Silent bats figure to cost Down

With New York going 7 for 50 with men in scoring position against the Marlins, Rick Down may be out of a job.

Updated: October 27, 2003, 4:18 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
In movies, villains are wont to dispatch henchmen who have displeased them regardless of the expediency of the move. Years of loyal service are snuffed in one swift act of punishment for a temporary lag in productivity. While Yankee hitting coach Rick Down is unlikely to be fed to sharks like an out-of-favor toady of a Bond villain, his days with the team may be numbered, an Associated Press report suggests. With the team going 7 for 50 with men in scoring position during the World Series, ownership might be displeased enough to scapegoat him for the loss of the Series.

Alfonso Soriano
New York's struggles at the plate will likely cost Rick Down.
Of course, this gets back to the old question: just what the hell does a hitting coach do, anyway? Did he suggest that they change their approach whenever men were on base? Was he failing to say things like, "get a hit now, buddy!" when they strode to the plate with ducks on the pond?

More importantly, what was Down not doing during the World Series that he was doing during the season when the team scored the third-most runs in the American League and led the loop in walks? Did he suddenly lose whatever ability he had up to the start of the World Series? There are two ways to look at this:

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at