In the mail today, I just received two books from Sports Publishing, Baltimore Orioles: Where Have You Gone? by Jeff Seidel and Leo Mazzone’s Tales from the Mound. I’ve always had a soft spot for the O’s, because Charlotte—where I grew up—hosted the double-A affiliate of the club for most of my childhood. I even threw out the first pitch of the game once.
Anyway, I was very happy to get the updated addition of Leo Mazzone’s book with Scott Freeman—Braves has been removed from the title. Tales is a very nice read that mixes in anecdotes about Mazzone’s baseball experiences with pitching philosophy. Mazzone speaks candidly about his career, and mentions more than just the good stuff. He admits to yelling and butting heads, but always praises the pitchers and coaches he’s worked with. Leo seems to enjoy and appreciate just being a part of the game. Even if you just like the Braves, you will probably enjoy his inside perspective on the Braves 14-year run.
I glanced through the new version at lunch, and I was happy to see additional anecdotes up through the 2005 season. He tells some pretty interesting stuff about Smoltz moving from and to the rotation, Dan Kolb not handling Atlanta, and working with Jaret Wright. I don’t want to spoil too many of his anecdotes so I’ll pass along just one.
Kevin Gryboski was another groundball specialist for us in 2004, and he had a great year. Then, in 2005, he started complaining a little bit about how we were using him…and he was talking a little rough to the rookies, as if he were a seasoned veteran. Bobby got angry and said, “Okay, we’ll trade him to Texas.” He was going to be the set-up man to the closer. A month later, he was in Triple-A.
What the heck is wrong with that guy? Grybo should have been on his knees thanking Bobby Cox for just keeping him on the team. And not only did he have him on the team, but he used him a lot more than I would have. Maybe he was upset about his role, but a relief pitcher who walks more guys than he strikes out doesn’t have much room to discuss any dissatisfaction.