What a joke.

Like, well, pretty much everybody, I was stunned to hear bullpen coach Louie Isaac had been fired. I’m out here in Anaheim covering the ALDS, so I wasn’t at Eric Wedge’s press conference yesterday.

But from everything I’ve heard and read, this was Wedge’s call, and the only explanation given for Isaac’s firing was the rather lame claim that the “dynamic” of the bullpen needed to change. I’m not smart enough to know what that means, and Wedge didn’t elaborate enough to explain what it means.

Anyway, the point of this posting is not necessarily to rip what I believe to be a ridiculous move. It’s to send a salute to Isaac, a truly enjoyable “baseball guy” to be around. And boy, was he around. He had been with the Indians’ organization for 44 years — four more years than Wedge has been alive.

Two things will stand out in my mind about Isaac — his horseracing handicapping expertise and his jokes. In fact, Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal began compiling all of Isaac’s jokes during Spring Training this year, knowing full well Isaac had enough of them to fill a book.

So as we bid farewell to the sacrificial lamb, here is my favorite (well, not so much my favorite, but my favorite that can be repeated in this forum) of Louie’s jokes that helped pass the time in the dog days of spring (and keep in mind, all of Louie’s jokes are much better with his delivery)…

 

An old man is walking through the desert. He’s exhausted and dehydrated. He’s dying for some water.

He comes upon a tent. Outside is a stern-looking man, standing with his arms crossed.

“Water!” the old man gasps. “Do you have water?”

The man shakes his head. “No,” he says, “we don’t have water here. We just sell ties here. But I tell you what… My brother, he has a tent two miles to the west. He has a restaurant there. Go to him. He has tap water, spring water, moutain water. He’ll get you all the water you want.”

The old man heads west.

Hours later, he returns. By this point, he’s crawling. He is near death. He is completely exhausted.

“What happened?” the man at the tent says. “Did you get the water?”

“No,” the old man replies. “They wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have a tie.”

11 Comments

“What a Joke” is right. The bullpen coach? That’s the big coaching change that’s going to get the Tribe back in the playoffs next year? Who’s next on the chopping block? Equipment Manager? I’m not going to blame this year’s disappointment on Wedge like I see on so many Tribe blogs, but Louie Isaac? C’mon. 44 years of loyalty ought to buy you a little better treatment than that.

I found it interesting that the articles have all pointed out that Wedge did the firing. Not “The Indians have fired longtime bullpen coach…” but very specifically that it was Wedge’s call.

There’s got to be something to that, and after the season they just had it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a personal issue between the two of them.

Amen AC.. Can’t believe this….

“It’s 50-50,” Isaac said. “But one 50 can be stronger than the other.” (AC, 9/24/08)

Is that proper citation?

I wil say this. If you are attempting to send a message, as so many do these days in firing, this is a STRONG message. It’s crap that its a good guy who’s been around forever and was liked by just about everybody. However, it still lets you know that just because you’re a good guy, you feel safe in your experience and relationship with the club, and everyone likes you…if your portion of responsibility (in this case the VERY disappointing bullpen, which you can’t argue was disappointing) does not meet high expectations, you need to fix it or be prepared to lose your job. I guess my argument AGAINST the firing would be that, in my opinion, the ship was righted towards the end of the season with Perez and Betancourt becoming reliable, and Lewis emerging as a quality closing option. Also, if this is the mentality, Shelton shoulda been canned a couple times over.
Hey AC, make sure you’re campaigning out there for all those Anaheim Cy Young votes. I’d like to see Cliff take it unanimously.

I was surprised that they didn’t assign Issac to another role in the organization. Too many ‘roving instructors’ on the payroll?

Thanks for the honest take on this too, AC. If you happen to see Pedroia on the street, throw something at him for me. I’ll cover the bail money.

I definitely agree that the bullpen was horrendous this year. I’ve just always thought that the pitching coach was responsible for all the pitchers and the bullpen coach was one step up from bullpen catcher. I could be wrong about that, though.

bern1025,

Let me know how much that comes to. I’ve got a little bit saved up too

this is ridiculous, the stupidest move ever. after this entire year you get rid of Louie Isaac? just horrible. I never had a major problem with wedge until now.

AC, if you would share your thoughts on your boy please…

18 IP
20 ER
4 HR
17 BB
1 W
3 L
10.00 ERA

Those are CC Sabathia’s numbers over the last 4 starts the past two years in October, all playoff starts. The longest he has lasted is 6 Innings EVER in postseason, even if you throw in his rather uncharacteristic postseason start in 2001 where he only gave up 2 runs. If he chokes like this every October, I say we should pay the Yankees or Red Sox to take him. In his lone win, he lasted an amazing 5 innings, bailed out by our strong bullpen and 12 runs last year against the yankees.

Wedge is a jackass

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