Monday, February 15, 2010
Steve Smith, Amazing Manager - 171
Be sure and check out the revisited Steve Smith post from March 2011: Steve Smith, Did A Lot
When you start a project like this, looking at 880 players and coaches from a 20-year-old set, you're bound to see things differently. You start to see set members everywhere.
They're managing and coaching teams, they're pitching against each other in the 2004 World Series, they're taking swings at umpires in Dominican league games.
Last night, I saw one on The Amazing Race.
Steve Smith, the sometimes volatile one-time manager of the Oklahoma City 89ers and current third base coach with the Cleveland Indians, is competing on the CBS reality travel show, the same show that happens to be among my favorites, if not my favorite show.
For those who aren't fans, the show pits teams of two in a race around the world. The teams have some relationship: relatives, friends and such. Smith is competing with his daughter, Allie. That's them up top, from a CBS slideshow.
But more on the race, later.
Smith made the 1990 CMC set as the manager of the Rangers' AAA club in Oklahoma City. It was his eighth year managing in the minors, helming clubs the previous seven with Padre farm clubs. But, in 1990, Smith put up a not-so-amazing record of 58-87.
Smith previously spent seven years as a player in the Padres system. He got as high as AAA as a player, playing four seasons at that level, never making the major league club.
He finally made the big leagues in 1996 as a coach for Seattle. On his Amazing Race Web site bio, he lists that as something that would surprise people: that it took him 20 years in pro ball to make the majors.
By 2008, Smith was with the Phillies as third base coach of their World Series winning team. Despite his success, the celebration didn't last long. A week after the Phillies beat the Rays, Smith was fired.
He'd had several on-field incidents, arguing with umpires and receiving suspensions. He was ejected for arguing a call, Sept. 3, 2008, suspended for two games. A year earlier, in June, he was suspended three games for arguing a call. The year before, in 2006, five games for arguing a call and inadvertently spitting chewing tobacco in the umpire's eye.
"I didn't spit on him," Smith told MLB.com after receiving his 2006 suspension as a coach for the Rangers. "I had a dip (of chewing tobacco) in and maybe I got a little bit on him, I don't know. It wasn't spit. There might have been two little pieces of dip that came out, if so, I might be in trouble. What happened to the good old days of arguing with umpires?"
He was also accused of just being a bad coach, sending runners when they shouldn't have been sent. Though, according to one account, the criticism abated with winning. Still, another account has Smith the only Phillie booed during the World Series victory parade.
He sat out 2009, but, by Nov. 19, he was confirmed as the Indians' new third-base coach. One Indians blogger liked the hire for the intensity it brought.
Also by Nov. 19, Smith was also deep into getting ready for his reality TV turn. Sunday's first episode was reported concluded on Dec. 2. Smith and his daughter made it through to episode 2.
Of course, I'll have blog updates on Smith and his daughter's progress every week, until they're eliminated, or they win. Watch for this week's Amazing Race review this evening, including a take on whether his on-the-field intensity will translate to an around-the-world race.
For now, here's a link to Episode 1: The Amazing Race
Cards Reviewed: 50/880 - 5.7%
Made the Majors: 29 - 58%
Never Made the Majors: 21 - 42%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 11
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 17
Steve Smith Tally
Steve Smith: Amazing Manager
Episode 1, LA to Chile: Fourth Place
Episode 2, Chile: Seventh Place
Episode 3, Chili to Argentina: Second Place
Episode 4, Argentina to Germany: Second Place
Episode 5, Germany to France: Second Place
Episode 6, France: Third Place
Episode 7, France to the Seychelles: First Place
Episode 8, Seychelles to Malaysia: Eliminated