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April 4, 2014

Overthinking It

Is Dexter Fowler Tough Enough to Play for Your Team?

by Ben Lindbergh

During an exhibition game against Brooklyn in the spring of 1942, then-Boston Braves manager Casey Stengel said something that seems, in retrospect, spectacularly wrong. A 20-year-old Warren Spahn started for Stengel against the Dodgers, whom the Braves believed had been stealing their signs all spring. Stengel, hoping to take the sign-stealers by surprise, switched the signs so that the old signal for a fastball would now indicate a curve. With Pee-Wee Reese up and a runner on second supposedly staring in for the sign, Stengel told Spahn to brush Reese back with his fastball when the batter would be expecting something slower.

As a 44-year-old Spahn recounted in 1965, when both he and Stengel were with the Mets in what would be their final season:

I threw three straight inside fastballs to Reese. He leaned back and took them for balls, and Casey came storming out to the mound. He lifted me because I hadn’t decked Reese then stopped me in the dugout and told me to pick up my railroad ticket to Hartford.

The next day I was back in the minor leagues with Casey’s words ‘Young man, you’ve got no guts’ ringing in my ears.

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14 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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The Rockies strike me as one of the poorer run organizations in the game. They don't seem to have any idea of what they're trying to do. Having two GMs probably doesn't help.

Apr 04, 2014 09:09 AM
rating: 5
Richard Bergstrom

Something that popped up during the Denver Post chat is that other teams aren't quite clear if O'Dowd runs the team during the offseason and Geivett runs the team during the season. Now, Geivett also said everything is a group decision, but the Post chat said that other teams may be having difficulties figuring out who at the Rockies to talk with about trades.

Apr 06, 2014 05:57 AM
rating: 0

Re Stengel vs. Spahn, I recall reading somewhere that Stengel years afterward stated both that, yes he was dead serious about Spahn's gutlessness (and ergo no baseball future) at the time, and that, boy oh boy was he proven wrong.

Apr 04, 2014 11:06 AM
rating: 0

The Retrosheet play by play casts quite a bit of doubt on the specifics of the Spahn-Stengel story. Spahn did face Brooklyn on April 20 (coming on in the 4th inning with the Braves already down 5-0). He proceeded to pitch terribly facing 17 batters, allowing 5 hits, 4 walks and getting no K's. In his final inning he did not face Reese and was lifted after allowing 3 straight hits. That a 21-year old was sent back to the minors after this performance is hardly unusual. I'm sure there is some truth in the story somewhere but it doesn't much fit the facts.

Apr 04, 2014 11:09 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Spring training game.

Apr 04, 2014 11:11 AM

Spahn appears to have been on the Opening Day roster so he wasn't sent down during spring training.

Apr 04, 2014 12:07 PM
rating: 0

No puzzle at all regarding Fowler. They wanted him to play through his injuries, and he said 'no'. Maybe he is a whiner (just like Roberto Clemente definitely was), quite possibly O'Dowd and Weiss (and Kiszla) are "walked 5 miles to school every day! Uphill both ways!!" idiots. Actually, the latter is true regardless. You don't bash a guy who's in all other ways conceded to be a 'good scout', and goodness gracious you sure don't do it while trying to trade him.

Apr 04, 2014 11:12 AM
rating: 5

Nothing like running a player out of town. What good does it do after the fact to write stories that effectively spit on the guy? Good luck trying to win with Dickerson.

Apr 04, 2014 13:05 PM
rating: 0
The Beef
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Perfect timing, as Fowler misses the 4th game of the season with a tummy-ache. Everyone gets sick, but a lot of us still find a way to get the job done. With all respect for his OBP, maybe he is soft.

As for his injuries - In 3-5 years, you'll never see another player who plays at less than 100%. The Buckners, Mantles, Gibsons of the world are dead. Money and the pussification of America has taken it's toll. Just look at the cancellation in Oakland tonight. It's really sad.

Apr 04, 2014 21:57 PM
rating: -11

Yes, we learned what a tough guy you think you are when you commented about taking the daughter of a baseball executive to the Dallas Hyatt Regency to give her a golden shower.

That takes a real macho man just like you, Beef.

Apr 05, 2014 02:36 AM
rating: 4

Well, as of right now he's still in the hospital so mayyyyybe it's more than a tummy-ache.

Apr 05, 2014 18:52 PM
rating: 4

It's okay to get rid of a player for what you think is bad makeup. But to trade him for a bag of magic beans and then publicly call him gutless is pointless, classless, and low.

The Rockies' problem were not and are not on the field. They were and are in the front office.

Apr 05, 2014 10:02 AM
rating: 9
Richard Bergstrom

From my end, Fowler played the most games of any Rockies player since 2009. Perhaps he's not a superstar, or even a star, and perhaps he had to go for payroll or attitude reasons or whatever... but center fielders who get on base and hit with a bit of power don't grow on trees and I'd like to think the Rockies could've gotten more back for him than a fifth starter hopeful and a backup outfielder.

The Kiszla follow up article, I'll admit, I don't understand. Besides, shouldn't comments about player attitude, if any, be coming from someone in the clubhouse and not from O'Dowd who admittedly isn't there?

Apr 06, 2014 05:54 AM
rating: 4

Ultimate Astros ‏@UltAstros 2h

Still too ‘weak’ to play, Dexter Fowler rejoins Astros http://bit.ly/1qeWvA7

11:55 AM - 7 Apr 2014

Apr 07, 2014 12:52 PM
rating: 0
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