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RFS62
04-30-2007, 08:22 AM
We took a few different turns on the "manager" thread, and Yachtzee and GAC had some great points about in-game judgment and lineup construction. Some nice responses which I thought warrant a separate thread apart from the current state of managing challenges in the big leagues.

I really believe that one of the reasons we're having a disconnect on this topic is that the managers and coaches look at different things than we talk about here. We scratch the surface sometimes, but we're not nearly as in-depth in our use of subjective judgment as we are in statistical analysis.

And that's pretty understandable. We can all learn all we want to about statistics from written material and intelligent discussions in places like RedsZone.

But it's harder to acquire the same level of understanding of talent evaluation from the scout/coach/player level if you haven't spent hours and hours around the batting cages and talking with the guys who actually teach the motor skills to the most talented athletes.

And I'm not just talking about mechanics or bio-mechanics here. I'm also talking about a players mental approach.

We very often talk about things we observe. We often say things like "he's gassed... he's got nothing left... time to get him out of there" about a pitcher. We make those observations when we see a guy getting lit up. Often our judgments are the result of things we know, such as his pitch count or the obvious results of seeing line drive after line drive. And sometimes, our observations extend to things like "he's fallen out of form....he's missing his spots.... he's taking too long between pitches". So, that's a blend of objective data and subjective analysis, and we all use it to a varying degree in every game.

The same can be said about a player's mental approach. When you see a hitter "locked in" or "in the zone", you generally see a few things in common with other players lucky enough to be riding that mythical wave. You see a balanced, relaxed demeanor at the plate. You see a guy waiting that magical extra nano-second with his hands back before he commits. You see perfect timing, the holy grail of hitters.

The results are judged by the standard of "squaring it up", regardless of whether it results in an out or a hit.

Sometimes your best at-bats result in outs and your worst ones produce hits. To a hitting coach, those outcomes are less relevant than the stroke and the process.

Conversely, sometimes a pitcher makes what he considers a perfect pitch and he get's hammered. Or he gets away with a hanging curve left out over the plate.

The judgments on these things are subjective, and while pitch count and other measurable factors are important to consider, the subjective judgment of the manager or coach must be solid. It's one of the biggest things that separates the good managers and coaches from the bad ones.

So, that's one of the reasons that I don't have a problem with a manager riding a "hot hand" or leaving a pitcher in there when he's hitting his spots and following his game plan, but the hits may be falling in. You judge the players performance first based on your assessment of his approach. The results alone aren't always indicitive of what's happening.

Highlifeman21
05-02-2007, 08:28 AM
I thought this was going to be a thread about coffee, and no, not our reliever Coffey.

redsmetz
05-02-2007, 08:36 AM
I thought it was interesting in the discussion about Cormier and Krivsky when TeamClark wrote about in-game machinations and how few of us understand the pressure that happens during a game and making appropriate decisions

He wrote:


I would love to challenge a vast majority of the Nay Sayers to jump in the dugout or take the reigns. Knowing exactly how hard it is I know very few would actually have success. It's one thing to critique the day after or while watching TV. It's another when the game is going full speed. I'd venture to say most of the people who "think" they know couldn't make the right call on bunt coverages. Know exactly when to get the bullpen ready and when to have their bench ready. Sounds easy but it's not MLB the SHOW for PS3.

I think, though, that this is what we love about baseball - it's a simple game that has many layers of complexity to it. It's such a thing of beauty, but it can be so absolutely maddening. Wow. (LOL - that might be the definition of love there, no?)

Highlifeman21
05-02-2007, 09:17 AM
Honestly, I don't think a manager can assess the level of talent of the team as one person.

That's why you have coaches. Another set of eyes.

When I'm frustrated with Narron, I'm really frustrated with the entire coaching staff.

Let me say that again. The entire coaching staff.

Sure, Narron's the manager, but Dick Pole and Brook Jacoby are equal in the blame and success of this team. Jacoby should have the pulse of the bats, letting Narron know which guy to put in which spot in the lineup. If Jacoby doesn't agree with Narron's lineup construction, then he has the responsibility and the duty to voice his concern.

Same goes with Dick Pole. If Milton continues to be Milton, then Dick Pole needs to come forward and suggest a different name for the rotation, like a Saarloos or maybe a Santos, or someone else. We've been able to stomach Lohse and Belisle so far, and I hope Pole had a hand in selecting those guys for their roles. Conversely, Dick Pole needs to step forward and suggest to Narron which guy to bring out of the pen in certain situations.

I truly believe baseball teams need to be coached more like football teams, where your pitching coach is much like your defensive coordinator, and makes the pitching moves, while your hitting/batting coach is your offensive coordinator and makes suggestions to the manager to then execute or go in a different direction.

We will never know for certain if Narron's listening to his coaches or not.

GAC
05-02-2007, 09:28 AM
I really believe that one of the reasons we're having a disconnect on this topic is that the managers and coaches look at different things than we talk about here. We scratch the surface sometimes, but we're not nearly as in-depth in our use of subjective judgment as we are in statistical analysis.

Bingo! Statistical analysis, as important and vital to the game as it is -and, I might also add, enables the fan to become even more "involved" and closer to the game then ever before - still does not take into account all variables and intangibles. And I think that many times we simply overlook or discard those aspects as insignificant or unimportant because they are hard or almost impossible to track/chart. If we can't lay it all out before us in "black and white" then it has no business being a part of the game.

I've learned a lot about statistical analysis since I've been on this forum from it's inception. And I've "butted heads" with some. But I've also learned too.

But can we become too analytical in trying to find answers? Is it possible?

GAC
05-02-2007, 09:32 AM
We will never know for certain if Narron's listening to his coaches or not.

I think he does. I look at it more like "coaching by committee". You have to be able to listen to and bounce ideas off the various coaching "brain trusts" that surround you. But the final word is the managers. He's the one who, in the end, will be held accountable. If he doesn't agree with a particular coach, then it's his job to replace him.

But if these coaches were being ignored by Narron, then I think word would get out, and these coaches would be leaving. You have a hard time working for someone who never listens to, or asks, for your input. Especially when your job is to contribute.

redsmetz
05-02-2007, 09:45 AM
Same goes with Dick Pole. If Milton continues to be Milton, then Dick Pole needs to come forward and suggest a different name for the rotation, like a Saarloos or maybe a Santos, or someone else. We've been able to stomach Lohse and Belisle so far, and I hope Pole had a hand in selecting those guys for their roles. Conversely, Dick Pole needs to step forward and suggest to Narron which guy to bring out of the pen in certain situations.

And yet, remove Eric Milton's name from the equation (and all the freight carried by his contract) and when you look at this year's stats, you see a 5th starter who has allowed on average just under three runs per game (11 runs, 4 starts). And his teammates have scored only 11 runs in those games, not all when he was in. His first two starts, we were held to one run in each game and his last game, we only scored 3 runs. The one game on April 16th against Milwaukee, he only allowed two earned runs. As I recall, we pulled within one run and then the bullpen exploded (Coffey & Coutlangus this time). [I checked the box score, we brought the score to 4-3 at the end of six, then let up five runs in the 7th).

My point is that any pitcher who keeps us within 3 runs in most games is doing a decent job. With a little run support, this pitcher's record could easily be 3-1 or 2-2. He's here until he isn't. When he's been on, he's basically done his job and kept us in the game. I'll take that all season if he's here.

He's a reality we have, the Reds worked moving him to the 5th slot perfectly and we make the best of this bad contract this regime inherited. And then we go on.

RedsManRick
05-02-2007, 11:22 AM
We will never know for certain if Narron's listening to his coaches or not.

This basically negates the rest of your post. The fact is that we don't see what Pole and Jacoby do. We don't know what they suggest to Narron behind closed doors and how those suggestions are received. I agree wholeheartedly that Narron, or any manager, should be listening to his coaches.

However, is the presence of Milton in the 5th spot of the rotation (you think Santos or Livingston is going to do better? Really?) or Dunn batting 6th instead of 2nd evidence that he's not? Maybe Dick Pole is telling Narron that Milton is his best option. Maybe Jacoby is telling Narron that EE can't handle the pressure of batting in the first half of the lineup. Who knows!?

What I do know is that at the end of the day, my boss is accountable for acting on my recommendations or not. Yes, I have my job to do, but I'm accountable to him. If I'm not doing my job, it's his job to manage me better -- to solicit advice or tell me to keep it to myself. If our division underperforms, certainly I will have played some role in it. However, for the sake of accountability, it falls to the man in charge -- and in the case of the Reds, that's Narron.

IslandRed
05-02-2007, 12:06 PM
I truly believe baseball teams need to be coached more like football teams, where your pitching coach is much like your defensive coordinator, and makes the pitching moves, while your hitting/batting coach is your offensive coordinator and makes suggestions to the manager to then execute or go in a different direction.

I used to wonder about that, but I'm not sure it's a good parallel. Football is a more complicated game involving more people, and every single play requires a multitude of coaching decisions, from who's on the field to the play, formation and clock management. A head coach has such a big job keeping track of it all, especially at the NFL level, a lot of it has to be delegated, even critically important things like playcalling.

Baseball is fundamentally still a players' game. Managing is important, but most of the critical decisions -- the lineup, who's available in the bullpen, who's hot, who's not, etc. -- can be hashed out before the game. The coaches should be involved in that process, and you want them all on the same page. But I don't see the game being so complex that the manager needs to delegate the actual decisions.

Red Leader
05-02-2007, 12:08 PM
I thought the thread title was:

Searching for the perfect blonde...

Oops.