During the Florida Marlins news conference announcing the return of Jack McKeon as interim manager, Trader Jack made light of his age — “my birth certificate says 80 but I’m not 80” — and showed he was at least aware of baseball in the social media era.
“Maybe I’m not hip with the Twitter or Facebook or something like that,” said McKeon — who shockingly pronounced Twitter and Facebook correctly. He was quick to follow that he would have no problem “disciplining any of these players.”
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And he’s holding true to his promise. Within a few hours of the Fish’s out with the old, in with the older announcement, McKeon put his mark on the team by rearranging the lineup (Logan Morrison to the two spot and Gaby Sanchez up to third) and, most importantly, benching Hanley Ramirez.
According to a tweet from Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Ramirez didn’t know why he wasn’t in the lineup after showing up late on McKeon’s first day. Yes, that’s right, slacker Hanley was late on the first day of his new boss. McKeon later stated Ramirez was out of the lineup Monday because he didn’t like the way Hanley was running on Sunday — a reference to his lingering back injury or Ramirez’s penchant for jaking it? No wonder Hanley gave Edwin Rodriguez a vote of confidence last Thursday — he was having it easy by not being held accountable! Well, Hanley, there’s a new sheriff in town and your shenanigans won’t be tolerated.
There will be no disrespecting of McKeon in the way Ramirez treated Fredi Gonzalez last season. Good ol’ Jack simply won’t care. And owner Jeffrey Loria will have Jack’s back in ways no other former Marlins managers have simply because of the 2003 WS ring.
Because of that, McKeon may very well be the best guy for the job right now. Chances are slim we’ll see a repeat of 2003, but any improvement on a 1-18 stretch will be considered a major success. All McKeon needs to do is guide this young team into the new stadium next season and then hand over the keys to Ozzie Guillen or Bo Porter or Bobby Valentine. That’s it. I think the old guy has that left in him … if not more.
McKeon jokes running rampant on Twitter
The twittersphere was going crazy this morning when the unconfirmed reports said Jack was back. Here are a few of the best …
@Djkevinado: Can’t wait to see Jack McKeon’s walker when he goes to the pitchers mound! #marlins
@CariSports: so the short version is, McKeon is older than some dead people? #Marlins
@kalwhiting: #Marlins will call 80-year-old McKeon their “interim” manager. No “fulltime” designation. Afraid he may not survive the 2011 season.
@LoMoDimples: So appropriate for Jack McKeon to manage the fish, since he played Fish on Barney Miller. #Marlins
@ragouri: #Marlins will introduce McKeon at 3 PM news conference. Scheduled between his 2 o’clock nap and his 4 o’clock nap.
@coachgillespie: Word is Jack McKeon is eyeing Jesus for the #Marlins pitching coach spot. Dirt has already interviewed for Bullpen coach slot.
@MLBFakeRumors: Heard this: #Marlins Jack McKeon, a decorated Union soldier, will use Civil War anecdotes to bridge divide in team’s clubhouse.
@BNightengale: #mlb #Marlins If Jack McKeon leads Marlins back to playoffs, they should put him in Hall of Fame tomorrow.
@Dr_Badoof: In honor of Jack McKeon returning, @FakeSamson and AARP are teaming up to give Depends to the first 5,000 fans at tonights game. #marlins
And last, but not least, is a link from one of my favorite Marlins tweeps, @BoobiesNStanton, whose blog (stripclubwithstanton.blogspot.com) is hysterical. He posted a hypothetical phone call between Larry Beinfest and Trader Jack that will have any fan familiar with McKeon rolling with laughter. Check it out here.