- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"He's showed bunt but doesn't bunt."
"In any kind of RBI situation, first pitch he's hacking."
"He was trying to hit Bankhead to right center."
"Book him." (That means pitch him "by the book," which is high and in with fastballs and low and away with breaking balls.)
"And [catcher Rick] Cerone and [third baseman Wade] Boggs have a [pickoff] play. They just throw a fastball away and Cerone comes up throwing. They got a guy at third the other day."
The meeting is relaxed, quiet, low-key and with little nonsense. It is a steady compilation of small decisions that will be dispensed to the team in a meeting on defense in about three hours.
Usually the Athletics get to the park around 5 p.m. for a night game, but this is the first game of the first series of the season with the Red Sox, so the middle infielders and centerfielders arrive at the stadium early, at 4 p.m., for a series of meetings. The first one is about what La Russa considers the first order of business: "How to get guys out." Does that mean how to pitch to them? Not really. It primarily means defensive positioning.
With players seated in the visiting clubhouse on a tatty couch, folding chairs and on the floor, Duncan calls the meeting to order.
Duncan: "Barrett: Play him straight at third. Shortstop is going to play a couple of steps up the middle. Second base is going to play him straight. First base a step off the line."
Lachemann: "Second base be alive with a runner on first and less than two outs."