So Long Paul; Thanks For Trying
Man, 2018 has been a climactic year for Paul.
Molitor, that is.
And for St. Paul.
The capital city, that is.
That one, often-overlooked city of the Twin Cities has provided three Hall-of-Fame players from the same generation, and a fourth who was arguably the sweetest hitting catcher of all time, at least for a short time.
Sure, 2018 was nothing new to Dave Winfield, who has been basking in the afterglow of his time here for years now. But it was a big year for Jack Morris, who was inducted by the veterans this past summer. Joe Mauer sure looked as though he was waving goodbye this last Sunday, of the 2018 season and now Paul Molitor has ended his 2018 season by being dismissed.
I’m not sure how to feel about his firing. I know how I’ve felt about his team for most of his tenure as manager: Not impressed. 2015 was refreshingly good. 2016 was horribly bad. Last season was refreshing, until the same old result against the Yankees in the playoffs. They could have been given a pass on that if they had built on that this year, and given the fans any confidence.
But they didn’t. Miguel Sano showed up to spring training straight from the buffet, Byron Buxton still hasn’t learned how to hit, and Ervin Santana couldn’t recover from finger surgery.
None of this is the fault of Mr Molitor.
He adapted to the new front office gentlemen wanting to use analytics, advanced stats, openers in place of starters, and defensive shifts. He has been willing to try anything to get more out of so many players who regressed this year. Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Buxton were supposed to be our outfield for years. Only Rosario should be safe, after a really good first half.
In other words, none of us, including Derek Falvey and Thad Levine at their news conference announcing the firing, can really point to a good, specific example of anything Molitor has done wrong. Maybe he didn’t do anything wrong, but his team sure couldn’t seem to get it right. We all love Paul Molitor, the player, and the man. But, I guess it’s time to say goodbye.
So, to him and Joe and Jack, all we really can say is, “Thanks.”