Results tagged ‘ Gene Lamont ’
Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said a week ago that while he hadn’t received any requests from teams to interview any of their coaches for managerial openings, he wouldn’t stand in anyone’s way. With three managerial spots still open, the landscape has changed, and it’s now going to include Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont.
According to the Boston Herald and Providence Journal, the Red Sox announced a new round of managerial candidates interviewing at the end of this week. One is former Tigers player Torey Lovullo. The other is Lamont, who will reportedly interview Saturday. The Tigers confirmed that Boston asked for and received permission to talk with him.
Lamont, who turns 65 on Christmas Day, managed the White Sox and Pirates for four years each from 1992 to 2000. He led Chicago to the 1993 AL West title and had them atop the AL Central in 1994 before the strike hit. An 11-20 start in ’95 cost him his job. He succeeded Jim Leyland in Pittsburgh and mounted a surprising charge to contention in the NL Central ion 1997 before finishing 79-83, five games behind the Astros. He had a 78-win season in 1999, but 69-win seasons in between.
He hasn’t talked openly about managing again, preferring to stay in the background as Leyland’s confidante and assistant strategist, but his experience and demeanor make him a veteran candidate. He was a bench coach in Boston in 2001 under Jimy Williams, so he knows the following there.
Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont wants a World Series ring. He still has an opportunity to win it this year after they pulled out Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, and he tried to grab the bag that helped save that chance for him.
“I tried to get the base after the game,” Lamont said, “but it had a camera in it.”
Whether it had any luck left in it after the Tigers milked some out of it is unknown.
“Sometimes you need a little luck,” Lamont said with a smile. “Sometimes a lot of luck.”
Lamont makes his living at third base, even if he doesn’t make plays there. It’s his job to judge balls all over the field and decide whether that runner heading in from first or second has a chance to score on it. He has had an active and much-discussed series at that, from his decision to hold Ramon Santiago at third base in Game 2 as the potential winning run to his choice to send Miguel Cabrera on Delmon Young’s eighth-inning fly ball in Game 4.
All in all, Lamont has proven to be a pretty good judge, especially on balls headed past third base and into left field. But he had no way of anticipating what was going to happen once Miguel Cabrera’s ground ball in the sixth inning of a 2-2 game headed that way.
He saw Rangers Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre playing the line and getting in front of the ball, behind the bag, ready to start a double play. He saw Beltre put his glove up at what ended up as thin air and look behind him in bewilderment.
He saw Ryan Raburn charging for third while the ball was still bouncing around the left-field corner, making his job easy — Raburn waved in, Tigers pulled ahead.
He still couldn’t quite believe it. He has seen plenty of balls hit the bag over his years coaching there, but very few react like that.
“It happens,” Lamont said, “not very often. Just lucky it hit kind of the front [of the bag] and skipped up. If it just hit on the top, he would’ve probably caught it.”
He figures the topspin helped determine the hop. To him, though, that was the first break. The second lucky bounce was the way the ball rolled into the corner, strong enough to get there yet not quickly enough for left fielder David Murphy to have a play at the plate.
“When it went down there, I could see it go into the corner and it kicked,” Lamont said. “It was slow. That’s what happens sometimes. This one took a long time to get there. That makes a difference.
“It was hit hard enough that it got down in the corner. It could’ve just stopped. If it had done that, he would’ve run straight for it.”
It took a little negotiation from higher powers. Eventually, manager Jim Leyland ended up with it.
“I have that bag in my office right now,” Leyland said. “And that will be in my memorabilia room at some point in my life, I can promise you.”
For now, it’s going to stay in the clubhouse.
“You know, it put us to Game 6,” Lamont said. “[It’s] not for me, for the team. Between that and Victor [Martinez] hitting the triple standing on there, it’s quite a bag.”
Compared to the news overnight, the day-to-day dealings of a baseball team are minutiae. Still, it’s my job to chronicle it. So if you’ve been looking for some emotion from the Tigers over the course of their slow start, then Sunday’s game was it.
While Jim Leyland talked in his office with reporters after Sunday’s 5-4 loss in Cleveland, the doors to the clubhouse were closed, something that rarely if ever happens after games. A few of the voices inside were loud enough to be heard in Leyland’s office down the hall. The door slamming after one exchange could easily be heard.
Once the doors opened, it was a very subdued, quiet clubhouse, with players and coaches inside. At one point, Brandon Inge and Alex Avila were talking with Joaquin Benoit, who took the loss Sunday with a three-run eighth inning.
Not sure whether it could be called a closed-door meeting, or a session, or a reaction to something else. One player indicated it wasn’t something as formal as a meeting. Suffice to say, it was not a pep rally.
Nobody went into details on what was said.
“It’s good,” Inge said. “It’s one of those [things] I think can unite the team. We’re good, anyway, but I think we’ll be better in the long run for it.”
Said Avila: “After the game, doors are closed. It’s just us, and we’ve just got to figure things out.”
Leyland didn’t say anything about what was going on inside, though the commotion could be heard ongoing while he talked. When asked what he can say to players during struggles like this, though, without putting too much attention on the struggles, his remarks hinted at something.
“All you can do is try to relax guys as much as you can,” Leyland said. “That’s what you try to do. And then at some point, you have to say something else. I mean, all you can do is support them. But at some point, you have to step up. That’s just the way it is.”