Friday, July 03, 2015
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart pinpointed his team’s biggest obstacle during Major League Baseball’s GM meetings in November. “You know the challenge with beating the Giants?’’ Stewart said. “It’s Bruce Bochy. He’s the key to that team. We would need him to be kidnapped and taken away someplace for us to have an opportunity.’‘
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Firing the manager is easy. Building a winner is hard.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
The Dave Roberts era is officially over.
Monday, June 15, 2015
So, what if the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson had not made that amazing catch on a potential game-winning hit by the Padres’ Justin Upton with two on and two outs in the ninth on Sunday?
Would a dramatic victory and series triumph over the rival Dodgers have mattered to the Padres’ itchy ownership? Or would they have just gone ahead and fired Bud Black as manager anyway?
Posted: June 15, 2015 at 06:05 PM | 8 comment(s)
Monday, June 08, 2015
Simon says You Can Call Me… Billy
The meat of the book is Martin’s stormy managerial career. Martin was clearly a managerial descendant of Casey Stengel, there’s a little Chuck Dressen influence there, too. At least that’s what Martin said at some point. You could make a peak argument for Martin being one of the best, if not the best managers of all time.
Posted: June 08, 2015 at 11:49 PM | 1 comment(s)
Saturday, May 23, 2015
What! No Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, or American Indian and Alaska Natives on the list?
Posted: May 23, 2015 at 07:06 AM | 5 comment(s)
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Pat Murphy is the Padres’ Triple-A manager. The Brewers want to hire him as a major-league coach. And the Padres have balked at letting him go.
A simple case of a team valuing an employee? Perhaps. But some in the industry view the Padres’ actions as highly unusual — and perhaps a sign that the Pads want Murphy to replace manager Bud Black or, at the very least, join the team’s coaching staff.
The Padres’ 20-20 record is fueling industry-wide speculation that Black could be in trouble. Ownership expects to win after opening the season with a club-record $109 million payroll. General manager A.J. Preller is in his first full season, and like ownership, inherited Black.
One Padres official, however, said that the team’s desire to keep Murphy is not a reflection on Black’s status. Rather, the Padres consider Murphy an “impact guy,” even though he is only at Triple-A, the official said.
A rival executive expressed skepticism with those claims.
“(Murphy) must have been made promises — big ones,” the executive said.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Oh, yes, it was one big looney-tunes adventure in Atlanta. After the eighth straight loss, Bristol gulped: “I’m doing all I can. I just don’t know what else I can do.”
After the 10th straight loss, Turner was admonished by — of all people — George Steinbrenner. “Nobody forced Ted Turner to buy the Braves,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re all over legal age and of reasonable intelligence. And when we bought these teams, we knew what the rules were.”
After the 14th straight loss, Turner said this: “I’ve got a cocked pistol in my hand. Who can I give the Braves to in my last will and testament?”
Turner then skipped out on a sailing vacation to join the team in Pittsburgh and see what the heck was going wrong. He sat behind the Braves dugout and watched his team lose a doubleheader. That made it 16 losses in a row. “I’d do anything to help us win,” a beleaguered Bristol told the press after the game.
Turner could not hold back now. He called Bristol into his hotel room the next day. Bristol fully expected to get fired. But Turner did not fire him. Instead, he told Bristol to take 10 days off, do a little reflection and maybe go scout the minor league teams.
“Who is going to manage the club?” Bristol asked.
“I will,” Ted Turner said.
“He owns the team, that’s his prerogative,” Bristol told reporters after the meeting. “I tried to talk him out of it. It puts a man in a strange position. I must be doing something wrong. I’m going home for a couple of days to take a long hard look at Dave Bristol.”
Turner made it clear from the start — he would be manager in name only. He planned to let his coaches, Vern Benson and Chris Cannizzaro, make most of the baseball decisions. But Ted Turner felt like he knew people, and he wanted to understand what was happening with his players. He was coming to the rescue.
“It seems like I had done all I could sitting up in the stands,” he told reporters. “I wanted to see what it’s like down in the trenches. … When you’re setting records for losing streaks, it doesn’t hurt to change things.”
And then Turner offered another one of his classic quotes: “If things get sour in your love life,” he said, “you go get a new hairdo, don’t you?”
Monday, May 11, 2015
Thursday, May 07, 2015
In fact, reports of Counsell’s hiring were flying across Twitter within an hour of the team’s Sunday dismissal of previous manager Ron Roenicke, who led Milwaukee to a Major League Baseball-worst 5-17 record in April. And none of that would be a problem, except for this: Milwaukee’s seemingly non-existent managerial search means the club almost certainly violated the league’s “Selig Rule,” which mandates that teams consider minority candidates for all prominent front office positions, including manager.
Is Counsell the right man for the job? Time will tell. Is he someone the Brewers have pegged as a future skipper for some time? Sure looks that way. Does the team ultimately have the right to hire whomever it wants? Of course. That said, Milwaukee shouldn’t be ignoring—or paying lip service to—a league rule designed to increase minority involvement in baseball, especially when that rule only exists because of the sport’s lamentable track record of including Latinos and African-Americans among its decision-makers.
When MLB enacted the Selig Rule in 1999, just over three percent of the league’s front office employees were women or minorities. The post-Selig Rule MLB has been much more diverse—over 20 percent of front office workers were women or minorities as of 2013. That’s the good news, and real progress. The bad news? Those sorts of gains haven’t been mirrored among managers and general managers.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Friday, April 03, 2015
It’s always been about finding the truth and integrating good new ideas with good old ideas.
Banister, like Hurdle, seems like an old-school baseball man who saw the light. He came to the Rangers and let loose with this to the Dallas Morning News: “We hang onto tradition. But is it tradition, or is it truth? You’ve got to seek the truth. If the numbers say the same thing year after year, there’s gotta be some truth to it, right?”
I don’t want to name the names of the old-school gatekeepers. If you follow the sport, you know who they are. They were trained in a very different time. Only a few years ago, these old salts resisted the wave of open-minded thought, and Joe Maddon was safely tucked away with the low-payroll Rays, where he could only do so much damage. Maddon was the modern prototype of a manager, an extension of an exceptional front office that won 90 games five times in six years. Had he stayed with Andrew Friedman in Tampa Bay, he would still be marginalized. This is not likely with the rising Cubs.
Maddon to Chicago. Hurdle with a model franchise. Banister exporting the new approach to Texas. The shift-happy Astros with analytically-inclined A.J. Hinch. The Orioles over-performing with Buck Showalter every year. The old walls are breaking down, and the best ideas are flowing freely.
More than a decade after “Moneyball,” and a full 30 years since “The Hidden Game of Baseball,” the fully integrated approach of analytics and coaching has arrived. The teams with everyone on board will benefit from the new competitive advantage.
Posted: April 03, 2015 at 07:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
Monday, March 02, 2015
His team needs a new pitcher.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Friday, January 30, 2015
There are minor league legends, and then there was Rocky Bridges. Jim Bouton called Bridges his favorite manager, even though he never played for him. Why? Because Bridges made the game fun for his players.
Bridges was also the man who dubbed Mike Epstein “Superjew” and Greg Minton “Moon Man.”
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