Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Wild Day at the Series and Off The Field, Too

As I have often said baseball is a game where something unexpected happens every day.

Wednesday was no exception.

First, the Giants climbed back into the Series with a 4-3 win over the Angels behind the excellent pitching of Kirk Reuter and company.

Next, the Bay Area lost one of its finest managers when it was learned by the media that Art Howe has accepted the Mets offer to become their manager for the next four years.

Who will succeed Howe is still not 100% certain, but the specualtion I heard at the park was that Ken Macha, Howe’s bench coach will be named the new A’s manager when the series is concluded.

What does it mean to the A’s? Are the Giants now the favorites to win the Series?

Click “Read more” and we’ll talk.This World Series is very reminiscent of 1960 when the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates met in one of the classic series of all time.

The Pirates won the first game in Pittsburgh then proceeded to lose the next two to the Yanks by scores of 16-3 and 11-0. I remember everyone saying that the series was over, Pittsburgh had no chance, and the Yanks were the greatest team ever.

Game four, just like tonight, turned that series around. The Pirates beat New York 3-2 behind Vernon Law to square the series two games apiece, thus slowing down the coronation.

Pittsburgh won game five 5-2 and took the lead three games to two.

New York came back in game six behind Whitey Ford beating the Pirates 11-0, setting up the heroics of Bill Mazeroski in game seven.

Pittsburgh and New York battled to a 9-9 tie going into the bottom of the ninth inning when Maz led off with a game winning homer off Ralph Terry.

What was amazing about the series was this: New York outhit Pittsburgh 91 to 60, outscored them 55-27, outpitched them with an ERA of 3.54 to 7.11, and still lost the series.

Sounds like the mismatch between the Angels and the Giants this year. After game three it appeared that the Giants could never outscore the Angels, but like the Pirates in 1960, the Giants brought sanity back to the series with a normal 4-3 win.

Now game five matches Jason Schmidt against Jarrod Washburn, in what should be the best game of the series.

If the Angels win game five they will be in the drivers seat because they hit Russ Ortiz and Livan Hernandez, the Giants game six and seven starters, very hard in games two and three.

Anything can happen when all seems lost, this is the beauty of baseball.

Every game is a universe unto itself, momentum switches, the oohs and ahs of the crowd, and the look of the players, it all adds up to the drama of each game.

Anytime Barry Bonds is involved in the game the Giants have a chance, provided they get some decent pitching. The Angels hit the ball hard almost every inning, that is until the Giant bull pen gets into the game. If Schmidt can keep it close, like Reuter did Wednesday, then the Giant bull pen can make the difference.

Francisco Rodriguez lost his edge in his second inning of work Wednesday night, his ball came up, he fell behind the hitters, and had to pitch out of the stretch. It all added up to trouble for the Angels. If the Angel bull pen is now mortal, this series becomes very interesting.

Either way, the series now has its own life, it has grown up into a dramatic event and will go at least six games.

Pretty good turn around tonight.

Now the A’s.

The GM and owner finally got their wish, seeing Art Howe leave town.

Make no mistake the A’s could have prevented this move and Howe would have welcomed a chance to take another shot at making the World Series.

Howe won 295 games in three years, led a team that drew over two million people, and made a ton of money for his employers, with nary a peep when they consistently refused to give him a market raise or a vote of confidence.

From Art’s point of view, he loved the team, the fans, and the experience of taking a 100 loss team to a two time division champion. The feeling of the fans was mutual.

If his accomplishments were not good enough for the owner and GM, so be it, it is their loss, not his.

Howe now has his multi million dollar contract and the respect of an owner and GM who want him to lead their team on the field.

The A’s will be just fine next year with the big three and the maturation of Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada, and Jermaine Dye. Of course, provided everyone is healthy.

If Ken Macha gets the job he will do a great job as long he knows how to spell the names Mulder, Hudson, and Zito. Macha’s challenge will come in handling the bull pen, with its aches and pains, and keeping the ship on a steady course when the inevitable slumps creep in.

Being able to weather the storms of a 162 game major league season comes with managerial experience.

Macha will have to learn how to deal with the media and the constant advice from the front office.

Needless to say, Macha is getting a team that won 103 games last year, anything short of a playoff appearance and he will be on the hot seat. Imagine if he has some injuries to deal with, or the team struggles like it did in May 2002, or attendance lags behind the 2002 pace.

What will Steve Schott say to the media? Who will he blame the decline on? What spin will the GM put on why the team he gave Macha is not performing as he knows it can?

If Macha doesn’t take the job, then it will be a most interesting decision, probably the biggest of the GM’s career as to who he picks as manager.

Not many people apply to come to the A’s to work, I can’t wait to see the list if Macha chooses to go to Milwaukee or Chicago.

We will know more in a day or two when all this shuffling becomes official.

Baseball is a tough game, every year is different, winning 295 games over a three year period is being taken very lightly right now.

There is an old saying “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

Well folks, Billy Beane and Steve Schott just got what they wished for by allowing Art Howe to leave.

I hope it works out.


1 Anonymous { 10.24.02 at 12:25 pm }

Marty, man

You are one of our few voices in the media and to the team. Where is the anger at Beane and Schott? They are fools for letting Howe go. If Beane wants to blame someone for the playoffs, he should blame himself. Lilly is his project and he had plenty of say in how the rotation was set. I wish Howe would have decided to stay just to stick it to Beane and Schott one last year. He obviously knows where he isn’t wanted, though. I hope things go well for him in NY.


2 marty { 10.24.02 at 1:07 pm }

I appreciate your comment. I try to call it the way I see it.


3 Anonymous { 10.24.02 at 7:04 pm }


Are Schott and Beane trying to run the team into the ground so that a sale is inevitable a la Montreal and the Marlins? This is strting to look like the Billy Martin/Steinbrenner antics of the 1970s.


4 Anonymous { 10.25.02 at 1:20 am }

You’ve got to wonder what Billy Beane and Steve Schott are thinking. They just let a very likely manager of the year walk away with hardly a goodbye.

We would like to think that this is part of a plan to keep the team a contender. Unfortunately, it sounds like ego getting in the way of performance. – David and Steve

5 Anonymous { 10.25.02 at 5:59 pm }

I certainly don’t think they are trying to “run the team into the ground.” I really think they have a lot of faith in Macha and knew that if they wanted him to be their manager, the window of opportunity was opening and closing right now. I also think it is a mistake. Macha may be great. Who knows? But Art Howe has done great things with this team. Nonetheless, it is just what we have come to expect. If a player gets too good to be affordable, we lose him at free agency. If a manager gets too good to be affordable, we lose him to somebody who will pay him what he is worth.

The one bit of credit I will give. The A’s knew they were never going to pay Art Howe what the Mets would and they were never going to guarantee him the number of years the Mets would. So, instead of refusing other teams’ requests for permission to talk to him, they granted it. Hooray for Art! Finally the contract security (if not job security) and pay that he deserves. Boo to the A’s for failing, yet again, to pay a man what he is worth.

Steve B.

6 Anonymous { 10.25.02 at 7:33 pm }

I realize the World Series is going on but look how little attention Art has received by leaving the A’s. No one really cares. If Dusty leaves the reaction will be quite different. I don’t blame Art for leaving-it was the smart thing to do.

7 marty { 10.25.02 at 7:33 pm }

Good comment, at least the media is exploring the reasons why Art Howe is leaving, (mainly to do with A’s management), and recognizing him for building this team on the field. It wasn’t that easy to win 205 games in two years.


8 Anonymous { 10.26.02 at 1:02 pm }

I think it is a good deal for Art and a good deal for the A’s. Art gets his multi million $ contract and the A’s get a manager that the ownership and Beane can support. Art needed Beane more than Beane needed Howe and he should get the same support from the Mets. I come down on the side of the A’s as I think Howe got out managed in all three playoffs. Some of it was bad luck but he played and pitched the right guys at the wrong time. Macha seems to be smart and the players like him. He should be a good replacement and can learn from Art’s mistakes. Go A’s

9 Anonymous { 10.26.02 at 1:02 pm }

Marty, your article regarding Art Howe’s leaving and the wishes of Billy Beane and Steve Schott was very insightful…and I believe accurate. I think you are courageous in some of your comments (“…Beane is a devious sort…”) and it adds credibility to your premise.

However, I don’t think Art helped himself this year with the team continuing to be plagued by the same old problems of previous years. Namely, the inability to manufacture runs, and the abysmal record of hitting with runners in scoring position or scoring with risp with 2 outs. The A’s inability over the last three years–this year being the worst–to correct this problem put tremendous pressure on the team, particularly when they ran into those inevitable periods when the bats weren’t hot and the need to “make things happen” versus “waiting for things to happen” is the difference between a good club and a great one. For whatever reason, Art Howe hasn’t shown that he understands how to traverse that gap. And frankly, that’s been his history wherever he’s managed.

I think he’s a great human being and a solid, steady manager who commands and deserves much respect. If I had a young son who was coming up in the game I’d like him to play for Art Howe. But when it comes to getting over the final hurdles to become a champion, “waiting for things to happen” doesn’t get it done.

I wish him well and appreciate what he’s done for the A’s. I’m looking forward to seeing if the

A’s will find what it takes to climb to the next level. I’m not confident with Steve Schott calling the shots. – Rich P. Clayton, CA

10 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

11 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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