During the past 54 MLB seasons, former player Johnny Pesky has sat in the Red Sox dugout as a so-called special assistant and has helped a bevy of Boston managers with his observations and opinions.
Pesky was evicted from the Boston dugout during the team’s opener this week and has been told he will not be allowed to return. It’s all because MLB has decided to start strictly enforcing a rule governing the number of uniformed coaches in dugouts.
Pesky wasn’t singled out by the powers-that-be. Two special assistants with Colorado, former players Walt Weiss and Vinny Castilla, were ejected from the Rockies’ dugout. They’ve been told they can no longer sit on the bench during games, and they’re peeved.
“We had to watch on television in the clubhouse,” Weiss said, “and that’s awfully boring. We just walk from TV to TV around the room.”
“We ended up in the kitchen,” Castilla said. “All I did was eat. I’ll need to start working out during the games.”
Outside of players and managers, teams are allowed a maximum of six coaches in their dugouts. An additional coach can be added in September.
The issue, I’m told, will be revisited to determine if there should be exemptions for the likes of Pesky, but not until after the season.
• MLB has become truly multicultural, with a record 29 per cent of its players on opening-day rosters born outside the United States. And the season also has begun with the most Canadian players — 19 — in history.
Also, there are 98 players from the Dominican Republic, 51 from Venezuela, 28 from Puerto Rico, nine from Japan and others from Taiwan, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, South Korea, Curacao, Cuba, Colombia, Australia and Aruba.
Colorado has players from eight countries, another MLB record.
And get this: A whopping 46.2 per cent of the 6,701 players in the minor leagues these days were born outside the States.
• A surprise:
More folks are rooting for the irascible Barry Bonds to erase Hank Aaron’s home run record than are rooting for him to fall short.
According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, 35 per cent are rooting for Bonds, 30 per cent aren’t, 19 per cent said they didn’t care and 16 per cent had no answer.
• There’s a shortage of umpires in Ontario, according to the president of Ontario Sports Administration and he’s urging newcomers to step up to the plate.
“The need for new umps is paramount,” Jim Cottrell said. “We’re facing a crisis.”
Cottrell can be e-mailed at Ontario_umpires@sympatico.ca.