Thursday, June 30, 2016
I said it a week ago, and I’ll say it again—Farrell may be part of the problem, but he’s certainly not the reason the floundering Red Sox are suddenly in a virtual tie with the Blue Jays for second place in the AL East. And firing him would let his players off the hook when they don’t deserve it.
No manager is blameless when his team plays .385 ball for a month, but Farrell’s sliver of blame pie could barely feed a waif compared to the 1,600-calorie slab that is his roster.
A new manager won’t magically fix David Price’s 4.74 ERA or propensity for allowing deafening contact. A new manager won’t reach October with the bottom two-thirds of the rotation pitching like John Wasdin. A new manager can’t win with a Triple-A bench or Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero and Ryan LaMarre getting key at-bats because there’s nowhere else to turn.
Farrell’s not the reason Koji Uehara hangs half his splitters, and he’s not the reason Craig Kimbrel keeps triggering heart attacks. He’s not why Clay Buchholz can’t get out of his own way, Jackie Bradley hasn’t hit in a month, or Travis Shaw once again resides below sea level.
Monday, June 27, 2016
Green told me McGwire is the most humble superstar he has ever been around. He doesn’t want to talk about himself or his career, he always wants it to be about their current players. He also said it only took about a couple weeks for Big Mac to get his flow and learning what Green needs from him during a game. That’s an incredibly short amount of time for two guys who had never worked together.
So when I asked him if Mark McGwire could be a big-league manager one day, Green was hesitant to speak for his bench coach.
“It’s not my place to say what his desires might be, but in my opinion he could absolutely do it and do it well if he wanted to,” Green said.
Posted: June 27, 2016 at 01:55 PM | 7 comment(s)
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Between the rise of data-driven decision-making, the inflation of player salaries and the increased influence of the front office, field managers have largely transformed into middle managers. And the old dictatorship has become more of a democracy.
“If you’re going to get hired as a manager now,” New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley said, “you’d better be open to listening.”
Once-common strategies like sacrifice bunts and stolen bases have gone the way of flannel uniforms and scheduled doubleheaders. Today, the toughest decision a manager may have to make during a game is whether to give his player a high-five or a butt-slap when he gets back to the dugout after hitting a home run.
This isn’t entirely new—the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics of the early 2000s turned general managers into rock stars and managers into cranky old white dudes played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
But it has reached a new level this season. Excluding pitchers, teams are bunting about once every 320 plate appearance, by far the lowest rate of bunts since at least 1920, according to Stats LLC. Last season, teams bunted once every 250 plate appearances. Meanwhile, teams are attempting to steal less frequently than they have in the last 45 years, while the rate of hit-and-run attempts has dropped around 23% in the past decade.
Posted: June 07, 2016 at 06:08 PM | 8 comment(s)
Friday, June 03, 2016
Women have made significant strides in baseball in recent years. USA Baseball has a women’s national team. Amanda Hopkins is working as a full-time scout for the Mariners. Mo’Ne Davis starred in the Little League World Series in recent years. Justine Siegal was the first female coach in affiliated baseball when she worked at the Athletics’ instructional league camp last fall.
The idea of women in baseball will take another step forward this fall when Fox rolls out “Pitch,” a drama about the first woman to play for a big league team. The show has a promotional tie-in with Major League Baseball, which has granted full use of MLB trademarks for the show.
And now softball star Jennie Finch and Siegal are both serving as guest managers in the independent leagues this season.
Finch became the first female manager of a professional team when she served as guest manager of the Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish for a late-May game against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
Finch signed autographs, set the lineup, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and led the Bluefish to a win.
Siegal will follow in Finch’s footsteps when she leads the Pacific Association’s San Rafael Pacifics for two days as their guest manager in June.
Siegal is the logical candidate to become the first full-time female manager in pro baseball. Now it’s just a matter of getting the offer.
Friday, May 06, 2016
Don’t worry. Tony thinks it’s all good.
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Paul Hagen talks with Butch Hobson.
Big league coaches make far more than Atlantic League managers. If he had gotten another chance to manage in the Majors, the payoff could have been huge. He’s also 63 days short of having 10 years of big league service, which would allow him to max out on his pension plan.
Sunday, April 03, 2016
Few managers today retain the stature and independence Scioscia has with the Angels. While far from the baseball Luddite he was cast as during last year’s power struggle with former general manager Jerry Dipoto, Scioscia is nonetheless more old school than new math.
None of that can be said of Roberts. With the Dodgers, he serves at the whim of perhaps baseball’s most empowered, and crowded, front office. Analytical input will be a part of his life every day of the season.
“Yeah, that’s fair,” Roberts said of assertion that managers of his generation are not as independent as the men he played for, Scioscia’s peers such as Bochy and Terry Francona. “But I think that’s a great thing. Having other people help in this big machine that you have as a baseball organization is a good thing. I think what’s most important is to have that aligned mindset and thought and voice. The organization thinks a certain way going down to the manager.
“It’s not a one-man show by any stretch of the imagination.”
Gold Star - just Gold Star
Posted: April 03, 2016 at 01:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
Friday, March 18, 2016
But how do they manage expectations?
With so many accomplished managers vacating the dugout in recent seasons—including three of the best ever—and with teams seemingly favoring younger, less experienced applicants when making manager hires, the game today appears to have fewer active managers on a Hall of Fame track. But let’s take a closer look using the James monitor system outlined above.
If you pay attention to the annual BA Best Tools balloting results, then you probably know the identity of the No. 1 active manager, because he has claimed the last five consecutive Best Manager wins in the National League.
Posted: March 18, 2016 at 06:59 AM | 10 comment(s)
Thursday, March 17, 2016
4. Playing it by ear every day would inevitably force relief pitchers to warm up more frequently than they have to, ultimately hindering performance.
At least that’s what Angels closer Huston Street believes.
“At the end of the day,” Street said, “it’s quite simple: There’s just not enough energy to go around.”
Street has been a closer almost his entire life, from his collegiate days at the University of Texas to the totality of his 11-year Major League career. He estimates that in a given year he actually makes about 100 appearances—65 or so when he pitches in a game and then another 30 or 40 from all those times he warms up in the bullpen, sits back down and warms up again. The latter is “every reliever’s worst nightmare,” Street said, but also an inevitable part of the job.
If a team’s best reliever were assigned to the highest-leverage situation, as opposed to merely the ninth inning, Street estimates he would have to warm up, sit down and warm up again twice as frequently, because a lot of time is needed to get ready and because the leverage of a situation can change so quickly.
He believes it would be too much for a bullpen to absorb.
“There is no getting used to that,” Street said. “You can’t. Your arm gets sore. It just gets sore. That’s what happens. “
Street, and basically everybody else polled on the subject, concluded that the theory can work in small sample sizes, like the playoffs, but is unsustainable over the course of a six-month regular season. They ultimately believe the statistical advantages are not enough to outweigh all of the potential hazards that come with it.
“Perfect on paper,” Street said. “But in practice, it’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard.”
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
“He’s very high energy, very take-charge,” said leftfielder Ryan Braun. “It seems like he has a unique ability to inspire and motivate. That’s something you don’t find very often. He’s added a unique dynamic that we haven’t really had around here.
“The whole energy of this camp is better than any camp I’ve been a part of the lat 10 years. It’s been really good and he has been a big part of it.”
“The first time I talked to the team, that was part of my message,” he says. “That’s the heartbeat of who I am. Better people make better teammates. Better teammates make better players. Being selfless, thinking about others, is a great way to live your life.”
Posted: March 16, 2016 at 08:01 AM | 0 comment(s)
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
The info is top secret.
Approached by the Chronicle during spring training, Hinch had no comment, deferring to general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Luhnow was coy.
“We’re committed to A.J., and he’s committed to us,” Luhnow said. “We don’t comment on contracts.”
The environment Hinch took over in the fall of 2014 was one of disrepair. He had to create cohesion in all directions: with a new coaching staff, the players, and the front office as well.
Posted: March 08, 2016 at 06:20 AM | 2 comment(s)
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Now get out there and do your pitchers’ fielding practice!
But in his closed-clubhouse address Tuesday before the first full-squad workout of spring training, new manager Don Mattingly fired up the Marlins with a passionate address that inspired players, coaches and even owner Jeffrey Loria.
“I went out to practice [Tuesday] like I wanted to eat the world,” Marlins ace Jose Fernandez said.
Said Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler: “I got chills. I don’t think I was alone.”
One coach called it “the best speech I’ve heard in 40 years of baseball.”
Even Loria offered high praise for Mattingly’s 15-minute talk.
“It was the best I’ve ever heard, the best talk to a group of players that I’ve heard in a long time, since Jack [McKeon],” Loria said.
Posted: February 24, 2016 at 06:57 AM | 9 comment(s)
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Saturday, February 13, 2016
He seems like a likable guy. He shouldn’t talk about things which he doesn’t know much about, however.
“He’s like everybody ought to be,” said Bishop, the songwriter and blues guitarist who befriended Baker after they met years ago at John Lee Hooker’s house. “He treats everybody with respect and an open mind. He’s just a beautiful person. If the Martians ever land here, this is the guy I want to send to go talk to them — to represent the human race.”
“My biggest [role] was to tear down the negativity people have about him,” Miller says. “He was very open to ideas from the front office [in Cincinnati] — as much as we wanted him to be. He’s still an old-school guy, and he’s still going to go by his gut and listen to his players.
“But he believes in sabermetrics more than the sabermetrics people believe that these are humans playing the game and that some things can’t be measured.”
Posted: February 13, 2016 at 08:18 AM | 196 comment(s)
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Bobby likes Eddie.
“Eddie is really a plus on any team. He would be a plus managing someday,” Cox said. “He’s still got young kids in high school and the family. He’s such a big family guy, and it’s hard for him to leave Atlanta right now. But I think in a couple years, he’ll be able to do that or whatever. He’s Major League managerial material, for sure.”
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