© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000
NEW YORK -- Now that the Buck Showalter era is officially considered an error in Arizona, the stories of his controlling and manipulative ways are seeping out. Among other things, Showalter:
Ordered the Bank One Ballpark scoreboard operator not to show the American League home run leaders because the list included Tony Batista, whom the D'backs had traded to Toronto.
Insisted on having Equal, rather than sugar or a different artificial sweetener, for his coffee, and when it wasn't available would call back to Arizona to have it shipped overnight express.
Would have family and friends in Arizona tell him what the team broadcasters were saying during games, then criticize them for what he perceived as a negative attitude.
Once berated a visiting clubhouse attendant because the ketchup was in a plastic bottle rather than glass.
Got into an argument with fill-in TV analyst Joe Garagiola Sr., the father of the team's general manager, after Joe Sr., a longtime player, asked a simple strategy question before a game.
This is the same man who, during the building of the franchise, supposedly had a say in everything from the height of the outfield fences to the kind of wood used for the lockers to the brand of toilet paper stocked in the clubhouse.
COACHING CAROUSEL: The Devil Rays have started the process of interviewing candidates for their three coaching staff openings -- batting, bench and bullpen -- but, no surprise, they are not saying much about it.
Manager Larry Rothschild apparently has talked to Hal McRae, who would be a potential bench coach or batting coach, and Wade Boggs, who likely would be a batting coach candidate. Other names that may surface include Chili Davis, Terry Collins and Triple-A manager Bill Evers. Besides the obvious duties, the new hires will need to help with infield and catching instruction.
BUSINESS AS USUAL: Last year at this time the Rays were embarking on an ambitious off-season plan to increase the payroll and make several big-name acquisitions. That is not likely to happen again, but general manager Chuck LaMar said it doesn't necessarily mean the off-season has a different feel.
"Not as of yet," LaMar said. "Once we get our marching orders from (managing general partner Vince Naimoli), it might feel different. In the next couple weeks we should get a feel for where the budget is headed."
MONEY MATTERS: Arizona has other problems besides replacing Showalter. Despite drawing 2.9-million fans, nearly double the Devil Rays, the team will lose $10-million to $15-million in cash and $30-million on its books, according to managing general partner Jerry Colangelo. "There are only two ways to solve it," Colangelo said. "A capital infusion or additional lines of credit." Revenue projections have lagged by nearly $100-million over three years, leaving the D'backs to explore "creative financing," hoping baseball's financial structure soon changes. "It's been a humbling experience," Colangelo said. "And one I'm not pleased with, despite the fact that a lot was out of our control." The Rays, by the way, don't discuss finances.
MINOR MATTERS: Catcher Pat Borders and pitchers Victor Zambrano and Stevenson Agosto, who all played at Triple A for the Rays last season, signed minor-league contracts that include invitations to spring training. ... The Rays opted to receive undisclosed amounts of cash rather than minor-leaguers to complete the July trades with Oakland (Jim Mecir and Todd Belitz for prospect Jesus Colome) and Toronto (Steve Trachsel and Mark Guthrie for prospect Brent Abernathy).
HOO-RAYS: The major-league scouting staff is scheduled to meet this week to evaluate team needs and possible acquisitions. ... The Rays raised $10,365 for Tampa Bay area Boys & Girls clubs at a Sept. 30 event, pushing their donations to local charities to almost $1-million for the season.
YOU DON'T SAY: Fired Dodgers manager Davey Johnson was asked about his relationship with general manager Kevin Malone. "That's really a heck of a great question," Johnson said. "I'll tell you, there's a whole lot I could do with a question like that, but I'm not going to give a heck of an answer. I'd just rather leave that one for everyone else to draw their own conclusions."
TEARFUL GOODBYE: Who said there is no crying in baseball? It was bad enough for San Francisco manager Dusty Baker to have to walk by the Mets' clubhouse and smell the champagne from their celebration on his way back to the Giants' locker room. When he got there, "a couple of wives were crying," Baker said, "and it was, like, "You think you're crying, you should come in here.' "
- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.
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From the wire
From the state sports wire
Baseball Hubert Mizell College football Lightning Motorsports Sports Etc.
Hubert Mizell College football Lightning Motorsports Sports Etc.