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Fredi Gonzalez is not pleased with two players who didn’t report early

Feb 14, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT

Fredi Gonzalez probably throws harder than Livan Hernandez AP

This isn’t a full-blown Terry Collins situation — Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t offer a serious tirade or anything — but he made a point to voice his displeasure yesterday about two players who didn’t show up to spring training early: Jordan Schafer and Tyler Pastornicky. Dave O’Brein got Gonzalez’s joking-but-pointed comments:

“We’re waiting for [Pastornicky] again this year.  Schafer probably has a tough time getting travel arrangements. He’s another one I’m going to grab. He only lives two exits up the road here; I haven’t seen him yet … I didn’t know he signed a deal with Frank – he’s got a five-year deal, guarantee to play one of the three outfield spots.”

Position player reporting day was not until today, but Gonzalez went on to say how he told them both that it would be in their best interests to show up early.

Which, yes, it probably would given that neither Schafer nor Pastornicky have secure jobs on the team. I presume that if you or I were in their situation we’d show up early too because we’re sensible folk who don’t like to leave that much to chance.

Still, the shop steward in me bristles when I hear managers going on like this. There’s a reporting date for a reason. If a guy shows up on time, he’s on time. Doing that bare minimum doesn’t make him a great worker. It doesn’t do him any favors. But I’d hope it would exempt him from public reprimand like this.

  1. Old Gator - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    When Fat Fredi shows up early to the palyoffs, we can start taking him seriously.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      No “Edit function?” post OG? Don’t give up…never give up. LOL.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      Crap like this usually comes from managers who feel insecure about their job. In most instances, they are insecure because they are in over their head.

    • Jeremy T - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      He already made it to the playoffs one game earlier than most teams last year

      • Old Gator - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:23 PM

        And lasted how long?

  2. realgone2 - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    The only thing early about my Braves and Fat Fred is their exit from the playoffs.

    • heyblueyoustink - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      Maybe a little Adderall would keep Fredi’s eye on the prize.

  3. Gobias Industries - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    “This isn’t a full-blown Terry Collins situation — Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t offer a serious tirade or anything…”

    Terry Collins on Luis Castillo in 2011: “I was hoping he would be here,” Collins said. “Yeah, I was hoping he would be here, just so I can get the conversation over. And, again, I’m a real believer in sending a message to the organization as a player.”

    Terry Collins on Ruben Tejada in 2012: “I am a little surprised,” Collins said Wednesday. “A lot of it is just selfishness on my part. I take great pride in the game itself, and respecting the game. I wish everybody had the same respect for it to want to get started as early as possible. So I know Ruben will come in great shape. I know he’ll be ready to go. I just wish he was here.”

    I understand that you disagree with these comments, but how do they qualify as “tirades”?

    • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      A Mets manager showing any sign of life whatsoever probably rates as a “tirade” considering how boring they have been for the last few years.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    If you’re early then you’re on time. If you’re on time then you’re late.

    I love that kind of bullshit, it’s times like these I look at the talents of my highers ups, when I hear this sort of thing, and chide them as far as I can. If you judge people on how early they get there before start time, then you’ll run a mighty fine mediocre ship.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      I used to work with a guy who was notoriously prompt. You could set your watch by the time he arrived in the office and left it. And, that’s probably the best thing he was noted for. I’d rather be known for the quality of my work. People who worry about being early are, as my mother would say, majoring in the minors.

      • heyblueyoustink - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Mom got that one spot on.

      • bklynbaseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        And in this case, I believe Fredi’s point is “How bad do you want it?” If your answer is “why should I have to come in early when the others don’t?”, then I guess Fredi has his answer. It really wasn’t that long ago when managers NEVER had to say this to young players. What about those other guys – Jeter, Ripken, Schmidt, Verlander – who ALWAYS get to camp before the reporting date??? There is what to be said for self-motivation. Too bad.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        First of all, I love V, but he is in Florida already b/c he goes down early to get away from the winters and play golf. But, also, I’d take a guy who’s been doing his own prep during the off-season and shows up on-time and gives it 100% over a guy who shows up early & starts his work then. In and of itself, being early indicates nothing. You have to look at the substance of what they bring.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Agreed. Simply arriving early doesn’t get the job done Philiac.
        It’s what you do WHEN you arrive.
        In your case…that dude was just lazy. But from a skills standpoint…if two people are truly equal who do you think is gonna be looked at in a better light? The guy who shows up early and give the extra effort? Or the guy who just does the minimum?
        Again…if each employee is truly equal from a skills standpoint who is most likely to prosper?

      • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        I say that depends. Just because he isn’t there doesn’t mean he’s not done extra prep at home or that he won’t give it all he’s got when he gets there. I hate these people who refuse to let you have a work-life balance. Players get a limited time at home every year. Respect that — and appreciate that they give 100% when they are there (if they do).

      • heyblueyoustink - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        As someone who’s worked without the safety net of a salary or hourly wage, my day, every day, begins at $0, for over a decade, getting the job done, being trusted by your clients, and what you do when you’re on the seat > he must be ood because he is prompt all day long and twice on Sundays.

        It’s not who gets in first, it’s who does the most with their time and how willing they are to stay that keeps the meter moving forward. I’ve seent plenty of prompt folks wished well in their future endeavors.

      • stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        “I say that depends. Just because he isn’t there doesn’t mean he’s not done extra prep at home or that he won’t give it all he’s got when he gets there.”

        Understood. And I agree. But that isn’t really in the neigborhood of what I posted.
        If both are equal (from a skills standpoint)…who is gonna’ be held in the better light?
        The person who just does the minimum (but gives his 100%)…or the person who goes above and beyond…someone who routinely comes through…(while giving his 100%)?
        Not to simplify it…but it is quite simple.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        That’s you then. I HATE when people show up to meetings early. I don’t want you there before then. I have things to do. You are not respecting my time when you do that….and you get to cool your heels in reception until I am ready for you.

    • bklynbaseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Being somewhere when you’re supposed to be – being on time – is not necessarily indicative of ability to do the job. In that sense, your mom was right. However, it does speak to your sense of personal responsibility, professionalism, self-discipline, and respect for others. Or lack thereof.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        They are on time. Coach wants them early. That’s what I’m objecting to.

  5. daveitsgood - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    In Fredi’s defense (I can’t believe I just said that) I can see his point. both of them live within a 20 minute drive and it behooves them to show up early. I get that it’s not mandatory, but Chris Johnson lives in Vegas, packed his family up and.drove straight out to camp to show up early because he wants yo do everything he can to win his spot. Perception is sometimes reality.

  6. xmatt0926x - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    I can see both sides of the argument. Yes, today may be reporting day, but as Craig said, showing up “on time” is the minimum effort you can make. The problem is that we have all seen over the years as fans that guys that aren’t locks for playing time or even a spot on the team usually try and go out of their way to put forth maximum effort, not minimum, to show that they belong and should be considered for playing time. Whether or not it really helps in any way may not be the point. The precedent is there in pro sports. Is the union cable guy going to get any more security or make a meaningful impression by showing up at 7:30 instead of 8 every day? Probably not.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      “Is the union cable guy going to get any more security or make a meaningful impression by showing up at 7:30 instead of 8 every day? Probably not.”

      I agree Matt. I will also add the Union will actually not allow him to recieve preferential treatment.
      But I own a business and we are an open shop. I will absolutely reward the guy who goes the extra mile. Not only from a wages standpoint…but a time off work standpoint.
      If you bust your ass…do a great job…and I can always count on you…you will be rewarded.
      If you have a Doctors appt. If you have to leave for a parent teacher meeting…if you have a personal issue in general to address…I will pay you for the remainder of the day. I don’t have to do this. This is my perogative. If you are an employee who only does the bare minimum. Who is obviously only here for the paycheck…you will not only NOT be paid when you have to leave early…I will fire your ass if it happens to frequently.

  7. unclemosesgreen - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Don’t know too much about Pastornicky, but with a guy like Schafer, where there’s been a large gulf between his perceived level of talent and his on-field performance, you want to see more hunger. The heady arrogance of his uber-prospect days still doesn’t seem to have worn off for Schafer, you’d think that getting cut by the Astros would be a wakeup call, but apparently not.

  8. innout10 - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    If they aren’t showing up til the bell that’s fine… Neither of them showed up on the field last season either though and neither will make the MLB club. Have fun in Gwinnett boys.

  9. Walk - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    He is just upset they did not show up to help pack their gear from atlanta to the spring training site. Usually pitcher and catchers and non starters are around to help some.

  10. pilonflats - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    i dont see a problem with what he said. he sees two players that are fringe roster guys that might not make the team and they need the extra work and to show their dedication to the team. its not like they were starters and their jobs in the bag. if anything he’s doing them a favor by telling them their status with the team. with that being said i wish chipper jones would come back instead of putting together basketball hoops.

  11. paperlions - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    The problem with ignoring report dates is that the “expected” date for players to report will just continue to creep. In a few years it will be “everyone else was here a week early, player X should be here a week early”….just like “off-season non-mandatory activities” in the NFL, in which teams publicly bitch about guys that don’t show up to do things they are not paid to do. If NFL teams had their way, there would be no off season….and MLB teams would love to do that as well.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      If you give them an inch…

      Plus, you know, they might just have natural grit.

  12. elmo - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I hope this is just an attempt at motivation. If Fredi really imagines there’s a connection between these guys not showing up early and their actual abilities as baseball players, I would question Fredi’s ability to assess baseball players. Whether or not they deserve to make the team should have nothing to do with whether they “show commitment” by reporting 24 hours early. That’s just stupid.

  13. stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    It doesn’t exempt them from anything. If you don’t have a secured spot…you work your ass off by working diligently and giving the extra effort. No different then one of my employees who might be on the bubble.
    If I gotta’ make a decision (and from a talent standpoint they are equal)…I am keeping the the employee who regularly gives the extra effort. Why is this hard to understand? Easy decision.
    As for the a public flogging…
    Good for Freddy. Get their attention. These aren’t elementary school kids who you are embarrassing at the playground. They are grown damn men who get paid a good wage to act like grown damn men.

  14. vallewho - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    MLB need to put a leash on idiot managers when it comes to this “reporting early” stuff.

  15. bobulated - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I have no problem with Fredi telling two borderline journeymen, one with a checkered past far down on his list of chances, that getting into camp would be a good idea. And I would guarantee you that a lot of players in the clubhouse agree and have no problem with him saying it in the way he said it.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Absolutely Bob. And as someone else posted…Fredi was actually doing them a favor by letting them “subtly” know where they stand (should either of them be confused about their status).

  16. stlouis1baseball - Feb 14, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    My guess…and it is only a guess…
    Of the people who have read this article and/or posted on this article…
    85% are in their early to mid 20’s.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      I’m not! he he

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