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April 24, 2024 45 mins

In this episode of 'The Book of Joe Podcast', Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci open with Mike Trout being moved to the leadoff spot for the Angels.  Joe talks about making lineup changes to shake things up verses making long term changes.   Can players be 'called out' anymore?  We move to Aaron Boone's ejection and the ongoing riffs between managers and umpires.  Joe reveals what most got him in trouble from the dugout and how he decided which umps he would argue with.  Tom touches on the passing of Dickey Betts and the impact of The Allman Brothers.

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe podcast is a production of iHeartRadio.
Hey there, welcome or welcome back. You have found the
most interesting baseball podcast on the planet. It's The Book
of Joe with me, Tom Berducci and of course Joe

(00:24):
Madden and Joe going to start off with our leadoff hitter,
which is Mike Trout. Yeah, Mike Trout leading off for
the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday Night. And I think
Joe the last time he did it was for you
back in twenty twenty in the second game of a
double header.

Speaker 2 (00:40):
Okay, do you remember that?

Speaker 3 (00:43):
You know what if I don't distinctly remember that, but
it's something I used to do often. If a guy
was struggling at all, as opposed to moving him down,
I would move him up. That started out in the
minor leagues in nineteen eighty five with Kevin King in Midland, Texas.
Big guy looked like Don Baylor, struggled in the first
half at two thirty three with seven homers, ended up
hitting three hundred with thirty just by moving him up

(01:05):
to the leadoff spot. So it's a different mindset. You
approach it differently. Nobody's better lead off hitter in history
than Anthony Rizzo. Risby still giggle about that. But I'd
prefer moving up than moving down.

Speaker 1 (01:15):
Yeah, I want to ask you about that, because obviously
the angels were scuffling a little bit.

Speaker 2 (01:20):
Mike was scuffling a little bit.

Speaker 1 (01:22):
Ron Washington went up to Mike trout of course, and
asked him about it.

Speaker 2 (01:26):
You know, Mike is like, whatever you want to do,
that's right, that's right. I'm good, that's right.

Speaker 3 (01:31):
Yeah. I mean, I don't think Michael really wants to
hit leadoff. He preferred not, but under the circumstances, like
I said, it's just rearranging the chairs on the deck,
you know, you just do that. I did it with
long Ago and Longo didn't like it, but there was
a time he was really struggling and moved Loongo up
there and even it goes back. I think that was
like kind of maybe influenced by Gene Mak. With Brian Downing,

(01:51):
nobody understood why Jean hit Brian first, but Brian had
such a great I had to play the accepted his walks.
He got hit by a pitch a Lotti at power.
It's almost like schorebrick, but nothing before you know it
so again, we've had such a pre conceived a mental
notion of what a lead off hitter is supposed to
look like, and even for years, what's number two supposed
to look like? And you know, they're supposed to be

(02:11):
the guy that could bunt and hit and run and
all this other stuff. For me, I always wanted by
my number two guy, make sure that my number three
guy got up there with the with the runner and
scoring position. I kind of that was my eighties mentality
with it. So, yeah, it's an interesting situation. So it's
interesting spot, and I think it's one of those things
you have to rethink based on your personnel.

Speaker 2 (02:31):
Yeah, and listen, it's kind of like the weather.

Speaker 3 (02:34):
Right.

Speaker 1 (02:34):
Everybody likes talking about lineup construction, but I'm not sure
that there's a big effect here.

Speaker 2 (02:40):
Especially a short term.

Speaker 1 (02:41):
You know, Listen, I would not I don't like the
idea of Mike Trout batting leadoff, except you want to
shake things up. I get that the idea that you're
guaranteeing he takes his first at bat in the game
with nobody on base, and the fact that after that
he's following the number nine spot in the order, which
says a twot eighty one on base percentage for the Angels.
I don't like sending Mike Trout up to the plate

(03:02):
that many times with nobody on base.

Speaker 2 (03:04):
I'm sorry.

Speaker 1 (03:04):
Over the long haul, it does not make sense. Short term, sure,
it's a different look and shakes things up, you know, Joe,
you know this. Sometimes you have to do something that's
a little bit unworthodox, so you look at a problem
or an approach in a very different way. I think
as a change of scenery. If you will, it can work.
I would never leave him there long term though.

Speaker 3 (03:25):
One of the things when I was with the Cubs
as a National League manager, I used to occasionally hit
the picture eighth in a position player ninth, and a
lot of it was to feed one too. You know.
I just did not like the picture coming up before
dexter if. I wanted KB in the two hole as
an example, so I actually Pete Rose asked me about
that once at a card say hey, why do you

(03:46):
hit the picture eight? So that was part of it.
The other part of it. In the National leagueland Up,
I wanted to clear him sooner, because of course he's
got to hit every time up. If you clear him
sooner you get a sooner opportunity to possibly pinch hit
for him in a hard situation. That number eight spots.
So I liked it for that. I really got to
to like it a lot for that particular reason. But

(04:06):
I also felt somewhat better to have a position player
hitting in front of one and two.

Speaker 2 (04:11):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (04:11):
Well, listen, we've seen it, Joe. How the leadoff spot
has really changed over time. You know, you go back
to the seventies and you had guys like Omar moreno
hdt lead off for the Pirates just because he was fast.
He didn't get on base, he had no power, but
he was fast, so he batted lead off. If you
look historically the three seasons with the most home runs
out of the leadoff spot twenty nineteen, twenty twenty one,

(04:35):
and twenty twenty three, teams are packing their lineup with
power at the top. And now, listen, there's more power
in the game anyway. I get that, But people want
home run hitters at the top of the lineup. On
base percentage, last year it was three point forty at
leadoff spot. That was the most in the last fourteen years.
But in baseball history that's only sixty first.

Speaker 2 (04:55):
Wow, So it's they're.

Speaker 1 (04:57):
Not getting on base as much, but they are slugging more.
That's kind of typical what the game is you think
about speed? Yeah, of course last year stolen bases went
up because of the new rules, but still we still
haven't got back to even a twenty fourteen level, not
even close to it in terms of stolen bases at
the leadoff spot.

Speaker 2 (05:14):
So the leadoff spot is different.

Speaker 1 (05:16):
It's almost like your number two or three hitter back
in the day is now in that leadoff spot. What
do you think, Joe, about guys hitting leadoff? Can anybody
hit leadoff? Have you had people who told you I
don't like to hit leadoff? What about the kind of
the mental component to hitting leadoff?

Speaker 3 (05:32):
I think that's the biggest part of it, honestly. I
mean Carl Crawford did not want to hit leadoff, and
I love CC, but CC he loved the two hole.
It was his comfort zone. He wanted to be in
the two hole. So I might have done it a
couple times with him, but I know he would always
fight back on it, So I did not want to
do that. I know Mike Drought did not necessarily like
to do that. So I didn't want to push him
on that either. But the big one was Carl, because Carl,

(05:54):
you would think perfectly fit into that role, but he
really did not like it. On the other hand, Schwarber.
When I had schwarbz in with the Cubs early on
in his career, I wanted him to hit lead up.
I thought it was a you talked about it kind
of there with the combination of power and I thought
on base percentage, I thought he would accept his walks.
But if the strike up became so prominent the first

(06:16):
time he tried it that it really kind of washed out.
And of course it took the second time again. Not
a prototypical leadoff hitter, but wow, forty some homers and
then they're leading one nothing a lot when he does that.
So yeah, it's it's a combination of things, a combination
of thoughts. It's the mentality of the player. Another on
like Dexter. Fowler loved it. And Dexter would go through

(06:36):
some periods man, where he punched out a lot for
he would go some he would get he would disappear offensively,
but man, when he got hot, he'd carry it for
weeks or months. I mean it was. It's just it
is a it's a mindset. It's not mining to be
the first guy up there. Some are not uncomfortable. They
want to see a couple of pitches, they want somebody
to come back and see what they're seeing, et cetera.

(06:58):
So it is it's it's a it's a mentality. Uh,
you get the right kind of blend of ability skill
set where the guy knows how to accept his walks,
gets on base, has a little pop, caet at least
put the ball in the gap like Zobrist. I mean,
Ben was not, you know, prototypical anything, but Soe was
really good at that because he did he was on
base a lot, but he had some pop and he

(07:19):
did not mind doing it. Zoe is the consummate utility guy.
So I think it comes down to a combination of
skill set and you have to have the right mindset
to want to do it.

Speaker 2 (07:27):
That reminds me of each hero.

Speaker 1 (07:28):
Suzuki he used to love hitting lead off, especially on
the road because and this is typical each hero. He
would say, the batter's box was perfect, undisturbed.

Speaker 2 (07:37):
Almost like a zen garden.

Speaker 3 (07:38):
That's right.

Speaker 1 (07:39):
I was going to say, let's talk about Mike Trout, Okay,
because I think we're looking now at a different phase
of Mike Trout's career. And actually we've seen in the
last couple of years Mike Trout to me, is going
to hit if he stays healthy, fifty home runs this year.
He has become a premiere slugger. He's not going to
be the average hitter that he was before. He's still

(08:00):
a few bases, but you know, you don't want him
running a lot. But when you look at the type
of hitter Mike Trout has become, he is a extreme
fly ball hitter. He pulls the ball a lot more
than he did in the past. He swings and misses
more than he does in the past. But when he connects,
he's hitting home runs. When he's hitting fly balls, they're
going out at a tremendous rate.

Speaker 2 (08:19):
Is nine home runs and twelve RBIs this year.

Speaker 1 (08:23):
So if I'm telling you, Joe, I believe if Mike
Trout plays a full season, he's going to hit at
least fifty home runs, and I think he's become a
premiere slugger rather.

Speaker 2 (08:34):
Than we used to talk about Mike as the best
hitter in baseball.

Speaker 1 (08:37):
Right now, I think that's joey Otani, But in terms
of elite slugger, that's the way I look at Mike
Trout right now.

Speaker 3 (08:43):
Well, again, if you want to go that direction with him,
there's a lot of comps there with Scherburn in a
sense because for me, Kyle's always hit a lot of
solo home runs, and I think if Mike continues to
hit like at the top of the batting order, he
might get pitched out a little bit more. But if
you put him a little bit more deeply into the lineup.
And this is a weird philosophy, but like which we're two,

(09:04):
I don't think he gets as pitched it at a
home run with as often. I mean, pitchers know that
there's people on base. I'm not going to, you know,
just challenge him in this situation, whether it's a breaking
ball strike or even velocity down, which Michael loves. So
I think there's a component to that too. When you
see homers and a little number of RBIs, these are
the guys that are getting challenged with nobody on base,

(09:25):
not so much with people on Troy Glass for a
while did that early on in his career, also with
the Angels. I usually see a big homer number and
not such a big RBI number because he gets challenged
more with nobody on just watch that stuff. I'm a
believer in that there's a certain group that they're so
respected by the other side that they will they get

(09:45):
pitched that differently with RBI situation versus not.

Speaker 1 (09:49):
Yeah, by Trout right now, ten singles, nine home runs,
so when he hits the ball, it's going out. And
I want to ask you about a situation the other
night before Mike hit lead off, there was he made
the last out of the game against the Baltimore Orioles,
loaded bottom of the ninth inning, Craig Kimberle on the mound,
and you know this is a matchup what kimber was

(10:09):
going to try to do. Kimberle's got that high angle
fastball top of the zone. We all know that's the
one places pitchers like to attack. Mike Trout fastballs at
the top of the zone. Mike looked at four pitches,
three of those were strikes. He struck out for the
lost out of the game without swinging the bat. And
then after the game, Ron Washington said, you've just got
to swing the bat there, And I think some people

(10:33):
when they saw the quote Joe took it as the
manager sort of calling out Mike Trout. I didn't have
a problem with it. I mean, it's pretty obvious. I'm
sure Mike would say the same thing. I mean, he
obviously wasn't seeing that fastball as well as he thought.
You know, Mike has done a good job staying off
the high fast balls out of the zone, and he
must have thought they were out of his zone. But listen,

(10:54):
I go back to the days where managers like Billy Martin,
Dallas Green, Davy Johnson. These managers would call out players.

Speaker 2 (11:01):
On a daily basis.

Speaker 1 (11:02):
I mean, feeling would be hurt all the time and
the manager didn't care. So in today's game, when you
have a manager who says about Mike Trout, you've just
got to swing the bat.

Speaker 2 (11:13):
There, eyebrows get raised, and I don't.

Speaker 1 (11:16):
I'm sure Roan Washington did not mean it as a
complaint or a criticism of Mike Trout. Is basically stating
the obvious. But in today's world, man, you say the
most innocuous thing, and the media is going to say,
WHOA he called them out all.

Speaker 3 (11:31):
I would be curious as whether or not Wash that
said something to him before he actually went into the
press room, possibly as they're passing walking up the tunnel.
But you're right, I probably would not have said that.
I don't think I would have said that for the
reasons you're just explained. You know, we as a major
league managers, you have two press conferences a day, and

(11:53):
I thought there were two team meetings per day. I
would try to use that time to send messages to
the group, not necessarily individuals, because the guys either watch it,
they watched the the feed after the game, they'll see
the little snippets played that night, or read a newspaper
online the next day. So I always thought it was
a great way of communicating to the players without actually

(12:15):
having them sit in a room like that. So that's
how I looked at all of that. But I probably
it came down to calling out a player. I think
you and I talked about this. I always thought praise publicly,
criticized privately, and again, like you're saying, it's not hypercritical.
I think Wash was just stating the obvious. Like you said,
I don't think he thought anything of it, but he

(12:37):
said right there, was just reacting to him as a
baseball player. Also, he's a former major league player. He's
gone through that situation a thousand times, and I'm sure
he's had that conversation with players in the past. So
I think it was just like you said, totally innocuous. However,
it can be construed differently, but yeah, I think as
a major league manager, my impression is it's a perfect

(12:58):
opportunity on a daily basis to really emphasize that the group,
whether it's praise or maybe not so much prey worthy,
but nevertheless, you're still getting messages across because you know,
the guys are watching and.

Speaker 2 (13:09):
Listening, especially in today's environment.

Speaker 1 (13:11):
You're right, it's just the media also is watching and
listening closely. Mostly you know this, Joe, what is said
in those meetings, it's pretty vanilla.

Speaker 2 (13:18):
It's boiler plate stuff.

Speaker 1 (13:20):
So if anything vengers outside the norm, it gets a
lot more attention.

Speaker 2 (13:24):
And I go back to when Joe Giardi.

Speaker 1 (13:26):
Girardi was the Yankees manager and Gary Sanchez was having
a tough time defensively behind the plate.

Speaker 2 (13:32):
And he had a rough game.

Speaker 1 (13:33):
You know, some wild pitches, balls he didn't stop, and
the only thing Joe Girardi said was we've got to
be better back there. And I don't want to say
he lost Gary Sanchez, but he kind of lost confidence.
Gary Sanchez did in his manager because he did feel
like his manager was calling him out. I saw it
as someone who's been around the game for a long
time as something innocuous. But today's young player, it just

(13:57):
does not get criticized, not publicly. And when I say criticized,
I'm not saying it mild, but anything that's all along
the lines of you didn't you know, it wasn't a
great job. And I think that's to today's manager. You
know this, Joe, you have to be super careful with
younger players, this generation of players in how you quote
unquote criticize.

Speaker 3 (14:17):
Them, even away from that too, even like it just
in a normal day routine of the day, because you
and I both and I'm not trying to state anything
or pet anybody on the back, whatever you want to
consider it, but played for a lot tougher. You know,
the high school football coaches coming on up, even some
of the baseball coaches could be very cruel in their

(14:38):
assessment of you. You know, and I kind of liked it.
I did, like when I considered a guy to be
really competent as a coach. He got on me. I
don't think one time I ever got aired out by
a coach that I thought, you know, kind of screw him,
you know, what are you talking about here? I just

(14:58):
always took it to heart. I don't even know the way.
The way I've always described it more recently is that
when you do that as a manager, whether it's in
a private situation or even publicly, a lot of players
will look for allies, and they're going to get sympathy
from other players. I like the group that doesn't provide
sympathy to the player that's been called out. I prefer
that they would actually say, you know what, he was right,

(15:21):
The manager was right. He's not trying to embarrass you.
He's just trying to state the obvious and hopefully get
you to do better in a situation. So that's what
happens allies, and that's where clicks are developed, especially in
today's world, not just in baseball, because when you attempt
to be constructively critical, I think that a lot of
times the person I guess the target of the criticism

(15:45):
looks for allies, and that's where it can get kind
of difficult. And I really that's where I think a
well structured clubhouse. When that is attempted to happen, somebody
tries to do that, they're going to hear back from
Listen Man, No, no, he was right, or go talk
to him, something to that effect. But I'm not going
to be here and just to comfort you because probably

(16:06):
or possibly this other guy has felt slighted in the past.

Speaker 2 (16:08):
Two yeah, well said.

Speaker 1 (16:10):
And you know the extreme example for me is someone
who covered George Steinbrenner. Man, if you played for the Yankees,
you could not have finn skin. I mean, at one
time when Dave Rghetti blew a game, Steinbrenner called about
and he said he should be so embarrassed he should
walk out of the ballpark with the hot dog vendors.
Of course, famously, he called Dave Winfield mister May. He said,

(16:30):
you know, Reggie's mister October.

Speaker 2 (16:32):
We have mister May here. This went on and all
the time, and that was.

Speaker 1 (16:37):
The way George thought he was motivating the players, and
in some ways he did back then. And I think
your point about clubhouse culture was super important, Joe, because
I saw around the Yankees then no one got their
egos bruised. When George Steinbrenner called them out, they sort
of rallied, the circled the wagons and rallied amongst each other,
like let's go show that guy.

Speaker 2 (16:56):
It was us against them at that point.

Speaker 1 (16:58):
And I think that's what he was trying to do,
that sort of negative motivation. I'm not saying it's the
right thing to do, It's just the way it was
back then. It can't happen anymore because I don't think
the clubhouse would rally around negative motivation.

Speaker 2 (17:12):
It would fracture.

Speaker 3 (17:13):
I think if you have a bunch of veterans that
are really tough minded. It's almost like watching an episode
on Seinfeld when Steinbrenner is on there, Larry David's being
his voice. They'll laugh at it, they really will. They'll
laugh at it among each other. You can't laugh at
it in front of mister Steinbrenner. You can't laugh at
it to a newspaper reporter. But because listen, I've heard
a lot of great stories about that, and there's others

(17:36):
other kind of coaches or managers that may have been
a little bit more on the negative side and said
things that in the moment sound absolutely awful, but when
a group gets together, it's kind of funny. I mean,
that's the best way to really get through situations like that.
Always consider the source. Always consider the source. Where's it
coming from, and what kind of esteem do you hold

(17:57):
that source within? And so anyway, I've been with a
lot of guys, man, and I'll hear different things that
were said in the clubhouse by either Steinbrenner or others,
and man, it could be very biting, no question, and
the kids maybe sting in the beginning, but when it's
a tiny knick group, a lot of time you just
laugh at it pretty hard.

Speaker 1 (18:16):
Hey, as long as we're on the subject of creating
some friction. When we get back, we're going to talk
about one of Joe's favorite topics.

Speaker 2 (18:23):
And that is umpires. We'll be back with that right
after this. Umpires.

Speaker 1 (18:40):
Joe, Listen, we don't hear a lot about friction between
managers and umpires. It's it's this is the replay era, right,
I mean, you have replay takeaway arguments on the bases,
and so all you've got left is balls and strikes.
And we saw I've never seen anything like this the
other day where Aaron Boone was thrown out of the
game by a Hunter Wendel set because of something a

(19:02):
fans said. Just to recap the story, it was just
five pitches into the game.

Speaker 2 (19:08):
Aaron Boone does have a reputation.

Speaker 1 (19:10):
I mean, to me, he gets thrown out way too
often and he's got to really dial it back a
little bit. But anyway, he went off and Hunter Wendels
that said, that's it anything more, you know, you're basically
out of here, and a fan in the front road
directly behind Aaron Boone said something. The Wendells said obviously
thought it was Aaron Boone or somebody in the dugout

(19:31):
and immediately threw him out of the game. So Aaron
Boone got ejected from not saying anything at that point,
and from what Aaron Boon said, he was not fine
by MLB, which is a winking nod that Hunter Wendel's
step was wrong in this situation. First, Joe, I'm sure
you saw some of it. You heard about it. Give
me your take on what you first thought when you
saw something like that happen.

Speaker 3 (19:51):
And the other one is check swings, balls and strikes
and check swings, those are the ways to get me.
Check swings got me more trouble than anything. Well, I
did see it, and of course I know everybody involved,
and I know Hunter well Hunter, and I was a
well he's gotten along well. But Hunter Hunter could be
kind of like that very definitive noe, that's it. And
my problem with that line is that if if an

(20:13):
umpire ever told me that's it, I've had enough. If
you if they threatened me like that, he said something
to the effect that you say one more word whatever,
you're out of here, something like that, then I'm out
of there. I mean, I I just where I come from. Right,
you've been You've been in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. When when you
get get kind of pushed like that, it's hard not
to push back. Man. It's like, the only thing I

(20:34):
can think about that was the first inning. So you
might you might just like rein it back in because
it's so early in the game. I think part of
that would be how's it been going lately, you know?
But I want an early exit here do I'm trying
to rile the boys up a little bit, maybe an
opportunity to take advantage of this situation. But whenever an
umpire just like drew the line. I don't know if

(20:56):
I've ever did not cross the line when it was drawn,
And in that situation, for sure, I could see with
Aaron's perspective. I mean, he didn't say anything after his
original outbursts whatever. And it's tough. It's tough when that happens.
There's this an emotional when you're the dugout in front
of your entire ball club. And the other thing you
have to understand when when something like that happens, every

(21:17):
set of eyeballs comes right at you. I only know
that because people have told me that, or I'll look
back after the moment's over, like everybody's staring at you.
So they're always looking to see how you're going to react,
which is important. And so I really want my group,
my players to maintain that respect for me. So even

(21:39):
though I don't want to get kicked out, I still
have to do what I have to do to not
lose that respect of the players, even if I have
to argue with an Umpire that maybe I do respect also,
so there's this really all those thoughts go in your
head weirdly in that moment. Last point, if I really
dig an Umpire, and I especially the veteran umpires that's

(22:02):
so much respect for it would get to a point
where it be kind of a tough moment where I
really needed to say or do something about it. I
would not cross the line. I had the guys that
you really feel are good at their jobs you can
communicate with, I'd only go so far. I wouldn't. I
would not go over that line. And it's something I learned,
you know, in the minor leagues. I got ejected so

(22:24):
often early on in my minor league career, I think
seven times in a half season in the Northwest League,
which is only seventy games. So I got better at
that as I went along. But the things, the thing
is like, these guys have a really difficult job and
don't just to the point where umpires don't sit down
for nine innings. They're standing up there the whole time.
That's not easy to do for me, just to focus

(22:47):
and concentrate like that. So yeah, the greater respect I
have for the Empire, the less likely I'm going to
have crossed the line. But if they do put the
line out there, I'm going to cross it almost every time.

Speaker 1 (22:58):
Yeah, that's the hazelt, no doubt, I'm going to go
next level on you here on what's behind that, because
I see a real bifurcation with umpires these days, the
younger ones and the veteran umpires, and increasingly the veter
umpires are the younger umpires. They have been they've basically
done their whole professional careers with the ball.

Speaker 2 (23:18):
Tracking systems that are in place.

Speaker 1 (23:20):
I see in umpires like Hunter wendelstet that old school
version that when you're the home played umpire, it's my game.

Speaker 2 (23:28):
That's the way they think of it.

Speaker 1 (23:29):
It's my game, and I am the arbitrary of the game,
not just the balls and the strikes, and he sees
it as an affront when challenged from the dugout, and
I don't see that from the younger umpires, Joe. I
think the younger umpires are more willing to say, you
know what, I miss.

Speaker 2 (23:45):
It and move on.

Speaker 1 (23:47):
I don't think controlling managers and players and the game
itself is being done by the younger umpires.

Speaker 2 (23:55):
They've been trained totally differently. And I get it.

Speaker 1 (23:57):
If you're an older veteran umpire, your Angel Hernandez, your
Hunter wendels Step, those games were in your hands, you
were in charge charged with the pace of the game
that's now done by a clock, just the way guys
comport themselves. You were in control of that, and I
don't think umpire the younger umpires today see that as
part of their jobs. I mean, obviously you're going to

(24:18):
have to rain somebody in if they're completely over the top.
But I think an older veteran umpire like one hundred
wind instead, that's more old school, where this is my
game and you're gonna stop it right now. I don't
think you see that from the younger umpires.

Speaker 3 (24:32):
Yeah, I can't disagree with anything you just said there.
I'll just say this though, again getting back to my
argumentative component, I would more easily argue with a young
umpire because I didn't know them, you know. And I
part of not wanting to take the lineup card up
the home plate is I don't I don't want. I
didn't want to get to know the younger guys coming
into the league that well, because I knew the older

(24:53):
guys from being a bench coach and I was always
going up to the plate. You get to know these guys,
and it's harder. I mean, it's harder. I think, I
mean maybe that's just me. It's harder to argue with
somebody that you're knowing, you kind of like, So if
I really needed to stir it up a little bit,
I would pick a younger umpire, but that I didn't
think he was any good or I didn't like him.
I just didn't know him. So it's easier to argue.
It's just that the human element. So that's part of

(25:16):
it for me as a manager for several years. And
as you're talking about there regarding their mentality or the
method with which they their bedside manner, they have so
many supervisors now, I mean they're coming up legitimately with
supervisors being reviewing arguments or situations, things that the other
guys when they came up years ago did not. It

(25:37):
was just primarily umpire schools, right, Frankman, mental stat umpire schools.
I mean, guys went through that, which I'd really never
understood why MLB has never taken totally total charge of
the way umpires are developed, although I think it's more
along those lines today, But supervisors, and I knew a
lot of the supervisors and how they Dick Nelson was
famous for years. Dick Nelson was in charge of minor

(26:00):
league umpires for one hundred years. You know, I had
a great relationship and I would whenever I got tossed whatever,
I'd be able to talk to him and talk to
as to why it happened and gave him my perspective
and he would listen. So I think the supervision and
the teaching that goes with this, and then the accountability
because of technology with these young guys, yeah, it is.

(26:21):
They're developing a more homogenized product, a group that's more
in line. Because, as you stated, you could name all
the old dumpires. You could if you've been what around
long enough, you could almost tell what their strike zone was.
They were up, down, in or out or both. You
could tell how far you can go, if you could
go at all, if you could even say anything to

(26:41):
these guys or not. You knew all of that before
the game began. So that was part of the conversation,
whether or not you could talk to the guy his
strike zone is going to be, like, it's going to
be big, but don't say anything because if you do,
it's going to get worse. Things like that. That was
a part of the conversation. Today. You'll get a heat
map before the game, we'll see what a homefully dumpires
like and you could pretty much on it. He's going

(27:04):
to be either wide outside to right, on right, left,
on left. There's a heat map for right versus left,
left versus right, same side, and you look at the
heat maps, they're pretty solid. Man. So players and coaches
and pitchers not going into the game what this is
going to look like. And it's more homogenized than it
had been.

Speaker 1 (27:22):
Yeah, I'll tell you, Joe, I don't miss those days
at all when the umpires, you know, they if you
were a young player, you had a different strike zone
than a veteran player. You know, if you complained, your
strike zone got bigger. I hated the individual strike zones
from the umpires. It's so much better now. I think
the umpires, and generally again the younger ones here way

(27:45):
less confrontational, you know, walking away from arguments rather than
walking toward them.

Speaker 2 (27:50):
You could say it's taking some of the color out
of the game. I don't miss it.

Speaker 1 (27:53):
I didn't like the fact that umpires were part of
the show, and I think they blended into the scenery
a lot more. I think they're trained better, and I
love the fact that the strike zone is for the
most part homogenized, and you know, maybe someday we're going
to get to a point where there's a challenge system,
which I would be in favor of. Not a full
on robo umpire behind the plate, but the batter, pitcher,

(28:14):
catcher could call, say three pitches a game under review
and it's done in five seconds, it's done in the
minor leagues. I'd be in favor of that. I don't
want to get rid of these umpires and the human element,
but I do like the fact that it is more homogenized.
So usually that word means, you know, that's progress and
that's technology taking over and we're losing the human element.

(28:35):
But in this case, I love the fact that you
can pretty much bank on what the strike's own is
and not have to think about who the umpire is.

Speaker 3 (28:41):
And I think that speaks like you just mentioned it
and I had just written it down. There's no need.
I don't think for a robo umpire. I think these
guys are getting dialed into the point now where it
is becoming you know, what to expect. This pitch is
going to be strike ball, et cetera. Although, like I said,
if you look at heat maps. There's a little advantage
to be gained from a catcher and a picture with

(29:03):
some kind of command. I mean, a lot of the
throwers today they really can't dial it up or dot
a corner or whatever, but there's something to be gained
regarding where to sit, like maybe with two strikes, knowing
that this guy's going to be a little bit more
liberal in that particular area than some others. So the
robo umpire I would hope never happens. Like I said,

(29:23):
I think the teaching method today is kind of dissuading
that to the point where maybe we just don't need this.
But like you're saying, maybe late in the game. I
have to wrap my mind around that because I've been
watching the NBA playoffs. I'm a pseudo nick fan, and
I'm watching all this stuff down at the end of
the game where there's challenging calls. I didn't know they
could do that, and it's kind of weird. It's because

(29:44):
there's such an arbitrary basketball you could almost call foul
on every play, and you can almost in football you
could almost call a penalty on every play. So it
kind of bothers me a little bit. But I like
the idea of umpires being umpires more autonomous because they
have become kind of like very consistent.

Speaker 1 (30:04):
Yeah, and you know, not to pick on one hundred
Windlestead here, but that particular day he had a bad
game behind the plate. And what you said about, you know,
the particular strike zones or heat maps for umpires. You
can see with the hunter Wendells Stead when he sets
up and he sets up like most umpires on the
inside corner, whether it's a lefty or a righty hit
or he'll be on the inside corner. He's got a
blind spot on the outside corner to right handed hitters.

(30:28):
And he missed basically one third of his strike calls
in that game. I mean, they should have about an
eighty eight eighty nine percent correct accuracy call on balls
that are called strikes. Most pitches are obvious. So in
that game, there were forty seven pitches that he called strikes.
He was wrong on fifteen of those. It's way too

(30:49):
high and almost all of them were off the plate
to right handed hitters. Now what you're saying, Joe, and
I understand this. A pitcher with command and can take
advantage of that. A lot of pitchers today just don't
have the command to take advantage to get that ball
one with one with a ball outside and get that call.
But again, the older umpires to me, Joe, and the
game has moved a lot faster.

Speaker 3 (31:10):
You know.

Speaker 1 (31:11):
Whether it's something physical where they don't see that outside
corner as well, whether it's eyesight, I don't know, but
we saw in the postseason last year the guys who
made it to the World Series is the youngest crew
ever and we're seeing that year in and year out
now in the last few years that the younger umpires
are grading out much higher. Again, they've been on the
laser tracking system their whole careers. And again I'm not

(31:33):
bashing Hunter. Wendell studies a great umpire, but in that game,
I think it showed the human element that he had
a blind spot away to right handed hitters, and a
good picture can take advantage of that.

Speaker 3 (31:44):
I've always thought because the empire normally it does sit
up on the inside edge of the play. He gets
inside right on right like the right handed hitter, he'll
be on the left shoulder of the catcher. So I've
always believed you're guessing on the outside edge. That's it's
the inconsistent area to rely on a consistent version of

(32:04):
a strike zone, whereas on the inside corner they see
it so well. I think they become very tight on
the inside corner. So I've always thought that the inside
edge you're going to miss some strikes. They are going
to be strikes that are going to be called balls
because he thinks he sees them so well. And actually
the strike zone kind of shifts. Move that little box
to the right right on right hitter pitcher. The box

(32:26):
shifts to the right based on where the umpire sets up.
Remember back in the day with the balloon protectors, the
umpire used to be right over the top of the catcher.
But then again they thought the low pitch was not
being called because of that. And there's all different ways.
I mean again, a foot position. I used to hate
when an umpire got his foot right outside my foot
to the point where he could block me trying to

(32:46):
move to block a pitch because the umpire got so close.
I hate it when an umpire put his hand on
my back. Could not stand when an umpire put his
hand on my back again, you feel restricted somehow. So
all these things I think have been cleaned up over time.
But when I said work with my catchers, I would
always ask him to be aware of the outside edge.

(33:07):
When he's on your inside shoulder, normally I thought it
was a more liberal strike, whereas the inner side of
the plate, the inside edge was more conservative.

Speaker 1 (33:15):
You know, I'm glad you said that about the umpire
putting his hand on the catcher's back, because.

Speaker 2 (33:19):
When I see that, it bothers me. I mean, would
you turn around and tell the dude, hey, take.

Speaker 1 (33:24):
Your hand off my back or do you think you
know what? I can't say that because we're not going
to get any calls.

Speaker 3 (33:30):
And then the other thing I'm telling you the foot
when he when he placed his foot like right outside
my left foot as an example, and the ball's thrown
down and in on that side. You go to move
and his foot blocks your movement. So that used to
be big when the Empire wanted to get really in
close like that again to see the low ball or
the ball down in a way. And that bothered me,
and that happened several times. You go to move and

(33:51):
then it's your fault. Nobody knows, but he would block
you out. I like, like when the Empire gives me
a little bit of room. I like a conversation with
my umpire during the game. And one of the things
I always taught my catcher is, don't ever try to
talk a umpire into a strike that was legitimately a
ball and you knew it was a ball. I said,
you're losing all credibility with this man. I always like

(34:12):
to if I thought he made a good call on
a pitch that I wanted, but it was a ball,
I would say, Man, on the money, good call, that
was a ball. So then I always believe that when
I wanted to pitch and I thought it was acting
like a strike for instance, obviously that he'd listened to me.
More so, there's a little give and take going on
during the course of the game conversationally. And I believe

(34:33):
that we're both human beings, I think, and I always
believed that the umpire wanted some honesty for me, And
there's great Dana Demutin and I had a running conversation
even in the California League. I mean, it was always important.
So that's another thing I think that's not even discussed
is the conversation between the pitcher and the empire during
the game. Regarding what is a strike and what is
the ball? I listened. I need that pitch man. This

(34:55):
guy guy's a sinker ball pitcher. We need the ball down.
I got to have that, you know, something to that
effect that might have been a borderline pitch and he's
calling a ball that I think is a strike. Conversation's big.

Speaker 1 (35:05):
So as a catcher, you want to know your umpire.
As a manager, you don't.

Speaker 3 (35:11):
Very good. That's exactly right. I did. I did enough fire,
I didn't because I just ended up arguing with them
all the time. Very good. That's really well, Well we'll
be fine.

Speaker 2 (35:21):
Hey, well we get back. I'm gonna put you on
the spot.

Speaker 3 (35:24):
Joe.

Speaker 2 (35:25):
We lost the rock and roll legend.

Speaker 1 (35:27):
And I'm guessing that Joe Madden was a big fan
of this dude.

Speaker 2 (35:31):
We'll talk about that right after this Welcome back to
the Book of Joe podcasts.

Speaker 1 (35:47):
And we did lose another rock and roll legend in
the past week. And I was Dickey Betts, famous guitarist
of the Allman Brothers band, one of the founding members
of that band, and I first thought of Joe Madden
because I could definitely see Joe Madden cruising the streets
of Hazelton or I don't know, Lafayette maybe with Almond
Brothers cranked up. Listen to Blue Sky or Jessica give

(36:09):
me your thoughts, Joe, Almond Brothers, Dicky Betts.

Speaker 3 (36:12):
You cannot be more right. At Lafayette College, the Almond
Brothers were huge. I honestly I remember staying up till
five o'clock in the morning in one of my buddies
rooms and we're just banging on the on the Almond Brothers,
and that's right. Got to know who Dicky Betts was.
You know, my friends classmates were ahead of me with that,

(36:33):
and then I learned from them. But yeah, Jessica is
one of my all time favorite jams man. I I
just absolutely love that. You know, of course, Ramblin Man,
you can go up and down the list. They were
just that good. They were very viscerally influential for me.
And in that period of time, you know, you just
you just turn it up. You turn it up, and

(36:54):
you get lost in the in the sound and you
know from the very first note or two that it
is the Almond Brothers. There's no like, who is this?
You know exactly who it is. Yeah, the Almand others themselves.
I mean, wow, it was a big moment for me.
And yes, it was huge. At Lafayette College. I would
drive whether it was my old Vovo, my Thunderbird, or eventually,

(37:16):
I don't know what else I had after that Ford Galaxy,
but it was always blasting Man, And yeah, I was.
I was surprised. I didn't realize was that old. I
should have known that. But GOODNA miss him. Man, he
was that influentially, he was that great.

Speaker 1 (37:31):
Yeah, it's a great word, influential, Joe, because they pretty
much invented what we.

Speaker 2 (37:35):
Now call Southern rock.

Speaker 1 (37:37):
Yeah, paving the way for a lot of bands, you know,
Zzy top Fish, I mean, you name it, that distinctive sound.
And how about the fact that you mentioned is Jessica,
you could have on FM radio a seven and a
half minute song with no lyrics and be a hit.
I mean, think about that. It can't happen today.

Speaker 3 (37:57):
No, that it was. I mean it's like it came
on and it was like, that's one of those songs
you left him the first time you heard it. You
didn't have to hear the second time you knew, Oh
my god, I love that, you know, I can't wait
till that comes back on, because that back then you
had to wait for it to come back on, you know,
and then or unless you had the turntable, you throw
your album on cassettes maybe, but you had to find
where it was. You got to rewind it all the time.
I said, people don't realize youngsters today. I mean getting

(38:19):
to the song that you liked, you had to wait
sometimes on that AM radio. It wasn't just popping up
and you just couldn't query it and throw it right
in there. So yeah, when I first moment I heard
that song, I was absolutely you had me right there, man,
And yes, that was that is kind of like for me.
Jessica ramblin Man pretty much. That is the Oemen Brothers.

Speaker 1 (38:41):
Ramblin Man was pretty much his life story. Yeah, he
left home, you know, his father worked in construction and
they kind of bounced around a bit and he left
home actually to join the circus. He played in a
circus band at the age of sixteen. And as he
sang and wrote in ramblin Man, he's talking about Highway
forty one in Bradenton.

Speaker 2 (39:01):
You know that area, well.

Speaker 1 (39:02):
Jo, I think about every time and nine a song
about Highway forty one.

Speaker 2 (39:07):
I've been stuck in traffic they're way too often. But
he did. And it's a classic.

Speaker 3 (39:11):
Brother I do. I drive up and down there and
I start singing it out loud. I mean, I see
the thing is. And we've talked about this, and you're
talking about the struggle again, right, And it's such a
romantic thought to me that a guy like this did
other things. And while he's doing these other things, whether
it's working in the circus or whatever, I would bet
that Dicky bats always just wanted to be this rock

(39:33):
and roll guitar player, so eventually became that. How much
time did he practice, how many thoughts did he have,
how many notes did he write down, how many pickup bands,
garage bands did he work with until this finally hit
for him? And then when it does, God, the guy
knows his craft. I have so much respect for that, because,
like you and I have talked about the struggle before,
the real true artists, man, the real artists, the people

(39:56):
that know their stuff, not just think they know their stuff,
where stuff is presented to them and they put their
name on it. These guys I just bled that and
I got so much respect for that. There's romantic component
of that. To me, that always takes me back immediately
and perfect example when you talk about a Dicky Betts
starting in a circus and ended up being one of

(40:16):
the most influential guitar players ever.

Speaker 1 (40:19):
Yeah, you know, it goes back to another one of
our favorite themes too, Joe, and that is pure intentions, right.
I mean, he wasn't by any measure a cookie cutter
guy trying to how do I get on the top
forty charts, you know, just following his instincts and his
passions and his loves and that works no matter what
you do. And we talk a lot about that with
managing as well, that you're not trying to manage by

(40:42):
a template. It has to be that balance between art
and science and data and gut and guys like Dicky Betts,
you know, listen, he clashed with Wayne Allman. They wound
up actually kicking him out of the band. He was
so uncompromising and what his standards were and following his
his artistic mus if you will, but always true to himself.

(41:03):
I think that's a lifelong lesson for all of us
that you know, you copy from others in terms of
you see what works you pay attention to where the
industry is going. But in general, Joe, you know this,
if you follow your heart, you're gonna wind up in
a good place.

Speaker 3 (41:21):
One hundred percent. That's always been my advice to young coaches, managers, whatever.
But the thing is, Dicky Betts knew. You knew what
he knew. I mean, for lack of a better way of
saying it. Too many times, I think today we only
know what people tell us to know or something that's
been handed to us to know. But you don't really
know what you know because you've never really struggle, lived

(41:41):
through it, paycheck to paycheck, How'm gonna do this whatever,
whatever those difficult moments were back then, it's just different. Man.
The phrase, and I've talked about some people to some
people about this recently, actually is that you got to
know the whatever you're involved in, you got to know

(42:01):
exactly what we're talking about, have lived that, made mistakes
with it, got your butt kicked with it. We're told
you're not not good enough for it, I mean all
the different things, because you have to fight back, fight back,
fight back. Eventually you got it, you got it, and
then you're not going to be dissuade it. You're this, No,
I believe this. I oftentimes I'll tell people if I'm

(42:22):
really not committed or totally devoted to a thought, I'm
very malleable. Yeah, absolutely, I'm gonna listen and eventually we'll
come to the conclusion. But if i'm really hard fast
that I've been through this before and I really like this,
and I know what I'm talking about right here, you're
not gonna You're not gonna push me in a direction.
So I think I think that's the best way to

(42:43):
be have this valuableness about you that if you're really
not sure about a situation, yeah, find about as much
information as you can. But once you know what you know,
put it out there man, in your inimitable style, whatever
that might be. Put it out there because that authenticity
plays and people will follow you follow you because of that.

Speaker 1 (43:01):
That's a great way to put it, because it's a
great legacy to have for someone like Dicky Betts or anybody,
is that you're one of a kind.

Speaker 2 (43:09):
It's who you are, you're not you're not compared to others.
They pave their own path.

Speaker 1 (43:13):
The Allman Brothers didn't, especially Dicky Betts, so very well
said about that inimitable uniqueness, authenticity. Well said, it's time
now for the Joe Madden last out of the game.

Speaker 2 (43:26):
Here, our closer.

Speaker 1 (43:27):
Joe always brings us to the end of the game
here with words of wisdom, and they're always somehow appropriate
to the subject matter.

Speaker 2 (43:34):
So now they put the pressure on you.

Speaker 3 (43:36):
Joe.

Speaker 2 (43:36):
You did you got the ball?

Speaker 3 (43:38):
Well, you know one of the things I even I
might have mentioned this. I'll text Brian Butterfield on occasion
when former coach, great, great coach, and I would text
him in the morning and I'll say, butter I'm too
quick to him, too fast, and he'll laugh and he'll
send something back to send scripture back to me to
help me slow down. But I was looking this up
today and guy by name of Pico a Er and

(43:59):
this is this is a Buddhist kind of a concept,
the principle, which I kind of a little bit right now.
I think it's awesome. But he came up with this thought,
and I think again it applies to just arguing too
much or whatever again, trying to be too fast. But
in the age of speed, I began to think nothing
could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age

(44:22):
of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
I've always talked about being a good listener and slowing
it down, So when I saw this today, it just
really resonated with me. So I went with that today.
Slow things down a little with folks, and really pay
attention to whomever you're speaking with and don't walk over

(44:44):
their conversations. You might actually learn something. Oh.

Speaker 1 (44:48):
I love that thought, and we definitely need to be
reminded of that on a daily basis, because it does
seem like life gets faster and faster. We live in
such a microwave world. We need to rediscover the joys
of slow baked ovens, you know, taking the time and
craft things, craft ideas, craft your work, and not be
in such a hurry. That's a great reminder any day

(45:10):
of the week.

Speaker 3 (45:11):
Thanks man, I'm really into it. I am.

Speaker 2 (45:13):
Great job, Joe. We'll see you next time.

Speaker 3 (45:15):
You get to your brothers. See you soon.

Speaker 1 (45:26):
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