Mike Brown was in the media this week for being the strong favorite to land the Indiana Pacers head coaching job. Eric Mangini, an attendee at the recent Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, was in the news this week giving his thoughts on analytics and how that could have helped him with the Browns. The other Eric, Wedge, had to be feeling left out. Thankfully, Paul Hoynes caught up with the former Tribe skipper after the Mariners-Indians spring training game yesterday. And while not specifically citing “the grind,” Wedge did deliver a few classic lines which require mockery.
Hoynes sought comment on his days with the Tribe, prompting Wedgie to respond thusly:
“I’m proud of the way we handled our business and what we meant to the game.”
I actually, legitimately, honestly, laughed out loud when I read this – and it’s hard to make me laugh. I’m not mocking this because it’s necessarily right or wrong or that I think the opposite – I mock because I just have no idea what the hell that means. “What we meant to the game”? As in a Bob Feller or Ernie Harwell or Jackie Robinson historic kind of way? As in a title contending force of nature kind of way?
Thankfully, Wedge expounds, “We did it the right way. We developed human beings on and off the field. We developed good young men and strong ballplayers.” Hmmm…still an empty quote distinguishing the Indians in no real way. I thought Wedge was a good guy and the actual impact an MLB manager has on a team’s success is a matter of dispute, but the one thing that infuriated the fan base was his bland and monotone resistance to challenging his team publicly when alarm bells were ringing all around him.
That’s why I found these quotes so amusing – it’s nostalgic and fun to look back now that his cliches are no longer driving me insane. In addition to the “what we meant to the game” line, Wedge also delivered these beauties:
1) “It’s not the best 25 players, but the right 25 players.”
2) “…you’ve got to make sure that you work to not just see around the corner, but to see all the way around the corner.”
3) “As long as they’re on board with the intangibles — being a good teammate, respecting the game, going about your business the right way and caring about what you’re supposed to care about….”
4) “It’s more about me coming in and setting the tone and bridging that gap and making sure we’re going about our business as an organization and a big-league club the way it should be done.”
Good Lord! I was both incredulous and hysterical after getting through that minefield of profundities.
Wedge did, however, fire this shot away, concerning his time in Cleveland: “The economics didn’t work out in the end, but that’s the nature of the beast.” Under Wedge, the Indians had some pretty talented guys on the roster and some pretty good teams that folded down the stretch and in the playoffs, of which economics played no part. As he states, however, “in the end,” economics did lead to the team being disbanded. Just the “nature of the beast” – whatever that means.
Grind on, Mr. Wedge. I will continue to eat up the quotes your dishing out.