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   1. PJ Martinez Posted: March 19, 2007 at 05:09 PM (#2314120)
One quick point: Francona won a World Series. Those other managers didn't. I wouldn't be surprised if that buys him some extra time. Also, he seems to have one of the stronger relationships with the front office of any manager since MacNamara. (Am I right about that? Or do I just have a bad memory?)

And while I generally agree with your take on Francona and his abilities, how many people out there associate him with the slow decline of the Sox over the last few years? I don't think I've heard anyone make that connection.

That said, the bullpen situation this year may put Francona to the test, and if his decisions in that regard don't work out, and the Sox struggle, then fans will surely start to say Francona's time has passed.

In sum, even if the Sox miss the playoffs this year, I think Francona could hang around-- unless his decisions appear to have played a significant role, and the FO sees another candidate they like more.
   2. tfbg9 Posted: March 19, 2007 at 06:06 PM (#2314161)
I'm a Red Sox fan. I'm 46 years old. Tito won the thing in '04. Therefore, I love Tito, and I give the guy an extrememly long leash, and probably more time than anybody else in ST.
   3. Mister High Standards Posted: March 20, 2007 at 12:25 AM (#2314413)
I think Tito does a pretty good job, generally plays the right players. Gives the veterans the benifits of the doubt maybe a little too long but generally does a good job of balancing playing time. Seems to use the relievers in the best order, though maybe he could somehow coach them up into not sucking. In game he seems solid... most of the second guessing is mostly ridiculous... I think he for the most part has his hook set to the right speed... and they guys seem to love him in the clubhouse.

I wouldn't trade him for another manager, not because I'm convinced he is the best... but because I think he has a pretty good handle on all aspects of his job and after so much Jimy, Grady, Kevin and Kerrigan... I just don't want to play spin the skoal can anymore... at least unless I have some reason to think that he has lost the team. No reason to think that.
   4. Darren Posted: March 20, 2007 at 01:29 AM (#2314437)
I don't like his bullpen management--he seems to try to get too cute, using too many relievers to try to exploit matchups that are rarely even that advantageous. He also tends to treat all leads as close games and all deficits as blowouts.

Over his career, he has seemed to favor the vets, but last year he went against that in a big way with Paps and Youks. Youks was a year late but it was still commendable. He still seems to defer to his veteran pitchers (cough/Schilling/cough).

He could probably stand to pull his pitchers earlier.

There have been a lot of guys who have underperformed under him. The players generally seem pretty happy, though the Jay Payton situation was completely botched.

On the coaches, I'm very happy to see some new blood in the pitching area, but I'm a little concerned that we'll be missing Papa Jack. While the pitching in recent years has really greatly underperformed expectations, most the hitters have either done as expected or better. From the outside, it sure looked like Papa Jack was doing a fine job, working with a variety of different types of hitters.
   5. Mister High Standards Posted: March 20, 2007 at 02:09 AM (#2314448)
Shhs Kevin. It's Francona fault. Its not cool to like a manager, so you have to make up reasons to dislike them.
   6. Darren Posted: March 20, 2007 at 02:55 AM (#2314463)
Granted, it's hard to know who to blame for Payton. But here are some facts:

--There are many, many players who are unhappy with their playing time, who do not end up going ballistic on their managers.

--The Red Sox missed a fair amount of opportunities to get Payton more playing time.

--When Payton did explode, the Red Sox responded by giving him exactly what he wanted. Not only did this hurt the team in the short run, it also set a horrible example for other players.

I think most to these point to the situation being handled poorly. Whether that lies at Francona's feet or not, I'm not sure.
   7. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:24 AM (#2314468)
the way i look at it, there's no blame with the payton situation. he wanted out, so he forced the team to get rid of him. there was no keeping him at that point. i thought at the time that he should have gotten more time in center and right with damon and nixon hurting, but with damon, it appears the plan was to run him out there every day until his arm fell off and then let him go via free agency.
   8. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:27 AM (#2314469)
the one complaint i have with the coaching staff over hte last few years is their insistence on playing hurt players (and the payton thing you guys are talking about ties in here) ... other than that i think tito's alright.
   9. PJ Martinez Posted: March 20, 2007 at 05:01 AM (#2314491)
Payton clearly acted like a jerk, but I agree it did not necessarily have to reach that point. Especially when one of a manager's major strengths is keeping the clubhouse content, this should probably count as a strike against him-- it's not as though Payton has started every game he played for any other team, or gone ballistic in major league towns across America.

But yeah, reading that string of names recounted by Mister High Standards, I'm definitely content with Tito.

Who was the last Red Sox manager who struck you as clearly better?

My memory really only goes back to MacNamara. I certainly wouldn't pick him, and I'm not sure I'd pick anyone since, either.
   10. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 20, 2007 at 07:45 AM (#2314512)
I'm just glad Dale Sveum stayed fired.

Frak I still have nightmares with some guy standing by 3rd base waving his arms non-stop
   11. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 20, 2007 at 09:34 AM (#2314516)
In this day and age, lineups are determined by GMs and the contracts to which they sign players, batting orders have negligible impact on run scoring, and pinch hitting happens rarely, with little chance to have a significant impact on seasons. Given all that, by far the most important tasks for a major-league manager are to (a) make in-game decisions about the pitching staff--when to pull the starter, which relievers to use when, and (b) manage the media. Francona seems to do a reasonably good job of (b) and a very poor job of (a). My favorite Red Sox manager of the past ten years was Jimy Williams, because although he was pretty bad at (b) he managed to keep his job for several years and make the playoffs twice, and at the same time he was outstanding at (a). Francona lost me when it became clear early in the 2004 season that he was letting Schilling decide when to come out of games, but in any case, his hiring and retention by the Red Sox braintrust indicates their opinion that (b) is the only thing one manager might do better than another. They fired Grady Little because the 2003 playoffs were likely to make it impossible for him to effectively manage the media in the future, and they were probably right. Or perhaps they did realize that an exceptionally bad manager, like Little or Dusty Baker, can actually cost his team games.
   12. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:00 PM (#2314610)
"the way i look at it, there's no blame with the payton situation."

Payton's to blame. He was signed as the 4th outfielder--it was explained to him that that was going to be his role and he agreed and took the contract, than acted childish, selfish, and unprofessionally when he was alloted 4th outfielder playing time, and threw a hissy fit in the dugout during a ballgame he came into with an ~.305 OBP. How is that anybody's else's fault?

"at the same time he was outstanding at (a)"

See Game 4 1998 ALDS. I almost threw my Sony off the fire escape because of Jimy's removal of Lowe to try to get 6 outs from Tom "I've Converted 58 Three Out Saves in a Row Don't F*ck with the Roll I'm On" Gordon. Lowe was cruising in the 7th, if they hang on and take game 4, they have Pedro for game 5.
   13. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:07 PM (#2314616)
I think Francona is ok - he seems fairly well-respected by the players and doesn't cost the team too many games, which is probably about all you can ask of a manager. Given the Manny trade craziness every year, the Nomar crap, Pedro's special treatment, and how vicious the Boston media can be, I think he's held the team together pretty well. I do think some of that solidity is due to strong Veteran Presence, however.

He's not the best in-game manager, but even when I don't agree with his moves, I think they're often at least defensible. The Red Sox have outperformed their Pythagorean every year he's been manager, fwiw.
   14. PJ Martinez Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:12 PM (#2314622)
"They fired Grady Little because the 2003 playoffs were likely to make it impossible for him to effectively manage the media in the future, and they were probably right. Or perhaps they did realize that an exceptionally bad manager, like Little or Dusty Baker, can actually cost his team games."

I'm pretty sure it's the latter. Isn't there some book out there that reveals that Theo wanted to fire Little all season?

Didn't Jimy give all kinds of crazy at-bats to Darren Lewis and others? I realize he had less offensive firepower than his successors, but I think, in his case, there were some lineup decisions not yet made by the GM, and Jimy made many of those decisions badly. (IIRC.)
   15. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2314623)
Didn't Jimy give all kinds of crazy at-bats to Darren Lewis and others? I realize he had less offensive firepower than his successors, but I think, in his case, there were some lineup decisions not yet made by the GM, and Jimy made many of those decisions badly. (IIRC.)

jimy had many faults, and i agree that tito is probably better over all, but you have to give him some credit for how he and his staff managed to get consistently excellent bullpen performance.
   16. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2314625)
See Game 4 1998 ALDS. I almost threw my Sony off the fire escape because of Jimy's removal of Lowe to try to get 6 outs from Tom "I've Converted 58 Three Out Saves in a Row Don't F*ck with the Roll I'm On" Gordon. Lowe was cruising in the 7th, if they hang on and take game 4, they have Pedro for game 5.

Of course, if he leaves Lowe in and Lowe gives up the runs, then you wonder why the heck he didn't use his best pitcher in the highest leverage situatuion of the season. I've always looked at that game as a "well, he didn the right thing, it just didn't work out that time."
   17. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:22 PM (#2314629)
"the way i look at it, there's no blame with the payton situation."

Payton's to blame. He was signed as the 4th outfielder--it was explained to him that that was going to be his role and he agreed and took the contract, than acted childish, selfish, and unprofessionally when he was alloted 4th outfielder playing time, and threw a hissy fit in the dugout during a ballgame he came into with an ~.305 OBP. How is that anybody's else's fault?


i was replying to darren, who was arguing that it was tito's fault, but go on ... read my post however you like. anyway, blame is a weird word ... but, as i've said before i can see it from payton's POV--he wanted out, and since he can't just quit and apply for a job elsewhere, he forced the issue and made it impossible for the red sox to keep him. and as i said above, nixon and damon were both injured at the time--if payton wasn't going to play in those conditions, then when?

nice performance in the schilling-blog thread, btw.
   18. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2314631)
See Game 4 1998 ALDS. I almost threw my Sony off the fire escape because of Jimy's removal of Lowe to try to get 6 outs from Tom "I've Converted 58 Three Out Saves in a Row Don't F*ck with the Roll I'm On" Gordon. Lowe was cruising in the 7th, if they hang on and take game 4, they have Pedro for game 5.

Of course, if he leaves Lowe in and Lowe gives up the runs, then you wonder why the heck he didn't use his best pitcher in the highest leverage situatuion of the season. I've always looked at that game as a "well, he didn the right thing, it just didn't work out that time."


tom gordon was pretty good in '98, iirc.
   19. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:24 PM (#2314632)
"Of course, if he leaves Lowe in and Lowe gives up the runs, then you wonder why the heck he didn't use his best pitcher in the highest leverage situatuion of the season. I've always looked at that game as a "well, he didn the right thing, it just didn't work out that time."


True enough, of course. But I angry at the move as soon as I saw Jimy was gonna do it, which made the "hurt" worse. I hated the hiring of Jimy, the man who presided over the 1987 Jays collapse from day 1.
   20. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2314643)
"as i've said before i can see it from payton's POV--he wanted out, and since he can't just quit and apply for a job elsewhere, he forced the issue and made it impossible for the red sox to keep him"

And you don't have a problem with this approach? You're joking, right?

"nice performance in the schilling-blog thread, btw."

Thanks. I gotta tell you, your viewpoints and feedback, which also see no problem with Hugo Chavez, are sooooooo valuable to me.
   21. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2314648)
"tom gordon was pretty good in '98, iirc."

Yes he was. Until Jimy told him before Gane 4 that he was gonna have to go for 6 outs.
   22. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2314649)
And you don't have a problem with this approach? You're joking, right?

i wouldn't want him on my team ... but sometimes you gotta look out for #1.
   23. Toby Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2314652)
Payton wasn't a free agent; he didn't agree to any contract; he was acquired by trade. IIRC, right from the get-go he didn't accept being a 4th outfielder and he said he wasn't happy.
   24. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2314656)
"i wouldn't want him on my team ... but sometimes you gotta look out for #1."

What? Am I misremembering how you were crying in your herbal tea when Tito rightfully sent his malcontent as$ packing?
IIRC, you were bitterly dissapointed he was gone--he was your favorite ballplayer that year, for some totally unfathomable reason.
   25. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2314657)
from BRef...

January 13, 2004: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Diego Padres.

December 20, 2004: Traded by the San Diego Padres with David Pauley, Ramon Vazquez, and cash to the Boston Red Sox for Dave Roberts.

July 13, 2005: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with cash to the Oakland Athletics for Chad Bradford.
   26. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2314663)
"Payton wasn't a free agent; he didn't agree to any contract; he was acquired by trade. IIRC, right from the get-go he didn't accept being a 4th outfielder and he said he wasn't happy."

OK, but I remember that he was fully aware what his role was supposed to be, and I don't remember that stuff about immediately and vocally ######## about his role--play against LHP and spell the other 3 guys here and there. And was it a "trade and sign"?-the same Bref page says his pay whet from 1.5 to 3.5 million when he joined the Sox, does that indicate the Sox gave him new deal when he showed up in Spring 2005?
   27. Toby Posted: March 20, 2007 at 03:57 PM (#2314664)
Exactly, chris p. We got him by trade.
   28. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 04:05 PM (#2314673)
So, well...was it a trade and sign? Or what? Huh?
   29. Toby Posted: March 20, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2314699)
Before the 2004 season, he signed with SD.

After the 2004 season, he was traded to Bos.

But absolutely, he was a tool. No argument from me there. It wasn't Tito's fault. Millar and Snow and, indeed, Roberts all wanted more playing time and didn't disgrace themselves like Payton did.

I think it speaks very highly of Tito's clubhouse management that the only real problem in his three years has been the Payton incident, and that was almost entirely, if not entirely, on Payton.
   30. Sexy Lizard Posted: March 20, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2314705)
The Red Sox have outperformed their Pythagorean every year he's been manager, fwiw.

Last year that seemed to just be a result of their getting blown out so often when they were using the Kyle Snyder Pitching Brigade. Turn a few close losses into routs and you'll beat your Pythagorean pretty easily.
   31. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 04:41 PM (#2314711)
Jimy was pretty bad at the ol' Pythag, IIRC.
   32. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 04:50 PM (#2314717)
What? Am I misremembering how you were crying in your herbal tea when Tito rightfully sent his malcontent as$ packing?
IIRC, you were bitterly dissapointed he was gone--he was your favorite ballplayer that year, for some totally unfathomable reason.


i don't drink herbal tea.

i thought at the beginning of the season that he could have been a valuable, and i still think he should have been used more to rest certain injured starters (i've said this a few times in this thread), but i agreed that you couldn't keep him around after he threw the fit.
   33. chris p Posted: March 20, 2007 at 04:53 PM (#2314721)
He didn't deserve to start because there were 3 other outfielders on the team who were better than he was.

2 of which were hurt, kevin
   34. tfbg9 Posted: March 20, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2314723)
"i agreed that you couldn't keep him around after he threw the fit."

A fit you laid at the feet of the team, no?
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: March 20, 2007 at 05:09 PM (#2314731)
I agree with teddy's displeasure at the decision to lift Lowe and try to get six outs from Gordon. At the same time, I've got to give Jimy credit for starting Schourek, who pitched a gem. It was a ballsy move, and in my view at the time, the correct one.

I thought Jimy was a damn good manager for the first three seasons, but it seemed to me that many of his decisions in seasons 4 and 5 were less about what was good for the club and more about what would piss off Duquette. He seemed to be managing out of spite.
   36. Toby Posted: March 20, 2007 at 06:43 PM (#2314809)
I loved the Schourek move at the time and I agree with SoSHU in #39 that Jimy was damn good for three, then turned sour for 4 and 5.
   37. Darren Posted: March 20, 2007 at 10:28 PM (#2314954)
Can we leave the politics in the politics thread? If we all had to agree on everything, we'd never talk about anything here.

On Payton, I think I'm being pretty fair. None of us know what Payton was told behind closed doors, no one knows if it was truly impossible for him to stay on the team, etc etc etc. But with what we do know, I think it goes into the negative column in the handling players category. In the same way, we don't know whether Dave Roberts was tough to handle or not, but in the absence of being a fly on the wall, we have to give credit to the management for his situation not becoming a distraction. As I stated in my first post, I give the current management team (and no, I don't know how to divvy this up among Theo, Tito, and co) a pretty good grade on this front.

As far as the question of Payton being to blame, it's really irrelevant to this discussion. The Red Sox management was presented with a problem. Did they handle it well or did they handle it poorly? I say the latter.

Schourek in game 4 was a good idea because the Red Sox needed two wins in two games. Pedro could pitch 1 only one of those and someone else had to pitch the other. So rather than Pedro on short rest + Wakefield, they got a fully rested Schourek + a fully rested Pedro. The only argument for Pedro in game 4, IMHO, was if you thought him winning would create some momentum. I think that has to be balanced by his presence looming over game 4. Overall, Williams/Kerrigan really handled pitching well.

Gordon for 6 outs was bad, for the reasons given above. If you want to try to push Gordon to 6 outs in the postseason, you've got to at least try it out a bit in the regular season.
   38. Darren Posted: March 20, 2007 at 10:37 PM (#2314962)
We're talking past each other. Payton acted like a jerk--that's a given and something that he's openly admitted since. So we agree on that point.

But in evaluating the manager/gm/whoever, I'd look at how they dealt with someone being a jerk. I don't think they dealt with it well.
   39. tfbg9 Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:58 AM (#2315095)
"Did they handle it well or did they handle it poorly? I say the latter."

But why do you say this? I mean, the guy threw a nutter in the dugout, was screaming at the Manager, what the hell else are you supposed to do about that sort of thing? Some actions are "firable offenses, and some actions are ones that require lesser disiplinary actions, no?" You can't have the 4th outfielder screaming at the manager in the dugout.
   40. Darren Posted: March 21, 2007 at 03:43 AM (#2315115)
But they gave him exactly what he wanted, and that really hamstrung the team later in the year. Plus it set a precedent for other players: 'if you want out, all you have to do it make a big stink and you'll get out.' You'll even get sent to a team that will use you as a starter.

They could have suspended him first or taken other disciplinary action. There's also the possibility that someone with good people skills could have prevented it to getting to this point in the first place.
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 21, 2007 at 03:49 AM (#2315118)
But why do you say this? I mean, the guy threw a nutter in the dugout, was screaming at the Manager, what the hell else are you supposed to do about that sort of thing? Some actions are "firable offenses, and some actions are ones that require lesser disiplinary actions, no?" You can't have the 4th outfielder screaming at the manager in the dugout.
I agree with all of this. The question is not whether the Red Sox handled the situation correctly after Payton went nutter, it's whether the nuttering was preventable with different managerial strategies. I don't really know. But I think we're arguing over a very small plot of land here - whether some relatively small percentage of the blame for the Payton situation should be divided broadly among Red Sox management. Given that Jay Payton was not going to make or break anyone's season, and most of the blame goes to Payton anyway, I don't think it's that big a deal in talking about the manager more generally.

Tito seems like a pretty ok manager for this club. I am pretty surprised that everyone's saying he's a bad tactical manager. Tito's a pretty good tactical manager. Grady and Jimy were bad tactical managers - that's what that looks like, always being outplayed in pinch-hitting and platoon situations and all that. Tito's mediocrity, to me, comes much more from there being very little reason to think he gets anything special out of his ballclub or puts any special stamp on the club. The decision to put Papelbon in the closer's role, which kept the Sox in the race for longer than they deserved to be otherwise, was a big exception as Darren noted, and gives me some hope that Tito has room to improve as his teams give him more room to improvise. I'm skeptical, though - Tito seems way too centered as a human being and way too nice to be a really good manager.
   42. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 21, 2007 at 03:50 AM (#2315119)
But they gave him exactly what he wanted, and that really hamstrung the team later in the year. Plus it set a precedent for other players: 'if you want out, all you have to do it make a big stink and you'll get out.' You'll even get sent to a team that will use you as a starter.
We don't know the exact content of the blowup. If the Sox say it was a firing offense, and Payton doesn't dispute that, I trust it was a firing offense.
   43. Darren Posted: March 21, 2007 at 04:02 AM (#2315124)
We don't know the exact content of the blowup. If the Sox say it was a firing offense, and Payton doesn't dispute that, I trust it was a firing offense.

But he didn't get fired. He got transfered and promoted.

My biggest worry about Tito is that his best skill is telling people what they want to hear. This makes the FO think he's going to do well at implementing their strategies and allows things like Schilling pitching as long as he wants and Pedro entering a blowout in game 7 of the ALCS on one day rest.
   44. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: March 21, 2007 at 04:08 AM (#2315129)
In this day and age, lineups are determined by GMs and the contracts to which they sign players, batting orders have negligible impact on run scoring, and pinch hitting happens rarely, with little chance to have a significant impact on seasons. Given all that, by far the most important tasks for a major-league manager are to (a) make in-game decisions about the pitching staff--when to pull the starter, which relievers to use when, and (b) manage the media.

Just because hitting and pitching coaches have the word "coach" in their titles and mangers don't doesn't mean that skippers have nothing to do with coaching players. Working with players, and working with their coaches are vital elements to the manager's game as well. I'd say the most important elements of a managers' job is what impact he can have on coaching, and how he handles the players as people -- keeping them all on the same page, preventing clubhouse BS from distracting them, and those various bits and elements that we can't possibly quantify but ignore at our peril.

Who was the last Red Sox manager who struck you as clearly better?

According to Phil Birnbaum's database, from 1960-2001 the Red Sox were one of the most (maybe even the most) underachieving team in baseball. Mind, you the database says that teams managed by guys like Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, Tony LaRussa, and Bobby Cox are among the biggest overachievers, so the Red Sox arguably had the worst bunch of managers in all baseball from 1960-2001. Looking at the men they've hired, they really do seem like a bunch of dogs.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 21, 2007 at 11:12 AM (#2315161)
Pedro entering a blowout in game 7 of the ALCS on one day rest.
I've commented on this before. I was utterly shocked in the 7th inning. In the 8th inning, I understood perfectly. Mike Timlin was basically a dead man pitching. He had no command, and he was working in hte high 80s. That Timlin even came out of the bullpen was shocking. I think Francona knew he had a completely dead bullpen - mixed in with just some very bad pitchers who were never going to pitch in Game 7 anyway - and he knew Pedro was champing at the bit to get out there. It didn't work out well, but after seeing Timlin, I understand. It was worth a shot.

Further, if you want to make the case against Tito as a tactical manager, you shouldn't be talking about the '04 ALCS, should you? That was his shining moment as a tactical manager.
   46. tjm1 Posted: March 21, 2007 at 12:43 PM (#2315181)
Francona's all right for what the Red Sox have, which is a team with a lot of high-priced talent, including some difficult personalities. He deserves an awful lot of credit for managing Manny Ramirez in Boston with only minor problems at the team level. Also, we don't know that he runs a completely undisciplined clubhouse. He may choose to keep all the disciplinary stuff in house.

We do know that the players like playing for him. Schilling might not have come to Boston if they hadn't hired Francona to manage them. I'm sure that Francona will do a better job than most managers would in protecting JD Drew from the jackals the first time he misses a game, and that may have contributed to Drew wanting to come to Boston (depending on whether it really is true no one else offered money that was even close). He dealt with the switch from Foulke to Papelbon last year in a way that allowed Foulke to preserve maximum dignity over the situation, essentially by not announcing the role change. Did that contribute to Foulke wanted to work harder, and make it back sooner? Maybe, and if the Sox had stayed in the race a little longer, having Foulke back and pitching well at the end of the year might have made the difference.

The bottom line is that the Red Sox aren't trying to develop a lot of young players, so that side of things isn't important. We know who the starters will be at every position in advance. Setting up the bullpen roles this year will probably be more of a challenge than it has been in quite some time, so we'll have to see how Tito does with that.

I think a lot of this is not whether the guy is a great manager, but whether his skills fit the situation. Francona is well suited to the Boston situation, but he might be terrible, in Kansas City, for example. I don't think there's really much difference between his skill set and skill level from Joe Torre's.
   47. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:19 PM (#2315218)
Jimy: I remember that it seemed like in interleague games played in NL parks that he felt like the double switch was mandatory.

I would argue that a completely average manager has some value. Dag what is the median score for managers per 162 games? Is it negative?
   48. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:23 PM (#2315222)
GGC,

I rigged it so every component for every league for every year added up to zero. So average equaled zero. If an average manager has positive value, it would still equal zero. If the average manager had negative value, it would still equal zero. The average is guaranteed to be zero much like the league average OPS+ will always be 100. The average score tells you nothing about the average quality, but entirely about how the state was designed.
   49. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2315229)
Chris, what I meant was this: what is the median score of the 15th and 16th manager (or 8th and 9th in the old days or whatever the median manager was in the various expansion eras.) THat won't always be 0, will it?
   50. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:31 PM (#2315230)
Damn, I meant mean in #54.
   51. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:33 PM (#2315233)
BTW, I like tjm1's "horses for courses" post.
   52. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:42 PM (#2315239)
GGC,

I have no idea. And honestly, I have no interest in finding out. Might be tricky anyway, when you factor in partially managed seasons. I doubt it's that far from zero, though. Even if the worst of the worst are that much further from the pack than the best of the best, the absolute worst are the most likely to get fired quickly. For every Terry Bevington that inexplicably lasts a few years there's multiple Maury Wills or Jim Essians who last less than 162 games.
   53. tfbg9 Posted: March 21, 2007 at 02:51 PM (#2315246)
"That was his shining moment as a tactical manager."

Yep. I completely agree with my opponent.

"He got transfered and promoted."

Call me a snob, but being stripped of your Red Sox uniform can never be described as "promoted."(Being on the Sox right now is about as cool a place as you can in in the athletic world.)
   54. tfbg9 Posted: March 21, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2315271)
One thing I've noted in the past about Tito that bugs me is that if a vet starter still has a chance to win a ballgame, he'll always leave the guy in for another inning to try to get that win, even if the score has just become, say, 0-2 and the pitcher would be coming out for the 8th after looking like he was lucky to cough and wheeze his butt through the 7th on 31 pitches and only allow the two runs, leaving the bases loaded, that sort of thing. Just an impression, but I do watch just about every ballgame.
   55. tjm1 Posted: March 21, 2007 at 03:34 PM (#2315286)
tfbg9,

You're probably right that Francona has stuck with his veteran starters in those situations. The question is why. The last two years, in particular, there weren't a lot of reliable options in the bullpen at various points, so sticking with Wakefield or Schilling or someone might have been the best option in some of those games. This year looks like it should be a little better - there's not a clear ace out in that bullpen, but there are a lot more decent options. We'll see if Francona adjusts.
   56. tfbg9 Posted: March 21, 2007 at 05:03 PM (#2315349)
Except, tjm1, in the same situation, if the score is 4-2 Sox and all else is equal that I decscribed, Tito seems to take the vet starter out.
   57. Darren Posted: March 21, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2315529)
I was utterly shocked in the 7th inning. In the 8th inning, I understood perfectly. Mike Timlin was basically a dead man pitching. He had no command, and he was working in hte high 80s. That Timlin even came out of the bullpen was shocking.


So Timlin looked so bad retiring the side in order in the 8th that it convinced you that Pedro-who got lit up in the 7th--was the better option? Even with the benefit of hindsight, you thought that putting Pedro in was the right move?


I think Francona knew he had a completely dead bullpen - mixed in with just some very bad pitchers who were never going to pitch in Game 7 anyway...


He knew his pen was completely dead, so he instead went to his much deader starter? Here are the conditions of his completely dead pitchers:

Wake 1 day of rest after 3 IP
Embree 1 day of rest after 2/3 IP
Myers 1 day of rest after 1/3 IP
Leskanic 2 days of rest after 1 1/3 IP
Arroyo 1 ip each of the previous two games
Mendoza 4 days of rest after 1 ip
Timlin 1 day of rest after 1 1/3 IP

Now if you start with the assumption that Mendoza and Leskanic aren't going to pitch in a game 7, even when you have a 7-run lead, then you do tend to limit yourself. Even if you've decided that, Embree and Timlin have both had a day of rest and Arroyo has pitched only 2 IP over the past 2 days, rather than the 6 Pedro pitched. Myers is another option to get at least an out or two.

The obvious move there is to try to cobble together 9 outs out of those 4 guys, and only go to your starters if you get desperate.

- and he knew Pedro was champing at the bit to get out there.


I'm sure he did. I don't think that's a good reason to let him pitch, especially since that's just the kind of occasion where a pitcher might be tempted to overthrow.

It didn't work out well, but after seeing Timlin, I understand. It was worth a shot.


Only through the most severe "ends justify the means" sort of thinking is it worth a shot. You've got a big lead with 3 innings to go. Pedro's health is going to be a key to your success in the World Series. Putting him in there is IN NO WAY worth a shot. It was a terrible, awful decision, but it gets forgotten because the Red Sox rolled to a sweep in the World Series.

Further, if you want to make the case against Tito as a tactical manager, you shouldn't be talking about the '04 ALCS, should you?


Technically, I was making a case against Tito's ability to stand up to his star players--I think that's pretty clear in post #48. But just for the sake of argument, what was the genius of Tito's tactics in the ALCS. He acted sufficiently desperate when they were desperate, but what beyond that?
   58. tfbg9 Posted: March 22, 2007 at 01:33 AM (#2315638)
Tito also said, as an explantion to the unorthodox use of Pedro, that it was Pedro's day for his normal bullpen session anyway, and given the fatigue of the rest of the staff, he gave it a shot.

I was sweating bullets, because this horrifying thought came into my head once it got really hairy in the 7th: "In 2003 they blew it because the skipper stupidly left Pedro in way too long when he was tired, now in 2004 there're gonna blow it because the skipper stupidly put Pedro in when he was tired!"

Then Nixon caught the 3rd out in right, then Bellhorn hit the f*cking foul pole with a baseball, and I felt a lot better.
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 23, 2007 at 11:31 AM (#2316540)
Wake 1 day of rest after 3 IP
Embree 1 day of rest after 2/3 IP
<strike>Myers 1 day of rest after 1/3 IP</strike>
<strike>Leskanic 2 days of rest after 1 1/3 IP</strike>
Arroyo 1 ip each of the previous two games
<strike>Mendoza 4 days of rest after 1 ip</strike>
Timlin 1 day of rest after 1 1/3 IP
Myers is a loogy, so he's not really an option. One out over three innings makes little difference. No way Mendoza or Let's Panic! pitches in Yankee Stadium for Game 7 of the ALCS. That leaves you with Timlin and Embree, and two starters. I doubt Arroyo was available, having pitched two days in a row - mentioning total innings seems to ignore that he warmed up and pitched two days in a row, which he hadn't done all year.

As I see it, Tito had to get three innings out of Timlin, Embree, and somebody else. Pedro seems like as good a pick as anybody, it was his throw day, and he wanted to pitch. And he's Pedro - didn't everyone have visions of him mowing down six straight Yankees on 20 pitches? Coulda gone with Wakefield, too, but I don't see how picking Pedro over Wakefield is such a terrible idea.
So Timlin looked so bad retiring the side in order in the 8th that it convinced you that Pedro-who got lit up in the 7th--was the better option? Even with the benefit of hindsight, you thought that putting Pedro in was the right move?
I thought Timlin looked awful retiring the side in order in the 8th. He went 3-0 on Jeter and 3-1 on ARod, and my recollection is that they choked far more than Timlin bore down and got the outs. His fastball was clearly slow, and he was missing badly. I remember being shocked that Timlin was getting the outs he was getting. I just don't see how Timlin and Embree could have covered three innings that night.
He acted sufficiently desperate when they were desperate, but what beyond that?
If you're going to respond to good tactical managing by saying, "but that's what he should have done", you're never going to be pleased with any manager as a tactician. That's not a fair position, I don't think. If tactics matter and managers differ in their use of tactics, then good tactics deserve praise.
   60. villageidiom Posted: March 24, 2007 at 04:34 AM (#2317038)
If you're going to respond to good tactical managing by saying, "but that's what he should have done", you're never going to be pleased with any manager as a tactician. That's not a fair position, I don't think.


I get this impression with fans of every team about their manager's bullpen usage. Whether it's about leaving the starter in vs. taking him out, or going to reliever A vs. going to reliever B, you get the same four situations and reactions:

1. Manager does what fan thinks is right, and it works: "Any idiot knows to do that."

2. Manager does what fan thinks is right, and it fails: "Them's the breaks."

3. Manager does what fan thinks is wrong, and it works: "Lucky SOB."

4. Manager does what fan thinks is wrong, and it fails: "What a moron."

They vary in terms of frequency, but 3 and 4 are always remembered more frequently than the others, and 2 is completely forgotten. Given that pretty much every team has a lot of fans who think the same way about their manager, I tend to discount it when I hear it. Few people like their team's bullpen, and fewer like how their manager handles it. Bullpens are a cornucopia of uncertainty, and nobody likes uncertainty.

I work in insurance. If people liked uncertainty, I'd be out of a job.
   61. Darren Posted: March 25, 2007 at 01:13 AM (#2317288)
I don't see how we can even talk about this unless you can recognize that your various arguments contradict each other. After you saw how Timlin pitched, it made you understand why he couldn't go 2 innings. Fine. But then Pedro getting smacked around should have convinced you that he couldn't pitch.

You also say that Arroyo "probably" wasn't available because he'd pitched twice in a row, something he hadn't done that season. Pedro had pitched 6 IP then had one day's rest. He also hadn't done that and there's no precedent of pitchers being able to do that. If Pedro's available, then Arroyo is certainly available.
   62. Toby Posted: March 25, 2007 at 02:41 AM (#2317327)
yeah, cripes, if only we'd won that game, we'd have ended the stupid curse talk and wouldn't have to be reliving that 7th-inning failure three years later.
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 25, 2007 at 02:57 AM (#2317335)
I don't see how we can even talk about this unless you can recognize that your various arguments contradict each other. After you saw how Timlin pitched, it made you understand why he couldn't go 2 innings. Fine. But then Pedro getting smacked around should have convinced you that he couldn't pitch.
I think a manager can know with relative certainty how tired his relievers are. They pitch on short rest regularly, so they have a good sense of how strong their arms feel and can communicate this to management, and the manager and coach have a sense of how hard they've worked relievers in the past, and can make good extrapolations. I'm assuming that Francona and Wallace could have known and should have known, within a broad range, what their relievers were capable of.

This is, to me, separable from the question of letting a starter pitch on his throw day. That's uncharted waters for both the coaches and the pitcher, and they can't really know how effective he'll be able to be. Pedro's appearance was much more a black box for Tito and Wallace. Given that I think they knew - going into Game 7 - that they couldn't count on Timlin and Embree for very much, they needed a starter (Arroyo/Pedro/Wake) to cover an inning, preferably two. I don't see why Pedro was a worse choice than the other two.
   64. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: March 25, 2007 at 04:33 AM (#2317352)
yeah, cripes, if only we'd won that game, we'd have ended the stupid curse talk and wouldn't have to be reliving that 7th-inning failure three years later.


After Trenton and the oft-forgotten yet key Princeton and the bloody Sockatoga, Yorktownseemed inevitable.
   65. Darren Posted: March 25, 2007 at 04:54 AM (#2317357)
This is, to me, separable from the question of letting a starter pitch on his throw day. That's uncharted waters for both the coaches and the pitcher, and they can't really know how effective he'll be able to be.


Maybe this is where you are missing my point. I'm not so worried about the fact that Pedro pitched poorly. I'm worried about the fact that the team was on the verge of going to the World Series, where Pedro would start game 3 and possibly game 7. Pedro, who you know is somewhat fragile is likely to throw with max effort rather than do his usual throw day routine. You choose to allow this guy to pitch on one days rest, rather than a) first try to see how far Myers/Timlin/Embree can go, or b) letting Arroyo, who is not going to start in the WS, pitch on a 3rd consecutive day, or c) going with Timlin/Embree and seeing if the Sox could pad their lead enough to go to a mop-up man in the 9th (which it looks like would have been the case).

To me, it's a no brainer. You don't start experimenting with one of your most important players in a game when you have that big of a lead. To do so seems to be kowtowing to a star player who wants to show the Yanks what's what.

If you're going to respond to good tactical managing by saying, "but that's what he should have done", you're never going to be pleased with any manager as a tactician.


Wait a damn minute here. I will again point out that I was discussing Tito's handling of players. And I will also point out that you are the one saying that this ALCS was Tito's "shining moment" tactically. I'm only asking here that you make a case for that. I thought he did just fine (ie, desperate just as the situation called for), but I'd just like to hear what you think made it shine.

yeah, cripes, if only we'd won that game, we'd have ended the stupid curse talk and wouldn't have to be reliving that 7th-inning failure three years later.


By all means, let's sit back and count the ring.
   66. tjm1 Posted: March 25, 2007 at 01:38 PM (#2317421)
Jimy and the Duke were always butting heads over offense vs defense. Jimy liked defense and Duquette liked offense. For instance, the Frye/Offerman debacle and the decision to use Lewis so much in lieu of Damon Buford in 1998.


Agreed on the general idea and the Frye/Offerman issue. On the case of Buford vs. Lewis, though, I don't think that was the issue. That year, Lewis played every day and Buford platooned with Darren Bragg. Buford played centerfield when both Lewis and Buford were in the lineup, so obviously Jimy didn't think that Lewis was a dramtically better defensive outfielder. I think the issue is that Lewis hit right-handed pitching better than Buford did. Buford's numbers looked great that year partly because he had a career year, and partly because he got most of his at bats against lefties that year, and he had extreme platoon splits both in 1998 and over his whole career.

As frustrating as it was to see a weak hitter like Lewis playing 55 games in right field, the Sox really didn't have many options to improve their offense by playing Lewis less. They could have gone with Bragg in center against right-handers, and Midre Cummings in right, but Cummings was in the minors most of the season. They could have used Jim Leyritz in the outfield some during the part of the season when they still had him. But playing Buford against RHP wasn't going to help.
   67. Toby Posted: March 25, 2007 at 06:26 PM (#2317560)
By all means, let's sit back and count the ring

I don't understand the obsession now, in 2007, about a game we won in 2004.

As I expressed in #33, if the best evidence, from the past 3 years, of Tito's lack of clubhouse skills is that a disgruntled and not particularly useful backup outfielder forced himself to be traded, the evidence that Tito has a lack of clubhouse skills is pretty weak.

And as I implied in #68, if the best evidence from the last 3 years of Tito's lack of tactical skills is that our best pitcher was allowed to pitch one inning of a crucial game in which the entire pitching staff was in tatters, the evidence that Tito has a lack of tactical skills is pretty weak.

The only reason RSN -- myself included -- had a collective upchuck when Pedro came out to pitch in that situation was because Grady left Pedro in too long in 2003. It seemed like deja vu. But avoiding deja vu is not, in and of itself, good tactics. The more distance we get from 2004 the more I realize Tito probably did the right thing, tactically, even though it gave me palpitations at the time.
   68. Darren Posted: March 25, 2007 at 06:39 PM (#2317566)
I don't understand the obsession now, in 2007, about a game we won in 2004.


Can't speak for others but I brought it up as one example of Tito being overly accommodating to his star players. I don't think that qualifies as obsessed.

As I expressed in #33, if the best evidence, from the past 3 years, of Tito's lack of clubhouse skills is that a disgruntled and not particularly useful backup outfielder forced himself to be traded, the evidence that Tito has a lack of clubhouse skills is pretty weak.


Well, I was the one who brought it up and I said essentially the same thing you're saying here: generally good at keeping players happy with Payton being an exception to that.

And as I implied in #68, if the best evidence from the last 3 years of Tito's lack of tactical skills is that our best pitcher was allowed to pitch one inning of a crucial game in which the entire pitching staff was in tatters, the evidence that Tito has a lack of tactical skills is pretty weak.


As I've written several times now, it wasn't used as an example of his poor tactical skills. It was to show his inability to stand up to star players. It was one example, but it's not the only time that it happened. I'd like to see a well-reasoned argument that it wasn't an incredibly risky move that had an extremely tiny upside. Haven't seen one yet.

The only reason RSN -- myself included -- had a collective upchuck when Pedro came out to pitch in that situation was because Grady left Pedro in too long in 2003. It seemed like deja vu. But avoiding deja vu is not, in and of itself, good tactics. The more distance we get from 2004 the more I realize Tito probably did the right thing, tactically, even though it gave me palpitations at the time.


Speak for yourself. I thought it was stupid because it put one of our most important players for the upcoming WS at risk for no good reason. Nothing since then has changed my mind. The only deja vu I felt was in relation to Tito leaving Schilling in to pitch the 7th of an ALDS game that the team lead 8-1, despite the fact that Tito knew that Schilling had tweaked his ankle.
   69. Toby Posted: March 26, 2007 at 12:51 AM (#2317704)
I'd like to see a well-reasoned argument that it wasn't an incredibly risky move

in what way was it risky? Your best pitcher going one inning on short rest? What was the risk here -- that he would be ineffective? If so, he's at least chewed up whatever outs he can manage so that other pitchers, equally tired and less good, don't have to do so.

Or is the risk that he would get hurt? If so, what is your position on an injured Pedro pitching in Game 5, 1999 ALDS against Cleveland? Not worth the risk, I guess?
   70. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 26, 2007 at 01:48 AM (#2317724)
He deserves an awful lot of credit for managing Manny Ramirez in Boston with only minor problems at the team level.

Yes. And Manny's leg injury last year is the perfect example of why Tito's media skills might be a good fit in Boston. Remember that stupid column Shaughnessey wrote attacking Manny after he (Manny) sat out the game claiming an ailing leg? Shaughnessey called him out for malingering/faking/dogging. After a week of rest and further testing, Manny was eventually diagnosed with the injury that ended his season. Poor CHB got his story blown to bits.... During this time, Francona wouldn't be baited by the CHB and other nabobs and just played it straight, backing up his star (and I suspect coaching his star on how to deal with the nabobs, since that column explicitly mentioned how Manny smiled and refused to answer Shaughnessey's questions). That's what the FO wants---media savviness. And that's probably what's good for a veteran clubhouse in this market. Francona excels at that. The Torre parrallel above is a good analogy in this regard.

RSN could have a very different manager. For example, TLR for all his tactical ingenuity and his smarts, has had big, stormy public rifts with players (esp. Ray Lankford) and can be a somewhat caustic media-relations guy. When I hear the Cards on the radio in October or read quotes from the team during the year, it feels news conferences are TLR forums. I don't think that you can say that aobut Tito; his interviews and his news conferences feel more like chances for him to relay the company line. Whether you call it people pleasing or media savvy, Francona is unfailingly obliging and recites the RS party line, and the team must value that trait.
   71. Darren Posted: March 26, 2007 at 02:55 AM (#2317743)
Or is the risk that he would get hurt? If so, what is your position on an injured Pedro pitching in Game 5, 1999 ALDS against Cleveland? Not worth the risk, I guess?


Pedro enters the game in the 4th on full rest in a close game vs. Pedro enters an 8-1 game in the 7th on one day rest. In one situation you're desperate, in the other you're in the driver's seat.
   72. villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2007 at 12:51 PM (#2317833)
I think the only reason Francona brought in Pedro in 2004 Game 7 was to rebuild Pedro's fragile state of mind regarding his Daddies. That's it.

Now, given other game scenarios - a close game, or a less-spent bullpen, or it not being Pedro's throwing day, or being mid-inning - I don't think it would have happened. There is a risk involved, and it's more important to win the game than to rehabilitate Pedro's fragile ego. But as Darren points out, they were in the driver's seat. If you're going to make a move on the basis I suggest, that's when you make such a move.

Having said all that, I am in no way endorsing that basis for the move. It worked, but to be honest that's not the kind of move that typically works out for the Red Sox. And with Pedro not having pitched for the Red Sox the last two seasons, I don't really care whether he can now psychologically withstand the Yankees.

And if Francona made the move on the basis I suggest, then I guess it could be considered as part of the argument for/against his management of the clubhouse AND his tactical skills.
   73. Toby Posted: March 26, 2007 at 02:22 PM (#2317881)
an incredibly risky move

Again I ask, what was the incredible risk? Did you answer the question and I missed it? If so, forgive me.
   74. Darren Posted: March 27, 2007 at 02:45 AM (#2318570)
The risk is that his health or effectiveness would be affected for the WS.

vi,

If the goal was to allow Pedro to exorcise his demons against the Yankees, it most certainly didn't work on that level.
   75. Toby Posted: March 27, 2007 at 01:20 PM (#2318759)
thanks Darren. I see the risk, though I'm not sure it was "incredibly" risky.

and vi, I understand the theory that the goal was to allow Pedro to exorcise his demons against the Yankees, as Darren just put it; and I bought into that theory at the time; but in retrospect it doesn't make sense. If the goal was to give Pedro another chance to shine against the Yankees, why would you do it when he was dog tired between starts? Those aren't exactly favorable circumstances.
   76. villageidiom Posted: March 27, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2319032)
Darren,

I agree. I'm not sure where you're going with it.

Toby,

I'm not asking you to consider if it makes sense to you now. I'm asking you to consider if it made sense to Francona at the time. I'm guessing Francona had a better sense of whether Pedro was "dog tired" than any of us. The results show Pedro was ineffective, but those results aren't statistically different from his average performance level against the first few batters all season long.
   77. Sexy Lizard Posted: April 26, 2007 at 07:40 PM (#2346534)
This thread seems like the best place to mention an extraneous note on one of the coaches. The Globe has an article about Dave Magadan's ability to speak Spanish (due to having Spanish parents) and how everyone appreciates it. This strikes me as odd that it stands out. I mean, learning a second language is not impossible, and the greatest problem is having an opportunity to use it (and a reason to start in the first place). Baseball people should be able to use it everyday and I'd think that a lot of coaches could get a lot of mileage out of using it, so why don't more learn it?

The article also has a Manny being Manny moment:

Magadan said he called Manny Ramírez over the winter. "Twice," Magadan said. "He answered the phone but didn't speak to me. I could hear him talking to his wife.
   78. villageidiom Posted: May 23, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2376011)
This thread seems like the best place to put this. Driving from our downtown office to the suburban location where my crap is, I was listening to Dale & Holley on WEEI. Holley brought up something interesting. People have been talking a lot about Drew's slump, Manny's slump, Pedroia vs. Cora, Pena's "defense"... But NOBODY has been talking about Demarlo Hale, the 3rd base coach. Nobody has been talking about Dave Magadan. Very few people have been talking about Farrell, Tuck, or even Francona.

Part of it is because they're winning, but part of it is that despite the winning making everything seem nice there's not really that much they've done that one could complain about. Hale has made some seemingly aggressive moves (and some seemingly conservative moves) at 3rd base, and mostly they've paid off. Magadan was taking over for Ron Jackson - how will they survive without Papa Jack?! Well, they've been surviving quite nicely. The bullpen was a horror show under Tony Cloninger, his "interim" replacement Dave Wallace, and his interim replacement, Al Nipper. What's to complain about with Farrell and Tuck?

Maybe it's just too early. But already there are at least three teams in the AL East alone whose managers are rumored to be on their way out; meanwhile, Boston seems to have the whole field leadership on one page and cruising along. They're winning but not in spite of the coaching staff, as has been suggested in prior years.
   79. Darren Posted: May 25, 2007 at 12:20 AM (#2377889)
The team has a 9.5 game lead and is near the top of the league in scoring and preventing runs. Where past teams at least at some room for complaints (they weren't running away with the division), this team has no such room. If the race gets down to 3 to 4 games, you'll hear more about the manager and coaches.
   80. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 25, 2007 at 12:40 AM (#2377925)
Third base coaches are near the top of the list for "guys who only get publicity when they screw up". Hale might be the all-time greatest since I can't remember a time when Red Sox fans weren't whining about their third base coach, until now.

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