A Few Minutes with Showalter
With the Rangers in Baltimore for a four game set, I had an opportunity to
ask Ranger manager Buck Showalter a few questions. While he has a reputation
for being regimented and punctillious, he can be surprisingly relaxed, loquacious,
even humorous. There's no question that his team has a strict schedule
on game day, but the Ranger players are more bothered by security procedures
at the ballpark than they are with Buck's disciplined leadership.
What is the biggest change since you were managing in Arizona?
The biggest change for me in our game is the continued decline of foul ground.
If you're a hitter and looking at playing the Mets, and them taking
away another 5-6 feet in foul ground for a few more rows of seats... Orel
[Hershiser, Rangers pitching coach] was talking about one of the biggest
differences for him and all these new stadiums is just that the foul ground
is going away.
What's your philosophy on pitch counts? Especially for young
pitchers like Benoit and Lewis.
I try to be protective. A lot of it has to do with how stressful their
outing is going. I think you kind of have to watch the flow of the
game. Obviously, for a young pitcher, you have to monitor innings
compared to where they've been in a career. You take a young pitcher like
a Kerry Wood and go from throwing 100 innings or whatever and all of a sudden
jumping up to 200 plus, you're asking for trouble. You may not know
it, you may not realize it until the following year. Especially with
some of the Latin kids who pitch a lot winter ball. But pitch counts
- sometimes I think they can be used as a crutch. We look at whether
a guy is gonna have an extra day next time out whether we can extend him
a little bit. (editor's note: only Ryan Drese has thrown more
than 120 pitches in an outing this season, and neither Benoit or Lewis has
thrown more than 110 pitches in any start)
I don't think there's any one set "this is the way" to do it. Every
pitcher is a little bit different. I mean if I took Randy Johnson out
every time he hit 100 pitches... one, it wouldn't be a whole lot of fun doing
it, I can tell you that. Of course Randy is a little different than
any guy I ever met. You throw out all rules of thumb so to speak about
handling starting pitching with him. He was not a freak of nature;
he was just different than anybody. He was just warming up at around
115. It's just an indication of just how strong he is. There
are rules for everybody and Randy's were a little different.
Is the whole idea of playing Teixeira in the outfield preparing for
the National League?
Some of it. It's one of the factors. We've talked about it.
Any reaction to pitchers working Teixeira a little more aggressivly
inside? Knocking him down?
I think it's a good experience for him. There are about 5 guys in
the league that are gonna do that. It brought back a lot of memories
yesterday of Travis Lee. They really stuck it to that poor kid. But
that's the kind of thing that could put me over the edge if they keep picking
on him, though.
How much input have you had in the upcoming amateur draft?
None. And that's the way I like it. And I won't afterwards either.
I've been in those rooms and it's a lot of fun... now. When you
take them, and I mean the signability thing is such a.. y'know a guy may
fall just because of signability. There are so many factors that people
don't realize that figure in the process of picking players. It's not
a pure "who's the best". It's tough. Scouting directors have
a tough job.
Anybody's who's got it figured out that there one way to do it all the time,
you tell me... you figure out what 17- or 18-year old guys are gonna do,
let me in on it. Harold Reynolds had a great line. We were doing
a pre-game for the College World Series and they were trying to get us to
do predictions on the air and it came to Harold and he said, "you think I'm
gonna predict what 17- or 18- year old kids in Omaha are gonna do and who's
gonna win... well, it ain't me." Georgia Tech went down [referring
to their second loss in the regional seminfinals in this year's College World
Series playoffs] They're gone. That's the highest seed gone.
Is Teixera taking that one hard?
Well, I don't know. (smiling) Maybe I shouldn't play him tonight.