By: Jeff Riger
As the Tigers continue to lose and the bats fail to produce, Detroit fans everywhere want accountability, they want a firing!
And, can you blame them? I can’t!
So who is it going to be? Who do fans want gone the most? I think the answer is obvious, it’s hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.
It seems like the hitting coach is one of those gigs where people truly are not sure of the job description. We know a hitting coach analyzes swings, breaks down video and also plays a role of “shrink” to some of their players. But how accountable is McClendon when it comes to this year’s troubles? I have no idea. But former Tiger and current Yankee Curtis Granderson probably does.
Granderson is the one player fans use as an example of McClendon failing to do his job correctly. People talk about the struggles that Granderson had in Detroit and his failure to hit left handed pitching and automatically think “it was Lloyd’s fault.” Those same fans then recite Granderson’s current stats, his very impressive power numbers and the fact that he was a MVP candidate last season with the Yankees and the only conclusion is that Kevin Long, the New York hitting coach is so much better than McClendon.
Makes sense! Right?
Well, Granderson disagrees.
“Lloyd McClendon and Kevin Long never get at bats, so it’s not them out there hitting” Granderson said. “People talk, well I didn’t learn this from Lloyd McClendon and then I did all this extra stuff with Kevin Long but people forget from 2006 to 2007 that was my first year with Lloyd McClendon and I did the 20, 20, 20, 20 (20 homers, 20 steals, 20 triples and 20 doubles) all thanks to Lloyd McClendon.”
Granderson continued, saying, “in 2008 after being hurt, still came back and hit .280 and did some good things and helped us win some ball games. Then in 2009 I struggled a little bit and that’s part of baseball, you are going to struggle but again Lloyd wasn’t out there hitting, the pitchers were getting me out, I was getting myself out.”
So how is Long, the Yankees hitting coach different form Lloyd?
“Now here in New York Kevin Long, very similar to Lloyd McClendon, interactive, wanting to see you do well, wanting to succeed, ready to go for you all the time in the cage and constantly looking for changes and the only difference was that Kevin Long could throw me left handed batting practice where obviously Lloyd McClendon couldn’t, he’s right handed” said Granderson.
Since there seems little to no difference between McClendon and Long, a guy Yankee fans want fired as well, I wondered if fans make too big of a deal about wanting to fire hitting and pitching coaches when their teams struggle?
“This game is all about excuses, there is never this team beat us or we beat them. There’s is a reason why we lost and there is a reason why we are not playing good, there is a reason all the time and everybody is looking for that excuse instead of just looking at the obvious which is pitchers get paid a lot of money to get hitters out” said Granderson.
I fully understand that even if Granderson didn’t think Lloyd did a good job, he would not throw him under the bus. However the comments seemed very sincere to me. Listen to the interview below and then answer the question for yourself. Does Lloyd McClendon deserve to lose his job?