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Can you guess who they are?
I have never advocated a Closer by Committee—not in any book, not in any memo, not in any speech, not in private communication, not inside the Red Sox organization, not outside of it, not anywhere.
I think that what happened was, we were asked repeatedly who the Closer was, and, since we didn’t know, when somebody in the press suggested that we might have a Closer by Committee, somebody in our system said, "Yes." Whether it was Grady Little who said "Yes" or Theo or somebody else. . ..I don’t know. But I think that’s what happened.
Were we really intending to use a Closer by Committee? Well. . .no; it’s not a yes or no question, but "no" is more accurate than "yes". You have to understand how a front office works: different people have different evaluations of the talent. I think most of us were hoping that Chad Fox would be healthy... You don’t want to say that, however, because you’ve got several other relievers who would also really like to be the Closer and earn the Big Bucks.
Using a Closer By Committee is certainly not a way to maximize the leverage index of your best reliever. It is much more likely that it will reduce the leverage index of your best reliever—thus, it’s an argument against the Closer By Committee.
As my friend Sam Reich used to say, "If you can pitch in the sixth inning you can pitch in the ninth inning." But here’s what I really did not understand ten years ago, starting with the broader subject of the sprinter vs. the middle distance runner. You can run a lot faster in a short sprint than you can run if you are running two or three miles. For the exact same reasons, most pitchers are more effective when they’re throwing 20 pitches in an outing than when they’re trying to throw 130 pitches.... Closers are sort of "super-sprinters" who come into the game when the finish line is so close that you can smell it. There are advantages that go with being a reliever, as opposed to a starter, and there are advantages that go with being a Closer, as opposed to a piss-ant reliever... the Closer is in a unique position because, more than anyone else, he knows when he will be coming into the game... the Closer has a more regular schedule than any other reliever... Other relievers are given these benefits as the opportunity allows the manager to bestow them, but Closers have priority on them. This makes Closers different.
Because they are different, some of them are super-effective...
If I had understood this ten years ago, when people were talking about the Red Sox using a Closer by Committee, I would have been running around yelling "Wait a minute! Hold on, here!" I didn’t do that. I take responsibility for that. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been an active opponent of the Closer by Committee concept.
This also reflects on the validity of the ideas that I did express years ago, about maximizing the leverage of the Closer. You can’t maximize the leverage of the Closer without taking away the advantages that the Closer has in terms of sprinting to the finish line. Some of what I wrote was invalid because of that.
And I'm not saying they're the same guy, I'm just saying I've never seen Tommy Glaviano and Tom Glavine in the same place at the same time.
*Puts gun to temple*
But here’s what I really did not understand ten years ago, starting with the broader subject of the sprinter vs. the middle distance runner. You can run a lot faster in a short sprint than you can run if you are running two or three miles. For the exact same reasons, most pitchers are more effective when they’re throwing 20 pitches in an outing than when they’re trying to throw 130 pitches.... Closers are sort of "super-sprinters" who come into the game when the finish line is so close that you can smell it.
It seems like 1-inning setup men and LOOGY's know when their personal finish line is coming, so I don't see the closer/non-closer distinction.
The former don't always know when the gun is going to go off; the closer knows both ends of the race.
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