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Former Marlins Pitching Coach Arnsberg Story


DaGreatOne

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I'm in a generous mood, so sure.

 

Here you go pubes:

 

Another chance for Arnsberg

After being fired by the Marlins last spring, pitching coach joins SkyChiefs.

 

December 28, 2003

 

By Matt Michael

 

 

While Florida Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett was shutting out the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the World Series Oct. 25, Brad Arnsberg was right there with him.

 

Not in body, mind you, but in spirit. While Beckett was at Yankee Stadium clinching the MVP Award and Florida's improbable World Series title, Arnsberg was 1,400 miles away at his Arlington, Texas, home, trying to convince family members and friends they shouldn't feel sorry for him.

 

The Marlins fired Arnsberg as their pitching coach May 11, the same day they fired manager Jeff Torborg and replaced him with Jack McKeon.

 

"Why feel bad for me? I felt like I was a very big part of that, and I've had phone calls from (Marlins) players telling me that," Arnsberg said. "They're sitting there drinking their champagne after the (National League Championship Series), and I got phone calls saying you're here with us in spirit. That was a boost to my ego, more than tearing me down.

 

"I couldn't have been happier for the players," added Arnsberg, who had been Florida's pitching coach since the start of the 2002 season. "That's the only way I'll put it; I'm elated for the players."

 

As for Florida's front office, that's another story. It's safe to say Arnsberg did not feel the same joy for general manager Admin Beinfest and owner Jeffrey Loria.

 

Beinfest and Loria fired Arnsberg during an ugly, late-night meeting at Arnsberg's Miami apartment. Arnsberg admits he raised his voice during the exchange, but he insisted he was not "borderline violent," as Beinfest said the next day.

 

Apparently, the incident did not taint Arnsberg's reputation as one of the baseball's brighter young pitching coaches. The Toronto Blue Jays, unhappy with the performance of the Syracuse SkyChiefs' staff last season under pitching coach Tom Filer, 2

 

jumped at the chance to hire Arnsberg as the Triple-A SkyChiefs' pitching coach this fall.

 

"I didn't take the high road, and maybe I'm faulted for that," said Arnsberg, 40. "With my reputation, my work habits and my love for the athletes and the game, I was very confident that I hadn't done anything that I was out of bounds with."

 

At one time the Yankees' best pitching prospect, Arnsberg underwent tendon surgery in 1988 and spent the next five years bouncing between the major and minor leagues. In 1989, when he was playing for the Texas Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, Arnsberg hit it off with Loria, the team's owner.

 

Loria, an art dealer, eventually purchased the Montreal Expos, and he hired Arnsberg as team's bullpen coach in 1999 and pitching coach in 2000. When Loria sold the Expos and bought the Marlins before the 2002 season, Arnsberg and most of the other Montreal employees followed Loria to Florida.

 

During the 2002 season, Arnsberg became the target of intense criticism for the way he handled Florida's young pitching staff. Torborg said Florida wanted to fire Arnsberg before the 2003 season, but Torborg objected and the Marlins backed off.

 

"I told the owner, 'This man is too good. He doesn't deserve it,' " Torborg said. "One of the things you have to understand is that loyalty goes in a lot of directions, and I was loyal to a guy like Brad who works his tail off for you."

 

Arnsberg came under fire again this past April, when Marlins right-hander A.J. Burnett went down with a season-ending elbow injury that required surgery. Before going on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder in August 2002, Burnett averaged 111 pitches per start that year - among the highest in the major leagues - and topped 120 pitches 10 times.

 

Arnsberg and Torborg disputed the claim they overworked Burnett. They said there were no indications that Burnett had a serious injury until spring training in 2003, and after that they handled Burnett with kid gloves.

 

"To have that said about us is almost laughable, if you knew how careful we were," Torborg said.

 

For his part, Burnett did not place any blame on Arnsberg and Torborg. Instead, he said the Marlins' front office withheld information from Arnsberg and Torborg that he had a bone spur in his elbow. It's a claim Burnett never backed up, and Beinfest vehemently denied.

 

Meanwhile, twoother Florida starters - Beckett (elbow sprain) and Mark Redman (fractured thumb from a bunt attempt) - were placed on the disabled list in early May. After losing to the Colorado Rockies 5-4 May 10, the Marlins were 16-22, and their 4.29 earned run average ranked 10th in the 16-team National League.

 

That night, Beinfest called Arnsberg and they agreed to meet at Arnsberg's apartment. Beinfest and Loria arrived after midnight, and they told Arnsberg they were firing him and replacing him with minor-league pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal because the pitching staff had not lived up to expectations.

 

What followed was a short, but heated, exchange that ended either with Arnsberg "raising his voice" or becoming "borderline violent," depending on the point of view.

 

In a May 11 Miami Herald story, Beinfest called Arnsberg's behavior "unprofessional, abusive and bordering on violent."

 

Through Steve Copses, the Marlins' director of media relations, Beinfest said he was not going to comment on Arnsberg.

 

"There was talk that I became what was quoted as 'borderline violent,' and that was so far from the truth," Arnsberg said. "As I stated later, if a man raising his voice is what they consider borderline violent, then I stand guilty as charged."

 

Arnsberg said he was upset because neither Beinfest nor Loria pinpointed what Arnsberg did wrong. The next day, when Arnsberg arrived at Pro Player Stadium to get his belongings, he was denied access to the players' parking lot on orders from the front office.

 

Several Florida pitchers came to Arnsberg's defense, with Beckett telling the Miami Herald that the firing "made me want to cry."

 

"On the way of pushing me out the door, they tried to embarrass me and tried to take my dignity from me, and I think that's one of the worst things they could have done," Arnsberg said. "I think that's where the Burnetts and Becketts and (Brad) Pennys all went to bat for me because they knew . . . the heart and the soul and the passion that I put into everything that I did."

 

Torborg wasa coach with the Yankees when Arnsberg made his major-league debut in 1986, and he said he's always looked at Arnsberg as a "surrogate son." And like a parent, Torborg said he was concerned that Arnsberg would be blackballed after the incident in Florida. But those fears were soon put to rest.

 

When the Blue Jays decided to fire Filer as the SkyChiefs' pitching coach, Blue Jays farm director Dick Scott's first thought was to hire Arnsberg. Scott and Arnsberg were minor-league teammates with the Yankees, and Arnsberg's history with Florida did not scare Scott.

 

"I thought his pitchers responded to him at the major-league level (with Montreal and Florida)," Scott said. "He's a good communicator, and we think he's the guy to push our pitchers to the next level."

 

Arnsberg worked as a pitching coach in the minor leagues for Texas from 1995-99, and Reid Nichols, the Rangers' farm director during that time, said Arnsberg knows how to work with young pitchers who are still maturing physically and mentally.

 

"He's a high-energy guy, and the players always knew he had their best interest at heart," said Nichols, now a special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin for the Milwaukee Brewers.

 

To hear Arnsberg talk, the energy is still there and he can't wait to start working with the SkyChiefs' pitchers in spring training. Arnsberg said he's not sure exactly what went wrong in Florida, but he's eager to put the experience behind him and get back to doing what he loves best.

 

"I am so excited to be out of (Florida) and have my mind clear along with not having the feeling of always being second-guessed and always having somebody looking over my shoulder," Arnsberg said. "I don't know what happened, I just know that I'm excited about being back."

 

 

 

Blue Jays make moves

 

Left-hander Valerio De Los Santos agreed Saturday to an $850,000, one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, who also agreed to minor-league deals with right-hander Jayson Durocher and outfielder Chad Hermanson.

 

De Los Santos, 31, was a combined 4-3 with a 4.50 earned run average last season with Milwaukee and Philadelphia, which acquired him Sept. 2 for a player to be named. Durocher, 29, was 2-0 with an 11.05 ERA last season with Milwaukee. The pair became free agents when they weren't offered 2004 contracts by the Dec. 20 deadline.

 

Hermanson, 26, hit .160 with two runs batted in during 11 games and 25 at-bats with Los Angeles last season. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Theres more to this story than meets the eye.

 

It is obvious that Beckett and the rest of the young pitching staff responded from Rosenthal's instruction. Every time i saw Rosenthal would come up to the pitcher's mounds, 80% of the time the pitchers would shape up and continue to do better. In Arnsberg's case though, he was the most apathetic pitching coach during games that i have seen. It's one thing to be a nice guy and be cool with the pitchers and develop them, but its another thing during gametime that you know what to tell your pitchers when they are in a tough situation and how to handle them.

 

In the end, the hard facts are there. When the new pitching coach and manager came in, we started winning. And its true that there was tension between the pitchers and Mckeon during the beginning, but under whose guidance did we win the world series?

 

Torborg didnt know what to do with what he had, and most of the time misused it (He gave the green light to basically all the speedy players) And as i stated before, Arnsberg was very very apathetic.

 

Difference between Torborg,Arnsberg and Mckeon,Rosenthal? The first accepted the BS notion that the Marlins were a "second rate" team, and the other two brought out the full potential out of every single player.

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Theres more to this story than meets the eye.

 

.

DaGreatOne, Thanks for posting the article. Maybe Arnsberg deserved firing but it seems to me he was ambushed in his own home. Loria and Beinfest didn't show up after midnight to "chat." IMO they went there to fire him and, in the process, provoked him to raising his voice. Very shabby. Sucks.

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Maybe Arnsberg deserved firing but it seems to me he was ambushed in his own home. Loria and Beinfest didn't show up after midnight to "chat." IMO they went there to fire him and, in the process, provoked him to raising his voice. Very shabby. Sucks.

Of course they went there to fire him. Where did you get the notion that they ambushed him? They went there to fire him and that's what they did. At least they had the guts to do it face to face, rather than with a phone call.

 

I agree Beinfest messed it up and should've taken the high road in the press the next day and just lied and said "Arnsberg took it like the professional he is." But if you think Arnsberg was "ambushed", you're being pretty naive.

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Maybe Arnsberg deserved firing but it seems to me he was ambushed in his own home.? Loria and Beinfest didn't show up after midnight to "chat."? IMO they went there to fire him and, in the process, provoked him to raising his voice.? Very shabby.? Sucks.

Of course they went there to fire him. Where did you get the notion that they ambushed him? They went there to fire him and that's what they did. At least they had the guts to do it face to face, rather than with a phone call.

 

I agree Beinfest messed it up and should've taken the high road in the press the next day and just lied and said "Arnsberg took it like the professional he is." But if you think Arnsberg was "ambushed", you're being pretty naive. I think the point he is tryin to make is that he got fired at home, not many people do. Usually its at workplace itself.

 

Also I dont know if he has family but if he did and they were present thats pretty heartbreaking to be fired right in front of your family, it defintely would piss me off.

 

But in no way am I defending what he did when he go to PPS or anything of that.

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I think the point he is tryin to make is that he got fired at home, not many people do. Usually its at workplace itself.

I was responding more to the "Loria and Beinfest didn't show up after midnight to "chat." IMO they went there to fire him..." line. That sounded to me like BenchWarmer was implying that Loria/Beinfest went to Arnsberg's apartment under false pretenses.

 

I also never got the impression that Arnsberg was fired in front of his family. I also thought he was in his apartment alone. I don't know why I thought that, just an assumption I made - I never heard one way or another.

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I think the point he is tryin to make is that he got fired at home, not many people do. Usually its at workplace itself.

I was responding more to the "Loria and Beinfest didn't show up after midnight to "chat." IMO they went there to fire him..." line. That sounded to me like BenchWarmer was implying that Loria/Beinfest went to Arnsberg's apartment under false pretenses.

 

I also never got the impression that Arnsberg was fired in front of his family. I also thought he was in his apartment alone. I don't know why I thought that, just an assumption I made - I never heard one way or another. Yeah I dont think I ever heard it was in front of his family but never heard that he was alone wit Loria and Beinfest either. It was just a thought I threw out there.

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If you have an office, you use it for business.? You don't go to a guy's home after midnight to fire him (and then lock him out of the Stadium the next day.)? Very shabby at best.

This is kind of a pointless argument because it's been made so many times so long ago, but the Front Office guys were between a rock and a hard place. The news was out so they had to meet with him as soon as possible. Of course, it was the Front Office's fault that the news was out.

 

I'm with you, BW - it was done very poorly and was a classless act by our Front Office. Our Front Office has done a lot of things right but this wasn't one of them. I don't fault Arnsberg for having had a few drinks on his own time and I don't fault him for getting angry. We should've kept that information to ourselves and shown him a little more respect, no matter how Arnsberg behaved. I've had to fire a few people in my life, and while they've always handled it well, I've been prepared to deal with bad reactions. You have to be calm and just let them vent and try to get them back on point, which is the actual separation. BTW, people are very often fired outside of the office. It actually can save them some embarrassment as they have to walk the gauntlet to the front door.

 

Our Front Office made the right decision but executed it really badly. But I don't think they were guilty of an "ambush". I don't think they called Arnsberg and said "hey let's talk about next week rotation" and then fired him instead.

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