A Requiem for John Russell: We Barely Knew Ye

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This Ken Rosensquirrel report floating around the baseball rumorsphere about Pirates manager John Russell getting canned may or may not be true, but in the end, does it really matter? See, I may not appreciate Rosenthal as the hard-working baseball reporter he is because (a) he is actually shorter than me and (b) he spends his Saturdays acting as third banana to Herrs Buck and McCarver. But sometimes he's right!

So when Buster Olney claims that his sources deny that report, who are we to believe? Both reporters are citing sources most likely within the Pirates organization. Either somebody in there is wildly off the mark or somebody is just trying to cover up the news to protect the organization. Or to protect Russell's feelings. Hey, feelings count, too, even in the corporate world of modern baseball.

Because the real issue here is John Russell's future employment being in jeopardy. Unfortunately, we as national baseball fans never had a chance to get to know Russell; his team spent too much time being losers and laughingstocks for us to pay attention to their actual strengths as hitters and pitchers. And, in turn, we never had a chance to evaluate or appreciate Russell as a manager. Did he never channel his inner Piniella and kick dirt on an ump's shoes? Did he never lose his mind and go all Ozzie on some poor beat blogger? Did he never get photographed with his hands down his drawers like Charlie Manuel? What did he ever do except hit his pitchers eighth for a couple of weeks?

These are the things that could have made us remember you, John. Forget turning the Pirates around, you were never hired to do that. You were a patsy all along, in the great tradition of the Jim Rigglemans of the world. And if you get fired, I can't really shed a tear because I never had a chance to embrace you, or, most of the time, memorize the name of the guy managing the Pirates. But hey, at least you outlasted Trey Hillman in both job length and anonymity. Congrats?


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5 Comments

This is why it's horseshit when someone says "Oh it's going to be tough filling Bobby Cox's shoes." If you have the opportunity to take the reins of a perennial contender, then you do it. Taking over the Royals or the Pirates is a career death sentence.

Also managers are overrated in general.

Like Bro Torre

I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that you could have held a gun to my head ten minutes ago, and there is no way I would have been able to name the Pirates' manager.

Maybe with his newfound free time, Russell can make an appointment to have that growth on his face looked at. That might be a tumor, John.

I read on National Review Online that John (AKA "Jack") Russell palls around with terriers.

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