Rockies players react to Tracy's departure

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Rockies players react to Tracy's departure

From Comcast SportsNetDENVER (AP) -- Players who stood by Jim Tracy while the Colorado Rockies endured their worst season in franchise history are reiterating their support for him following the manager's resignation over the weekend.Left-hander Jeff Francis said he was surprised to hear Tracy had decided to step down, telling The Associated Press in an email: "I loved playing for him and I think everyone did. The Rockies will miss him for sure."Among the most vocal supporters was outfielder Dexter Fowler, who appreciated Tracy sticking with him through protracted slumps over the last two seasons before a breakout 2012. He tweeted, "Man I'm gonna miss Tracy, thanks for believing in me! You are a wonderful and stand up guy!"One of the few bright spots as the Rockies flirted with the dreaded 100-loss season before finishing 64-98, Fowler batted .300 with a .389 on-base percentage and 13 homers last season, all career highs.Rex Brothers, Tyler Colvin and Josh Rutledge also tweeted praise for Tracy, who informed Bill Geivett, the team's director of major league operations, on Sunday that he was forgoing the final year on his contract, which was to pay him 1.4 million."Gonna miss No. 4 sitting in that dugout at Coors! Thanks for everything skip. None better," Brothers tweeted.Colvin tweeted he was "Sad to hear the news about our skipper. It was a privilege to play for such a great manager and such a great person." He concluded with (hashtag)ClassAct"And Rutledge tweeted, "So lucky to be able to have played for a manager like Jim Tracy with the professionalism and intelligence for the game. He will be missed."Energized by the young players and the challenge of fixing things, Tracy had said repeatedly the last several weeks that he wanted to fulfill the final year on his contract and players including clubhouse leaders Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez said they were sticking by Tracy.Tracy, however, changed his mind after meeting with Geivett for several hours on Friday and then mulling those discussions over the weekend. He called him Sunday afternoon and offered his resignation.Tracy, who took over after Clint Hurdle lost the clubhouse in early 2009 and led them to the playoffs that year, finished 294-308 in three-plus seasons.The Rockies are now conducting their first managerial search since Jim Leyland resigned after the 1999 season. Geivett said he had no set time frame for hiring Tracy's replacement.Possible candidates include bench coach Tom Runnels and Stu Cole, who managed the Rockies' Triple-A farm club in Colorado Springs.

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?