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Tuesday, September 04, 2001

Boston Globe Online / Sports / GM Duquette not standing in well against heat

Here’s Michael Holly’s weird assessment of the Red Sox situation:
By waiting until August, Duquette got rid of the man he never wanted, but he did it at the expense of the playoffs. Criticize Williams if you want, but you can’t deny this: He unintentionally brought players together because most of them hated him so much. Most of them wanted so badly to prove him wrong that they actually played well for him.

Huh? The handwriting was on the wall when Jimy Williams was fired. The managerial change was made to jumpstart the team. Unfortunately, the team has imploded since the move.

To imply that the Red Sox would have played better because of their hatred for the manager is simply asinine.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 04, 2001 at 01:45 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark

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   1. David Jones Posted: September 04, 2001 at 02:59 PM (#72316)
You seem to be suggesting that players needs to like their manager. I don't think so--a manager's job is to win games--whatever approach he employs to achieve that end, so be it.

Firing Williams was a HUGE mistake. He had them within reach of the playoffs with a team that was missing many of its key players for most the season. Somehow, Boston fans got it in their head that this team has ANY business winning a division over the Yankees. They don't. They have superstars at a couple of positions, and then they have a patchwork roster everywhere else. Who's fault is it that the team gave buckets of cash to Mike Lansing or Jose Offerman? Hmmm.

The complaints I heard against Williams were a bunch of garbage--he employs too many lineups, etc. Going with a "set" lineup is not the sign of a good manager, just as going with many lineups is not the sign of a bad manager.

The Red Sox are simply a poorly run franchise--too much money has been spent on the wrong players. Until THAT problem is solved, this team will never amount to much of anything.
   2. scruff Posted: September 04, 2001 at 05:06 PM (#72317)
Spent the weekend at my girlfriend's parents this weekend. Why is this relevant? Got to read almost the entire 1983 Abstract, while prentending I was "taking a nap" each day.

Anyway, James was talking about the 1980 Phillies, and he basically said they are what you would have if you took the Blue Jays (remember, they still stunk back then) and added Mays, Koufax and Wilhelm.

The 2001 Red Sox are pretty much the same thing, only they have Banks instead of Wilhelm. Problem is, Banks was hurt all year, and Koufax missed half the year (assuming he shuts it down). There just weren't enough horses.

Now Duquette is saying that Pedro isn't even hurt (according to ESPN this morning). This is becoming more comical every day.

I thank fate each morning. I thank fate, because my ancestors were fortunate enough to come over here by way of Ellis Island, and not The Mayflower. It was worth the wait. It took us an extra 300 years to get over here, but we get to root for the Yankees instead of the Red Sox. More proof that good things come to those who wait.
   3. David Jones Posted: September 04, 2001 at 07:21 PM (#72319)
It has nothing to do with Yankee mystique. It has to do with the Yankees having better players. Better pitchers, better bullpen, better defense. If Team A has Mariano Rivera and Team B has Urbina and Lowe, that's a problem. If Team A has Mike Stanton and Team B has Rod Beck, that's a big problem. If Team A has proven consistent winners like Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, and Andy Pettitte, and Team B has an injured Pedro Martinez and Hideo Nomo and Frank Castillo and David Cone, that's a problem.

I'll say it again, the fact that Boston was within reach of the playoffs when they were missing Garciaparra, Martinez, Everett, and Varitek for much of the season, says a lot about something. I don't know what it says a lot about, but it seems to me that firing the manager doesn't make any sense.

Of course, I'm an Orioles fan, and in 1997 the top brass figured that it could replace their cantankerous manager with the pitching coach, and that all those clubhouse problems would go away, too.The Orioles haven't had a winning season since.
   4. Robert Dudek Posted: September 04, 2001 at 07:56 PM (#72320)
The Yankees have better players (they don't really have a better defense, it only appears so because their pitchers are very good).

I was responding to the idea that the Sox were just 3 superstars and a replacemnet level team. Without their 3 superstars I'm confident the team could play .500 ball.
   5. The Original Gary Posted: September 04, 2001 at 09:17 PM (#72321)
I was as big a Jimy hater as they come, but my bashing was not due to the lack of a set lineup. There were numerous moves he made that I questioned as soon as he made them. Many of these moves were so bad much of Red Sox Nation must have been asking "What is he doing?". The lineup questions I had was along the lines of "Why is he starting Hatteberg against Mulder and Zito, but Mirabelli against Hudson?" That is not about juggling, that is about not putting players in a position to succeed.

Duquette must go. Nomar is pissed and now after his Pedro is healthy comments, Pedro is pissed. Players don't want to come to Boston because of Duquette. That is, of course, unless Duquette throws buckets of money at them. The Red Sox could be in a good position now that they are finally going to be free from the Lansing, Valentin, O'Leary, Bichette, Saberhagen money pit. If they have to overspend on a Roger Cedeno type player I may just take out Duquette's eyeballs with a spoon. Does that sound harsh? Well, it is coming from a guy that has to put up with a Yankee fan brother and a few Yankee fan co workers and I AM VERY TENSE!!!!
   6. scruff Posted: September 04, 2001 at 09:18 PM (#72322)
Robert my friend, as the only Blue Jays fan I know, you should remember the 1980 Blue Jays (they managed 67 wins, pythagorean 66) weren't 25 scrubs. That really wasn't my point. They did have a couple of decent players (Mayberry, Al Woods and Otto Velez all had pretty good offensive years). They also had Clancy, Stieb and Garvin. Varitek is hurt, so I wasn't really counting him, I was referring to the collapse mostly.

But the Red Sox sans Nomar, Manny and Pedro wouldn't be that much better than the group of Jays from 21 years ago. For example, is the drech they've put at short any better than a typical Alfredo Griffin year? You have a pretty similar staff, except Toronto had Garvin and Boston had Lowe. Boston's pen is a little bit better though.

Let's line them up removing Manny, Nomar and Pedro

league avg/obp/slg for 1980 was .261/.331/.399

C-Whitt (.231/.287./.353)/Davis (.216/.260/.321) vs. Hatteberg/Mirabelli
   7. Robert Dudek Posted: September 04, 2001 at 10:22 PM (#72323)

You make some valid points, but...

You note that Exhibition Stadium favored the hitter, but you didn't seem to take this into account when comparing the offenses.

Without Manny and Nomar the Sox are a below average offense, no question. But not as bad as the Jays were in 1980. They were a -120 Adjusted Batting runs which was next to last (Seattle -141).

You are right that the main differences are Nixon and Everett (averaging 2000 and 2001) over their counterparts. But the edges in these two spots are enormous - probably amounting to 5-6 games total.

The pitching is much more comparable, but Garvin's season was a fluke and Boston's pen has tons more depth. The starters are fairly comparable.

Finally, I note that the Jays in '79 and '81 were extremely bad teams, .327 and .349 WPCT, which suggests that the 1980 club was playing over its head.

With average injury luck I give the Red Sox 95 wins. So I conclude that the non-superstar Red Sox would be 8 games better in the standings than those primordial Jays.

Note also that if you took the 3 best players off any given team in baseball, about 70%-80% of them would struggle to break .500, so the Sox are not alone with their soft underbelly.

Ask yourself where the D-backs would be without Schilling, Johnson and Gonzalez.

What about the Giants without Aurillia, Bonds and Kent ?
   8. scruff Posted: September 04, 2001 at 11:21 PM (#72324)
Fair enough Robert. Actually (as usual) we agree. I said 5-10 games better for Boston, and you said 8, which is smack dab in the middle of that range.

While Toronto played in a hitters' park in 1980, I still think that Boston 2001 is a better hitters' environment than Toronto 1980. Any comparison would tend to give Boston's pitchers and Toronto's hitters and advantage.

Garvin had a 129 composite ERA+ in 75 2/3 innings over 1979 and 81, 161 over the 3 years combined. He was a quality pitcher from 1979-81, I really don't remember him, but I assume arm trouble probably did him in. He was a better pitcher over those years than Lowe was this year.

I do agree that most teams would suffer greatly w/out their 3 best players. Maybe James was overstating the obvious on the 1980 Phillies comment, but I just thought it was an interesting comparison. He said that aside from those 3 it was probably the worst 22 man squad that has ever won a Championship (through 1982). If Boston had won this year (with the big 3 it was possible) I would put their 22 up against the 1980 Phillies in a mediocrity contest. It'd be an interesting Diamond Mind sim, if nothing else. Actually, they will have the 1980 season available in the next week or two, and 2001 will be out around Christmas. Maybe I'll run it at that point and revive this thread.

I bet Seattle would still be in first place (or close to it) even if you took away Boone, Suzuki and Garcia. You'd still have Olerud, Cameron and Edgar powering the offense, along with Sele, Moyer and that awesome bullpen. They would still probably have the wild card (which they clinched yesterday).

Really my point was in defending Jimy Williams, who as questionable as his game day decisions were, was really getting a lot out of a team that isn't all that good. A team that was really only about 8 games better than the 1980 Blue Jays for half the year. Take Mussina (who has really been the best pitcher on the team this year) Jeter and Posada off the Yanks and they'd be a lot worse, but not nearly as bad as Boston. You'd still have Bernie, Brosious lucky season, Pettitte, Clemens, Rivera, Soriano, all clearly better than their Boston counterparts. I don't see Boston with any other position with a significant edge, other than Nixon over O'Neill.

Also, I just figured I'd point out - while it is popular in stathead circles to say that one player doesn't make all that much difference, losing a star (let alone 3) IS vital to the 1-7 games (usually) that usually seperate teams in competing for the pennant.
   9. Robert Dudek Posted: September 05, 2001 at 06:23 AM (#72325)

Points well taken, but remember that they have had Manny for the whole seasona nd Pedroo for over half the season by the time Jimy was fired. I do think that there record at that point was better than could have been expected given their injuries.

I think the best clubs without their 3 best players would be: Seattle, Yankees, Houston, Oakland. Everybody else would be below .500.
   10. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: September 05, 2001 at 08:05 AM (#72326)

Since this seems to be the reigning Red Sox thread of the day, let me answer your question from <> here.

I've met a few Red Sox fans in my lifetime. All have seemed like perfectly normal people except for this tuesdays child "woe is me because I'm a Red Sox fan" attitude. Many Red Sox fans think "they've" hated the Yankees longer than anyone. Wrong, Baltimore had a 19 year head start. Many Red Sox fans think they've suffered without a World Series win longer than anyone. Wrong again, the Cubs won their last World Series 10 years before the Red Sox won their last. Since division play started in 1969, the Red Sox have been 8 playoff series and TWO World Series. On the other hand, the Cubs have only been to the playoffs 3 times since 1969, the White Sox have been 4 times and the Giants have been 5 times with their lone World Series in 1989. I won't even go into the expansion teams that haven't been to a World Series yet.

This is to say that the Red Sox are a consistent contender and in 31 years, they've had their fair share of playoff series appearances. A fair percentage of the teams in Major League baseball haven't had that many opportunities. It takes a good team and a considerable amount of luck to navigate the regular season just to make the playoffs. It takes the two best teams and even more luck to make it to the World Series. It takes the best team, playing at the top of their game and a large dollop of luck to win the World Series. And not even the HATED Yankees make it to the playoffs EVERY YEAR. (Although I will grant you that it sometimes seems like it... ;-) ... )

There are too many dynamics within a baseball season for one person to expect to control a sub divisional sliver of it all, yet many Red Sox fans seem to think that control of every Red Sox season should be theirs by some divine right. I think if the Red Sox ever went 161 - 1 in a season, Sox fans would obsess for months over the one loss. And forbid if the Red Sox ever actually won a World Series, it wouldn't be legitimate unless the Yankees had been humiliated in the process. Although I don't believe that will happen until the Red Sox stop using the "mock" Yankees organisational model to team building and start developing their own players.

The managerial change was made to jumpstart the team. Unfortunately, the team has imploded since the move.

I find your (above) remark quite curious. Probably every baseball fan in America BUT Red Sox fans realised when Jimy was fired that the Sox were cooked. He may have had "his ways" but he had the pulse of the team in such a way that not even another "insider" such as Kerrigan was going to be able to emulate. If they could have stayed within 3 or 4 game up till now, they might have been able to pull it off. (It would have been nice to see Steinbrenner going locomotive!) Now it's going to be a supreme battle for the Red Sox to hold the Blue Jays in 3rd place. Sorry if I popped any bubbles. Hate the message, don't shoot the messenger... ;-) ...

   11. Bill Posted: September 05, 2001 at 05:01 PM (#72328)
Is it possible/likely that Dan DuQueeg is trying to get himself fierd so he can get paid for the next two years while not having to work?
   12. Cris E Posted: September 05, 2001 at 05:48 PM (#72330)
Go get 'em Trevise! Outstanding post, though I don't think I understand the 19 year lead BAL has over BOS.
   13. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: September 05, 2001 at 06:49 PM (#72331)
Go get 'em Trevise! Outstanding post, though I don't think I understand the 19 year lead BAL has over BOS.


You flunk Major League History 101. However I did make a slight error as the offending event happened in 1903 and not in 1901 as I previously thought. In 1903, the American League moved the Orioles franchise to New York where they became known as the "Highlanders" then later, the "Yankees." Certainly a good reason for Baltimore fans to hate the Yankees, don't you think? What made even more galling was the 51 year wait for MLB to place a team back in Charm City. Water under the bridge now...

   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 05, 2001 at 09:04 PM (#72332)
And if you want one more reason for Baltimore to hate the Yankees (we Yankee fans are a notoriously objective lot), try this: Bill Veeck was all set to move the Browns to Baltimore in March of 1953, but the Yankees used their pull to veto the move. Veeck said at the time that he had gone into the meeting with six votes, but somehow emerged with only two. As a result, Baltimore not only had to wait another year for their team, but they also didn't get Veeck, as selling the team was the main condition the AL (AKA the Yankees) put on the transfer.

You know, if I hadn't been born across the street from Morningside Park, I could work up a good lather against those Top Hats myself.

But Bob Sheppard is too nice a guy. Who could ever hate Bob Sheppard?
   15. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: September 05, 2001 at 09:30 PM (#72333)

You're a nice guy... for a yankee fan! :-) ...

   16. Robert Dudek Posted: September 06, 2001 at 08:39 AM (#72334)
I was born a Roberto Clemente stone throw from Exhibition Stadium, the first home of the Blue Jays (even though they didn't exist at that point), so I guess I was destined to be a Blue Jays fan.
   17. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: September 06, 2001 at 03:24 PM (#72335)
From a non-Red Sox fan's perspective, their main problem is that the team has no idea who is in charge. OK, it's obvious that it's Dook-ette, but what attachment do the players really have to him? He's a non-entity to every player on the team except when it's contract time.

For whatever faults he may have had, at least the players knew Jimy was in charge on the field. Now it is not so sure. You'd think Kerrigan was in charge, but apparently Dook-ette still gets to fire coaches on any whim. So essentially no one is in charge, and it shows.

It isn't the fact that players need to respect their manager; the manager is supposed to be there so the players can play the game without having to having to make the tough decisions. 25 player-managers isn't going to work, but it's pretty much what they've had the last couple years. At least with Jimy, people could point the finger if they didn't like something; now there's no place to point. Perhaps that more than anything else is the real job of the manager.

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