Kansas City, here we come.
Having just read Frank Deford's baseball novel The Entitled, I couldn't help but see the similarities between Hargrove and one of the main characters in the book, Cleveland Indians manager Howie Traveler, who's described as "a displaced person. Baseball had cost him any sense of home." Hargrove -- a former Indians manager, incidentally -- seems to have made his decision partly because he misses home, or misses the feeling of being rooted to some sense of normalcy. A reporter asked him what he plans to do now that he'll be out of the game, one in which he's been a part of in a professional capacity for 37 years. "You know," Hargrove said, "my wife, Sharon and I, in the last 10 days, have probably talked more than we've talked in the last 10 years. That was neat." He may have had a follow-up thought, but he got choked up and left the subject on the table.
We might not know exactly how big a factor Sharon Hargrove was in her husband's decision, but interestingly enough, she was semi-profiled in a Seattle Times feature two years ago titled, "For better or for worse: The life of a coach's wife." There's this revealing excerpt, about after Hargrove was fired from Baltimore and spent a year at home, unemployed:
First she had to tell him it was fine to throw the peanut shells on the floor at the ballpark. Then she had to explain that tiki lamps shouldn't be used as supports for tomato plants. And lunch?
"I was rushing around the house busy with something, and he was sitting in the chair asking when lunch was," Sharon says. "I said, 'Mike, I married you for better or for worse, not for lunch. You can get up and make your own sandwich.' "
Hey, if the man's excited about journeying into that great unknown called domestic life, then by all means, godspeed.
During the press conference, Hargrove would every so often reveal details about his life -- rather intimate details, considering how much baseball people usually tell you -- that suggested he truly was done. No point in saving any more quotes, analogies, one-liners, anecdotes, whatever, for that illustrious national magazine...
"I've always been viewed, by the people that know me superficially, as somebody that's laid back and kind of goes along, gets along," he said. "I think if you talk to the people who really know me, from the time I was a little boy to the time now, you would find that that's not the case at all. That I have an extremely bad temper. And the good Lord has blessed me and that it doesn't last very long. So I'm not necessarily the calm, placid person that you see. It's kind of like the duck on the water that's real calm but his feet are paddling real hard underneath. So, anyway... yeah, Jim?"
The excellent U.S.S. Mariner blog offers its two cents.
"If I can't give [the players] my best, I'm harming them," Hargrove said. "And I can't do that." If his "harming them" equates to eight straight wins, then, for the sake of the Royals, less harming, please. The Mariners come to town today to open up a three-game set, with bench coach John McLaren taking the helm.
This will be a good series, I feel.