One of the more interesting responses to the fallout from the Chance Sisco demotion, is that maybe this is just a publicity stunt to get the Joseph brothers together on a MLB diamond.
Maybe it’s a way to sell tickets.
I wanna say, ‘What?’ But past precedent shows the Orioles aren’t beyond that thinking.
In 2001, which was Cal Ripken Jr.’s last season, which should have been enough from a PR standpoint, the Orioles traded for Tim Raines Sr., in October so he could spend four games playing with his son, Tim Raines Jr., an Orioles rookie.
It got some national coverage and we wrote about it locally, so I guess it worked. And the Orioles can forever claim Raines Sr., now a Hall of Famer, as one of their own — albeit ever so briefly.
This, of course, is a lot different.
Having Corban and Caleb Joseph together on the big league roster won’t exactly be national news, though brotherly teammates haven’t happened with the Orioles since Ripken and little brother, Billy, last played together in 1996. (It certainly was a huge deal in 1987 when the two were managed by Cal Sr.)
Anyway, this is a nice story especially given that both the Joseph boys have had to grind their way through their careers. Caleb spending seven seasons in the minors before his first call-up in 2014 and Corban going five years in between big league assignments (his debut was in May 2013 with the New York Yankees).
But no extra tickets are gonna be sold – at least not in Baltimore. In fact, given the Orioles’ roster carousel, there is no guarantee both will be with the team when it comes back home after a week on the road.
Although, there’s no better place for the Orioles to go this week for the Josephs than Atlanta.
The brothers grew up near Nashville, roughly a three-plus-hour drive to Atlanta. They also have extended family in Atlanta. So, I’d imagine they’ll have a huge support group this weekend when they take on the Braves.
So, maybe this was a stunt to sell tickets in Atlanta.
End of a weird saga
The Orioles haven’t announced it officially, but with the demotion of Sisco, Joseph will be back catching for the Orioles, something he has done fairly regularly since 2014.
I’m still a little uncertain why Joseph was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk in mid-May anyway. True, he was hitting just .182 in 80 plate appearances, but that was primarily because of an awful April in which he hit .137. He was batting .269 with his lone home run in eight games in May when he was sent down. His defense wasn’t up to his standards, either, but that seemed to improve in May as well.
The thought at the time was that the Orioles wanted to give the full-time job to Sisco, and it was tougher to do that with the veteran Joseph hanging around. But Sisco never truly was given that everyday job. He made 12 starts in April, 14 in May and seven halfway through June.
There also was the sentiment that maybe the Orioles were trying to send a message to their struggling veterans that no one was safe. And Joseph was one of the few with a minor league option remaining.
But that certainly didn’t resonate, either. Joseph isn’t considered a high-salaried vet, not compared to most of those on the team.
And the Orioles were worse, record-wise, without Joseph.
They were 13-28 with him on the roster and 7-22 while he was in Norfolk. In other words, they were bad regardless.
Just another head-scratching move by the Orioles in 2018.
Mutual respect despite bad seasons for Mattingly and Showalter
Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly have been friends for a long time – they were first teammates for the Double-A Nashville Sounds of the New York Yankees’ organization in 1981, and later, in New York, Showalter managed Mattingly for four seasons.
The mutual respect is still there.
“I remember the first time I saw him in the minor leagues, I knew that I was gonna have to find another position than whichever one he chose to play or they chose for him to play,” said Showalter, who, like Mattingly, played first base and outfield in the minors. “He was a great teammate. Then as you get him as a player, you appreciate him even more. I have a lot of great Mattingly stories, all of them reflective of the character and the man.”
Now they are both big league managers for teams that are among the worst in baseball. They were together this weekend for three games – Mattingly’s Marlins winning two of them – but there were no tears shed about their current fates.
“We don’t sit there and commiserate. One thing that he and I, I know we share, is that we don’t sit around talking bad about players,” Showalter said. “Donnie’s not a guy looking for a sympathetic ear, and nobody wants to hear it. But they got the right guy to take them down that path, that’s for sure.”
Mattingly said the same thing about Showalter and the Orioles – he has empathy for him, but he’s not worried about his old friend and skipper.
“Buck actually went through (down times) when I was playing for him in New York early on, turning that thing around over there,” Mattingly said. “So, Buck knows what he is doing. He knows exactly what he is doing all the time. Empathy, yeah, but you know he knows how to handle it.”