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Starlin Castro benched after Sunday’s lapses

Aug 22, 2011, 6:27 PM EDT

Starlin Castro Getty Images

Upon reviewing the tape from Sunday night’s game against the Cardinals, manager Mike Quade has decided to give shortstop Starlin Castro a “mental day off” against the Braves on Monday.

In truth, it’s a benching.

Castro has been accused of a lack of focus several times during his age-21 season, and ESPN focused on it a couple of times last night, once pointing out how he had his back turned as James Russell was delivering a pitch.

ESPNChicago has the quotes:

“I was really disappointed and surprised, very surprised,” Quade said after watching the video of the game. “But it’s something from Day 1 focus-wise. It’s something, to be honest with you, that he has to work on. With his talent, that’s the toughest challenge for him.

“It’s simply not acceptable, not good. He feels terrible. I talked to him today, and we are giving him a day. After seeing last night, you have to make his concentration a priority. Getting him to concentrate pitch to pitch. He can do it, and we think he will. And we’ll make sure that happens.”

Castro figures to be back at shortstop tomorrow, and he’ll remain the Cubs’ shortstop long after Quade is gone as the team’s manager.  Still, it seems like the right call from Quade here.  For all of his talent, Castro still needs to have a few lessons pounded into his head.

  1. willcoop - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Now I’m going to blow a gasket on this one here. This reeks of complete stupidity by the Cubs manager and just lends justification to the fact that he is not a good Manager. If Bobby Valentine hadn’t said anything, we are not having this conversation. What does this say for the Cubs manager and coaches? Says they are buffoons because they let the broadcaster dictate how his team is ran. Then Quade has the stones to say,”maybe I need to call Bobby and see what he saw!” Are you effing kidding me? Please get this joke of a manager out the door, he has no clue and no business being in that position. He should be totally embarrassed as a field boss to have to rely on the broadcaster to tell him what’s going on with his players on the field. His coaches should be canned as well because they are supposed to be the extra eyes watching what’s going on out on the field. I’m not saying Castro was right, but how can you discipline a player for something you didn’t see yourself as the manager? Quade has beat this kids ass all year and it’s not getting through, so that tells me that the staff has no control of the players and how they go about their daily business. Time to bring in either Brenly or Sandberg. Brenly definitely will not put up with that crap.

    • hittfamily - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:43 PM

      “Quade has beat this kids ass all year and it’s not getting through”

      In Quade’s defense, if you bench your best player, how can he expect to keep his job. It isn’t just him. Logan Morrison was a problem child, so the upper management sent him down. Joe Maddon has benched BJ Upton for days at a time for not hustling. He still doesn’t hustle. Milton Bradley and Carl Everett, All-Star caliber players, were traded every other year, and no one got through to them. Colby Rasmuss, a top prospect just got traded because Larussa didn’t like him. The Cards are not better off because he’s gone.

      My point is, sometimes, the manager has no control, and Maddon and the Marlins solution is likely better than La Russa’s. Put up with it, and utilize the strengths, and not dwell on the weaknesses. Try to fix them, but take what you can get from a 21 year old phenom.

    • jeffbbf - Aug 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM

      Disagree. I don’t think you can generalize here and assume that Quade and the coaches were asleep at the wheel, and as a result, missed Castro’s antics. Speaking from experience (granted, not pro experience), a manager and his coaches are looking at multiple things at any moment. Once kids pass the age of say, 12, you sort of stop making sure the fielders are paying attention on every pitch. However, if someone approached me and told me that my shortstop had his back to the outfield while a pitch was being delivered, and I could confirm that…my shortstop would find himself on the bench.

      • bambam08 - Aug 23, 2011 at 7:22 AM

        Castro should have been benched right after the pitch he didn’t see hit the mitt. For a major leaguer to do that is unbelievable. I’d have him benched again today. Best player or not he has to be taught a lesson. If the management fire the manager because of doing the right thing then it shows why they haven’t won anything.

        The last two years I’ve seen so many things that were done wrong in the majors that I had to start using the MLB as an example of how not to play it.

  2. willcoop - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    By the way, if you guys think I went overboard on this, take me to task. But it seems like the players are not the only ones not paying attention.

  3. sknut - Aug 22, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    I see your point but this is more about Castro than the manager, this is multiple times and better he learn this now than let it continue.

  4. jamie54 - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Sorry, Brenly = Retread. The manager gets too much of the credit and here too much of the blame. Cubs did not tank it last year under Quade so don’t lay more blame on him than on the player. Player is the one on the field who should have his attention focused so BS on your diatribe. 85 % on Castro no matter if he’s young or not. Get in the freaking game.

  5. willcoop - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Hey sknut, I agree with you on his performance and lack of attention span, but it took the broadcast team to point it out to the manager who had no clue. That’s why I say the players are not the only ones not paying attention.

    • sknut - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM


      I see what your saying, and there is no excuse for Quade not to notice this on his own but really in 3 years there is a better chance that Castro is still there than Quade and as a fan I would worry more about the players than a manager that can’t do his job.

  6. proudlycanadian - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Leave Arod (er) Starlin alone.

  7. willcoop - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Jamie54, I agree to disagree on this one. It’s almost September and if he hasn’t got it by now, maybe some time in the minors can adjust your attitude. Does not matter that he is an all star this year, shoot a player and send a message to the entire team. When I did my time in the minors, it was more about concentration and learning how to be a pro at the highest level.

  8. hittfamily - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    I think this is a product of Latin American baseball. It’s not his race or his country, just his training. Many of these players are the best hitting 15 year olds in the world, and have never played in an actual game. It is nothing but skills training down there. Not until they sign to be in a professional camp do they actaully take a position, and learn game instincts/situations. His mistake is one you would expect of a kid, and perhaps that is all that he is—-baseball wise at least.

    It isn’t just this play. I see mistakes by Latin American players that are rarely noticed by announcers. For example, they rarely even glance at their third base coach. Every time there is a Latin American player on fist, and the ball is hit to right field, they look over their shoulder at the ball while rounding second, rather than looking at third base. This slows them down, and on bang bang plays, it is usually caused by the 2 steps they took while having their upper body cocked 90 degrees in the wrong direction.

    It is their coaching growing up. Everything they learned before their 16th birthday was geared around impressing a scout, rather than actually learning instincts that come with experience of playing the game. He focused on nothing but fundamentals growing up, and now he has to learn how to play baseball.

  9. Panda Claus - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    I can’t see that Ryne Sandberg could have possibly done worse than Quade has.

    I know this doesn’t truly compare, but now that Sandberg is managing the Phillies AAA team at Lehigh Valley, they’re about to finish above .500 for the first time in the Iron Pigs four-year history. Coincidence? Probably not.

    FWIW, if the Cubs decided to offer Quade’s job to Sandberg for 2012 I’m pretty sure he’d take it.

    • professor59 - Aug 23, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      Not so sure about that. When he was passed over for the Cubs job, he jumped to the Phillies. All indications are that he is the heir apparent to Charlie.

  10. hittfamily - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    AAA records have very little to do with the coach. Progression of the players will have much is a much better indication of the effectiveness of Sandberg. I don’t know if he is doing a good job or not, but looking at his team’s win loss record is not a good indicator.

    • Panda Claus - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:52 PM

      You’re probably right about the relevance between the two, but I admitted that up front. More important was the first sentence of my comment.

      Lost in my ill-fated comparison is that Sandberg has had success as a manager, no matter where he’s done it. Soon to be 4 out of 5 years with winning records. And yes, that too probably is somewhat irrelevant–unless you own a team in need of a good manager.

      • hittfamily - Aug 22, 2011 at 9:30 PM

        I’m not a Cubs fan, and don’t watch the games. What is he doing that is so bad. I look at that team, and nothing says “playoffs”. Below average everything. The head coach can’t make guys hit, pitch, or catch. He can platoon in the right situations, and pull pitchers at the right time. Pena’s not hitting .220 because of Quade. Hell, his year this year is better than last.

        Cubs fans, what has he done that others would be better at?

      • thomas2727 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:18 AM

        Pretty hard take somebody seriously when they call a baseball manager a “head coach”.

        You realize you a referring to Mike Quade not Mike Ditka?

      • hittfamily - Aug 23, 2011 at 4:20 AM

        Head Coach

        You don’t take me seriosly because I called him a head coach? That is why you should take me seriously. Until you get to the majors, no one is a “manager”. AAA, AA, A, D1, D2, NAIA, community college. Head Coaches.

        I never played in the majors, but apparently you did.

  11. ja4ed - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    It’s inexcusable that Castro had his back turned when the pitch was thrown, but then the ESPN guys went completely overboard. They went on and on about Castro not wearing his glove in between pitches, while comparing him with Barney. Barney was alert, moving with the pitch, doing everything right. Castro was lazy and undisciplined. Then the camera flashed to Barney and he wasn’t wearing his glove in between pitches! There was nothing but silence from ESPN booth.

    • sknut - Aug 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

      And to your point its too easy to find a handful of pitches in a game where player A has his glove off or looking around, we all do that at work its not unreal to think that ballplayers don’t do that too.

      • bambam08 - Aug 23, 2011 at 7:25 AM

        Except if we do it at work we don’t have the risk of being seriously injured or killed with a liner.

        It’s common sense to pay attention in the field. ESPECIALLY in the infield. Unless he’s trying to get himself killed.

  12. willcoop - Aug 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    Point taken sknut, I used to do it as well.

    • hittfamily - Aug 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM

      Between pitches, do what you want. I never played pro like you, but I played Florida Community College ball and at a D1 school. As long as you are ready by the time the pitcher starts his motion, who cares what happens in the 30 seconds between them. I have never seen someone have their back to the play like Castro did.

      • thomas2727 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:22 AM

        Once again you are spewing garbage.

        The average time in between pitches for most MLB pitchers is about 12 seconds.

        In between each pitch every player on the field should see the pitch called and be aware of what they will need to do based on the multitude of different outcomes of the pitch.

        Not spacing out looking at the ground or turning their back to the plate.

      • hittfamily - Aug 23, 2011 at 4:51 AM

        12 secomds instead or 30. Clearly you have looked at someone elses stats, and act as if you you are an expert. It happens a lot here, so don’t sweat it.

        thomas2727 –

        You know nothing about baseball. If the whole team shifts to the outside, they have just given away an outside pitch. If they move to the inside, they have just given away an inside pitch. For example : awww fuck it. This response is so deep in this thread, it doesn’t matter…..but. If the shortstop moves to his right, the batter should expect offspeed and outside, if he is right handed. Lefty is the opposiste.

        Good lord. You accuse me of being dumb, then you prove yourself to be retarded.

  13. joespov - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    1) Castro is Responsible for HIS Actions; He was remiss in his duties & deserved to be benched & fined. No big league player, regardless of his age, can justify these actions. He was wrong and no excueses should be tolerated or accepted. Personal accountablity is lacking. Does it again and down to the minors.

    2) On Field Management was remiss in their duties; If Quade or one of his coached missed this then they are inept. Someone in on-field management saw this and looked the other way instead of doing their job and correcting the situation in real time. To miss this or look the other way should not be tolerated. On field management accountablility is lacking.

    3) Player Leadership is Lacking; Veterans lead by speaking up should have held Castro accountable. They get paid to do this as part of their job. He teamates are not holding themselves accountable. They have been allowed themselves to be lazy.

    This is why the GM got fired. Ricketts has moved too slow as evident that this has to even occured. The only hope is that the new GM he hires is smart enough to manage Ricketts, on field mgmt and the players by holding them all accountable.

    Welcome to the toughest job in America.

    • thomas2727 - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:26 AM

      Totally agree with you on #2.

      How did the coaching staff or better yet the manager not see the issue during the game and take immediate action?

      I saw Bruce Bochy bust Don Mattingly for taking one step off the mound last year and get him charged with a second visit to the mound. Quade is appears to not have the attention to detail that is needed to be a successful manager at the major league level.

      Nothing ever seems to be Quade’s fault with this team.

      He seems to be as asleep on the bench as Castro was on the field.

  14. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 23, 2011 at 8:01 AM

    The Cubs just need to clean house, and when they fired the GM they started that. Now the new GM should be a no-nonsense guy who commands respect. That’s why Pat Gillick would be perfect for this team…unlimited payroll and some pretty good talent. And since Kenny R. said Pat wasn’t interested, I expect Gillick to be hired soon after the season ends.

  15. trevorb06 - Aug 23, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Really when you think about it the poor kid might just have ADD/ADHD but due to the MLB drug business he probably can’t or is trying to avoid taking medication for it.

  16. feartherallythong - Aug 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I was thinking the same thing – my son wrestles with this issue, and I could not ever see baseball being a good fit for him. Too many opportunities for distraction.
    Now, if I could just get him to grow to about 6’6″, basketball might be the thing…

  17. willcoop - Aug 23, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    I appreciate the great responses to this subject. The reason I was so pissed about this is because I attended a Cubs game and watched Soriano looking in the bleachers during a pitch and the coach in charge of the outfielders just put his head down and turned away. Ivan DeJesus positions the infielders on every batter and pitch and he was remiss in seeing this. I know a lot of posters says at the major league level you should know better. Twenty years ago the catcher was in charge of positioning his fielders, I know this because I was a catcher in AAA and that was my job. Today’s players are way different than 20, 30 years ago. The blame goes to the manager, the player and the front office. Unfortunately for the Cubs, their best player was asleep at the wheel. Is there a wonder as to why there is no captain on the Cubs? Easy answer, no leadership from not one veteran on that team. The person that showed the most passion also happens to be the biggest head case and is on his way out of Chicago.(Zambrano). This team doesn’t need house cleaning as much as it needs a stick of dynamite and a heart transplant throughout the organization. Find a manager that understands the culture but able to hold the players feet to the fire, at the same time winning some games and that guy will be a hero. Unfortunately, I think that guy is managing the Yankees. Quade is in over his head and the players sing his praises but their on the field action shows different. Castro is a star in the making. He leads the league in errors, so that means his concentration is not where it needs to be. And what does that tell you about the coaching staff working with this guy to improve? Not a damn thing!

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