’t see.

In some ways, we are hoping it was a shot at Upton. Because if not, then Crawford is saying that “lollygagging” is an inherent trait of this team. And that is not good.

 
 

37 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Yeah, I read his comments about Piniella and also wondered if there was an implied criticism of Maddon.

    But….who has been the more successful manager over the past 5 years?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      That is certainly the counter-argument. I do think Piniella has been dealt an awful hand in Chicago, but I don’t know if he could have done any better with the ’08 Rays.

    • Alex says:

      That’s a stupid argument. No one the Rays had in the first 6 ish years would of done anything with the team the way it was. The management was awful. The talent was awful. Maddon got lucky on so many levels. He got a team filled with talent and upcoming talent (Shields/Carl/BJ/Kaz etc…). We got a new owner and a new gm/president/ whatever Gary Hunsicker is, who actually knew what they were doing and made some ridiculous trades/draft picks (Longo, Price, Garza, Bartlett, Zo, Edwin, Dino). One of the main cogs on this team, Pena, didn’t even make the team in 07. He was cut by Maddon for Greg Norton. Norton has hit 18 hr’s since 07. Luckily Norton got hurt at the end of spring training that year.

    • dno says:

      I am so tired of these “fans” ignorant responses of “who has been the most successful manager over the past 5 years?” or ” We still have the second best record in baseball”. Both of these comments will change if Joe Madden does not changes his ways, or is fired.
      Here’s the facts: The Ray have been winning “in spite of” Joe Madden.

      The credit goes to the ownership and management for bringing in such great talent.

      The problem is that Joe Madden screws are around so much with the lineup that our players do not have a chance to get into a groove. You see the two players that Joe does not mess with Evan and Carl, both of them are the most consistent players we have; both because of their talent, and the fact that they are into a groove. Pat “the bat” Burrell was a bust because Joe would not let him get into a groove and play outfield.
      While I really like Joe Madden the person, Joe Madden the coach is a wussy, and he a babies his players. In fact, there is a running joke in the farm system that when a player is getting called up to the Rays, they give them their uniform along with a tutu.

      I’m not saying Lou Pinellas would have made a difference, but Joe definitely needs to change his ways…And hopefully management will force that issue.

      Plus, the hitting coach (who was fired from his last job with a last-place team) needs to go. He was hired becaose he is a friend of Joe’s and chares Joes same flawed mindset.

      In closing, I’d like to also say that Rich Herrera on the postgame show is a ***hole to callers, and is nothing more than an apologist for Joe Madden.

  2. Interesting, although I don’t think Lou and Andrew Friedman would have made as good of a fit.
    I wonder if this will gain any traction. Then again, I would say some weird things too if I got smacked in the little Jordis with a pickoff throw.

  3. Gus says:

    I think CC is probably referencing Pat Burrell first and foremost. Remember, they came to blows in Baltimore in September and PB was thereafter deemed a clubhouse “black cloud” by Joe Henderson.

    Someday, we’ll get the story of what was behind all that, but what choice did Maddon really have when his GM went out and blew 1/7th of the budget on the most obvious case of “fading steroid slugger syndrome” seen this side of Mark McGuire.

    You also know that if Upton pulled an “Upton” with Lou in the dugout or feigned a leg strain as a protest of being benched, he’d not get treated with the kid gloves that Merlot Joe and Andy treat him with.

    Surprised that both BJ and CC spoke so well of him. Lou is a throwback I guess that the players appreciate in the era of quant analysis.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I don’t know if a lot of players appreciate Lou. But I’m not surprised Crawford does. He has always been a max-effort guy and I always got the impression that he cares about winning as much as anybody. In all his years with the Rays I don’t remember a single incident where Crawford took a play off. Maybe it has happened, but it is rare. And i don’t really ever remember CC doing something dumb. And that is what Lou always asked of his players. Give 100% and don’t do anything dumb.

      • Gus says:

        BJ’s failures stand in sharper relief because he is next to CC in the OF and should have been next in line for stardom. At some point it almost seems like instead of emulating CC and battling, BJ went the other way, and started hanging out with the kids smoking in the Boys room.

        But I’m with Hunsicker and Buddhaboy (the baseball Difler is about right) — Upton is an enigma wrapped up in a riddle that is beyond worrying about. I’d prefer Ruggiano or Zobrist or CC or whoever else we can get to play CF. BJ needs a new home for his own sake and the Rays sake. Good like Melvin. We had high hopes for you, but now you don’t even justify $3M a year.

      • Andy says:

        Ummm….what about the time in ’08 when he allowed a runner to score from first on a single, and leter complained to the media that Maddon “ambushed” him by putting him in center-field?

  4. Buddhaboy says:

    I agree Cork Gaines. I absolutely love watching Crawford play, almost everynight, except when Maddon decides he needs his rest. My boss told me he didnt like Crawford because he believes he is a THug. I then told him he couldnt be further from the truth…CC has been a very professional baseball player and citizen in TB, even when this team was the Devil Rays…Enjoy watching him now, cause most likely we will only be seeing him next year 18 times or less, hopefully less and not with the Spanks or the Crapsox.

  5. Joe D. says:

    I think that out goes back to the Delmon Young ’07 incidents, and Upton ’08. I remember after Upton ’08 the second time Maddon said it was on the players to police them selves, and Cliff Floyd took that role, now I think ere seeing CC, and Longo doing more of the policing.

  6. Buddhaboy says:

    Another thing on BJ, who is letting him get away with his bad mechanics? HIs hips turned towards 2nd while taking his lead off of 1st, and his bad timing mechanism in his swing, which makes him late on average fastballs. He is the most frustrating athlete i have watched in Tampa since Trent Dilfer.

  7. Amanda says:

    *gasp* How dare Carl Crawford question Joe Maddon! What does he know … errrrrrr ……

    So we’ve already had Long have to explain to Maddon that he should be hitting in the 3-hole. And Zobrist saying that the constant lineup changes is difficult because you never know where you’re going to hit or what to expect. And now CC saying that there’s a lollygagging attitude to the team and nobody is stopping it (save for Longo in the dugout).

    Look, for the most part, I do like Maddon. A few of the unconventional things that he’s done I really like, especially daring this team to believe that they’re not forced to accept their past legacy as their future. But it’s those square-peg-into-round-hole things that he’s done that really drive me up the wall. Keeping a BJ Upton in the lead-off spot with a Mendoza-esque average for most of that year because he was wishing and hoping that he would break through just doesn’t cut it.

    • ramedy says:

      You’ve completely misquoted Zobrist. Here’s what he said: “The effect that it could have if you let it is you could get frustrated thinking, ‘Well, maybe I could hit better if I stayed in the same spot.’ I think all those are excuses.”

      Longoria’s numbers in 2010 are pretty close to the same batting 3rd or 4th – a few more walks at 3rd, a few more home runs at 4th, but everything else very close. But how about credit for Maddon eventually leaving him in the spot where he is more comfortable, despite there not being much proof of it.

      Whether CC was expressing what was immediately on his mind or speaking more to something that’s bothered him for years, did you ever consider that sometimes players might be off-base or wrong? Even Carl Crawford?

  8. Hal says:

    CC’s always been really honest with the press and doesn’t seem to have much of a filter. I don’t think he was really taking a shot a Maddon intentionally, I just think that he really liked Lou. Lou was here for the shit with Carl.

    • Beth says:

      Hal, I agree with you, one of the endearing things about CC has been how he just says whatever is on his mind at the time. But I’ll say one thing….if he has any thoughts about signing in NY, he might want to rethink this refreshing honesty. Here he’s just got us bloggers mulling over his words — if he’d made an off hand comment like this about, say, a departed Yankees manager it would be shouted from the back page of the NY Post and would be the lead story on Baseball Tonight. (See, Carl, you really want to stay here, don’t you?)

    • Cork Gaines says:

      That is why I framed this more as a question. If this was somebody else, I might have been more inclined to think it was malicious. But as you said, he’s always honest, and even if it wasn’t intended as criticism his honesty tells me that he thinks the ship is run a little too loose.

      • Beth says:

        Clearly Maddon likes a loose, relaxed atmosphere, and maybe there are some downsides to that.

        But I question whether the managers who appear to run a “tight ship” — yelling a lot, giving a lot of high Octane speeches — really, in the end, get more out of their players. Sometimes I think they just satisfy fans and the media who want to see a manager screaming when things don’t go well.

        Ultimately I’ll bet there’s a lot of individual variability in which players respond well to which sort of manager. Personally, I perform better at my job with a supervisor who is supportive and respectful and talks to me quietly about my short comings, and I can’t imagine most players are all that different.

        • Stephanie says:

          There is a lot of middle ground between Maddon and Piniella. Joe could run a tighter ship without resorting to yelling and screaming.

  9. Stephanie says:

    “As for the “lollygag” comment…is that a shot at BJ Upton, or the team in general?”

    I’d go with the team in general. Some stuff we know about, some we can guess, but Upton isn’t the only one. Obviously, it isn’t all the players. I do think it is more than just BJ.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      That’s what I thought at first also. But CC adds that line “things you guys see now.” That tells me he is talking about Upton because that is the only one that got a lot of press. But as somebody else pointed out, he might also be referring to Delmon Young, but that is not “now.”

      And he also might be referring to Upton but just as an example. That’s kinda where I think he was going. So I think he did throw BJ under the bus a little but he might have been doing that to make a general statement.

      • Stephanie says:

        I agree that Upton is the most obvious example, but we also saw Rodriguez ditch the team when they were playing the team they are chasing.

        I agree more with your second point that he may be using Upton as a an example, since BJ is the one everyone knows about. I suspect there is more to it than just BJ. Of course, this is just speculation and I could be completely wrong.

        (And the Cubs have had their share of problems under Lou, but that is for a different descussion.)

  10. Brian H says:

    I see it not as much as a swipe on current management as is just stating the lack of tolerance pinella had for these things. Basically he is just saying in other words “its completely different managing style”. Some may see that as a swipe but crawford probably has a list of reasons why this managment is better for this team.

  11. Don says:

    I don’t think CC was pointing to ANYONE in particular…
    but talking about a general atmosphere that almost anything
    goes…ole Joe will back you…most recent the Rodz. caper!
    CC is one of a kind, ability and attitude to do the job,
    he doesn’t say much to guys like Upton because he doesn’t understand the way they work and live..its not him..so what!
    Unlike most Rays fans I hope if they lose CC because they won’t PAY him what he deserves…I hope and pray he goes to the Yankees or Red Sox…and he will make the Rays PAY him everytime they play his team! yo da man Carl!

  12. Turner says:

    I think JoeMa came along at the perfect time and I don’t think we’d be further along with Lou here. I do think CC was calling out Upton though. I really wish we could get rid of BJ.

  13. Kelley says:

    I would be really surprised if he were referring just to BJ. I think they’re really tight, from what I’ve seen, and I can’t imagine he would be throwing BJ under the bus like that. I think there’s more solidarity between him and BJ than that.

  14. Alex says:

    This team sorely missed Cliff Floyd/Eric Hinske this year and last year. They were the guys that kept everyone in line.

    How many unconventional managers have won in the past 10 years? There’s a difference between Maddon, who thinks he has to be the smartest person on the field, and a quiet manager.

    Torre is/was a quiet guy. I believe McKeon was a quiet guy he may have been like Leyland though. Scioscia is a quiet guy who does some unconventional things, but not on the level of his former brainiac bench coach. LaRussa is quiet. Francona is quiet. Girardi is quiet. Manuel is quiet. Ozzie Guillen is not quiet.

    So in the past 10 years, 9/10 guys that won the World Series were quiet managers who were rather conventional. So why does Maddon always think outside the box. Sometimes things are done a certain way because they work.

    • Hal says:

      I agree with missing Floyd. The other guy I really think we miss is Gomes. When he left I didn’t anything of it; hell he had to sign a minor league deal with the Reds to even make it back to the bigs. His performance in Cinicinnati on the field has been way over expectations (and simply blows away abyone else we’ve had in the DH spot), but the other stuff is what we miss. He kept it loose and was the first one to fight when need be.

      I swear that the Franchise turning point was the pre-season fight with the Yankees in ’08. Gomes flying in from nowhere – NO MORE BULLSHIT!

  15. Eric S says:

    I personally don’t think Lou Pinella would have mattered here the last few years. Some of the things Maddon has done drives me up the wall. The constant lineup changes, resting of players and the lax attitude do trouble me. But I do see the positive in the things he does as well.

    Pinella though is one of the most overrated managers. The guy had some of the best teams in baseball in Seattle and never sniffed the World Series. The 2001 team won the most games in history and they go out in a whimper against the Yanks in the ALCS. He did win the 1 WS with the Reds and should be applauded for that. Pinella had some very good teams the previous 3 years with the Cubs. The 2008 team had the best record in the NL and many thought it was the year they would make the World Series. But no they were surprised in the first round and looked horrible doing it. 1 World Series appearance in 23 years of managing is not very good. And some of those teams were great and they just underachieved. He is a better than average manager, but let’s not say he was a great manager. He clearly wasn’t.

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