Is Florida’s Jack McKeon losing his team? Is “Matlock” a dull television program? From the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi.
Last Friday at Washington, for example, Juan Encarnacion was easily thrown out at home after being waved in by third base coach Jeff Cox. Over the next two games, Cox held up at least two other runners on plays where they might have scored.
“I think that’s a direct result of Coxy being afraid to come back to the dugout and hearing, ‘What . . . are we doing?’ ” another veteran said. “(McKeon) is putting a lot of pressure on the staff, and he is very negative.”
On Saturday, McKeon chewed out reliever Guillermo Mota on the mound in front of more than 30,000 at RFK Stadium. After the 7-3 loss, the manager continued to lay into his pitcher in front of the team during a closed-door meeting.
“I don’t like meetings, but sometimes I have to put the facts of life out in front of them,” McKeon (above) said Thursday.
By Sunday, the atmosphere was so tense that Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca called a players-only meeting. Delgado and Lo Duca urged teammates to “play for each other” and ignore outside pressure.
During the 6-3 loss Sunday in Washington, some players noticed that they were congregated at one end of the bench while McKeon and coaches watched from the other end.
“It was an us-versus-them feeling,” a player said.
On Tuesday, McKeon called Perisho into his office to tell the relief pitcher that he would be traded, released or demoted.
“I walk in and he goes, ‘Sit down, Mike,’ ” Perisho recalled.
McKeon is known for forgetting players’ names ” as part of a running joke, McKeon and Jeff Conine intentionally greet each other with different names ” but Perisho was insulted.
“I pitched in 90 games for him,” Perisho said, “and you can’t even look me in the eyes and call me by my name?”