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gonelong
03-13-2008, 05:43 PM
Except that I can. Take a set of couples who say they are in love and then take a set of two random people. Calculate the odds are that they live together. Calculate the odds are that they are married, etc. There are some very clear, very measurable outcomes when love is involved. Certain activities shoot and statuses shoot through the roof for the in love couples compared to the randomly select couples who fit the same demographic profile.




Would I bet my job on it? No, there's too much noise in the data. If you told me to guess a number 1 through 10, and if I got it right, I'd lose my job, I'd have a 90% chance of keeping my job. There's no way in heck I'd want to make that bet, but I'd feel very comfortable saying that the odds are in my favor.

Well, in the purest sense, Baker has to bet his job on either Bruce or Patterson. Its much easier as a fan to say go with Bruce than it is for the GM or Manager.


The data of the very best project systems out there all suggest a very strong likelyhood that Bruce would outperform Patterson. Certainly that doesn't mean it's written in stone, but why not go with the decision that odds strongly suggest?

... and I'd throw them all out the window if I was evaluating Bruce and I determined that he has some difficulty makeing adjustments.


Yes, it's an opinion. It's an opinion backed by a whole bunch of analysis which has a pretty good track record. Bottom line is that there is some calculus (not literally) being done by the person who makes those decisions. I'm personally not comfortable with making those decisions solely on my gut/experience (or anybody's gut for that matter), particularly when an objective analysis strongly suggests the other choice.

Inherently we all know that guys that tear up the minors have a better chance of sticking in MLB than guys that don't. We should want to dig deeper than that and utilized our own instincts and opinion of our scouts to validate that the one guy in particular we care about is likely to fit into the track record.

That calculus doesn't mean much to the guy that needs to decide if the guy can do it right out of the gate, or can sustain it over the course of his first season. I have no doubts Bruce will be a good one over the course of his career, but I do have my doubts that he is going to be that guy from the get go, or when the league gets a book on him.

GL

/gotta run

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 05:46 PM
Boston has probably the most progressive owner in MLB in John Henry. He's a guy who made millions using statistical analysis in his field. Why didn't he chose this method of hiring a manager? I'm sure he knows a bunch of guys smarter than Terry Francona who totally buy into sabermetrics and advanced statistical analysis.

Actually, Theo Epstein - under Henry's watch - did just that.

From Shaughnessy's Reversing the Curse ...


Epstein would later send a missive to the Red Sox owners in which he explained, "We were looking for a manager who would embrace the exhaustive preparation that the organization demands ... By using video and computer simulations, we attempted to discover how each candidate would react to game-speed strategic decisions ... Given the demands of the media and our players, we sought a manager who would be able to communicate with all constituencies in a positive and intelligent manner ... We were looking for a 'partner' not a 'middle manager'


... ultimately Francona was the only candidate. By Epstein's admission, "He blew us away." Francona was young (forty-four) and embraced the stat sheet game plan taht was so important to John Henry, Young Theio, and the minions.

Now obviously Terry Francona had grown up in the game and had previously worked in a number of baseball positions, including being a manager (at a .440 winning percentage too). But ask yourself seriously how many organizations used statistical analysis through simulations and computer programs to determine who would be the best managerial fit for their organization. My guess is very few, if any others.

Thing is, that sort of thing will begin creeping into the game more and more as time goes on. In some ways, it's a generational thing. When old age pushes the boomers out the door, you'll start to see some changes in how teams hire their baseball managers - just as we've recently been seeing changes in how front offices evaluate their talent. We'll see changes in what types of baseball managers get hired and how those managers manage teams. We're already seeing some of those things; guys like Terry Francona and Bob Melvin are guys who fit that mold.

Now baseball teams won't start pulling people off message boards or out of the box seats to manage their team. We all know that isn't going to happen. But I can easily envision the game heading in a direction where a manager no longer had to come up through the game as a player. We'll start seeing managers take the route of say ... a Wayne Krivsky. Start working for the team in some random manner at a young age (such as selling tickets), work your way into the front office, spend x amount of years in the baseball organization in some role, such as scouting, consulting, or whatever (as Javy Valentin would say), then eventually you might find yourself in the dugout filling out the lineup card nightly.

The progression of player ---> coach ---> manager will be broken at some point. It may not happen next year, it may not happen in five or even 10 years, but it's going to happen eventually. And my guess is we'll see a couple forward-thinking organizations who are successfully able to identify and groom those people for the job of baseball manager who didn't follow that progression.

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 05:46 PM
Would it help to have prior playing and coaching experience in this situation?

Nah. Just add some extra layers of management. Have a few meetings. Shoot some emails back and forth. Perhaps a conference or two. Run some regression analisys and blamo...problem solved.

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 05:48 PM
Take somebody who is a good manager in some other industry, give him training to understand the industry, and put him in charge of the '98 Yankees and I still think they win 110+ games.

Wait a second.

Wouldn't that be akin to giving him some form of "experience" to draw on? And here I thought experience wasn't all that important.

TRF
03-13-2008, 05:55 PM
Wait a second.

Wouldn't that be akin to giving him some form of "experience" to draw on? And here I thought experience wasn't all that important.

to be fair, training is not the same thing as experience.

WMR
03-13-2008, 05:58 PM
Actually, Theo Epstein - under Henry's watch - did just that.

From Shaughnessy's Reversing the Curse ...





Now obviously Terry Francona had grown up in the game and had previously worked in a number of baseball positions, including being a manager (at a .440 winning percentage too). But ask yourself seriously how many organizations used statistical analysis through simulations and computer programs to determine who would be the best managerial fit for their organization. My guess is very few, if any others.

Thing is, that sort of thing will begin creeping into the game more and more as time goes on. In some ways, it's a generational thing. When old age pushes the boomers out the door, you'll start to see some changes in how teams hire their baseball managers - just as we've recently been seeing changes in how front offices evaluate their talent. We'll see changes in what types of baseball managers get hired and how those managers manage teams. We're already seeing some of those things; guys like Terry Francona and Bob Melvin are guys who fit that mold.

Now baseball teams won't start pulling people off message boards or out of the box seats to manage their team. We all know that isn't going to happen. But I can easily envision the game heading in a direction where a manager no longer had to come up through the game as a player. We'll start seeing managers take the route of say ... a Wayne Krivsky. Start working for the team in some random manner at a young age (such as selling tickets), work your way into the front office, spend x amount of years in the baseball organization in some role, such as scouting, consulting, or whatever (as Javy Valentin would say), then eventually you might find yourself in the dugout filling out the lineup card nightly.

The progression of player ---> coach ---> manager will be broken at some point. It may not happen next year, it may not happen in five or even 10 years, but it's going to happen eventually. And my guess is we'll see a couple forward-thinking organizations who are successfully able to identify and groom those people for the job of baseball manager who didn't follow that progression.

That is a great post, Cyclone. I hope it happens sooner rather than later for the good of baseball.

WMR
03-13-2008, 05:59 PM
Hell, maybe the best thing in the world is if the Red Sox just keep winning World Series. Eventually someone is bound to notice that there is more at work than just a large payroll.

blumj
03-13-2008, 06:13 PM
But ask yourself seriously how many organizations used statistical analysis through simulations and computer programs to determine who would be the best managerial fit for their organization. My guess is very few, if any others.
I said there were maybe 10-12 teams now who you shouldn't necessarily assume would always do the "traditional" thing? Red Sox, Indians, A's, Jays, Rays, D-Backs, Padres. Maybe Yankees, Brewers, Pirates, Tigers, Rangers, Cards, Nats. That's 14 teams who wouldn't surprise me a bit if they did something that seemed clearly non-traditional, especially something like that, because they wouldn't have to tell anyone.

RFS62
03-13-2008, 06:13 PM
The progression of player ---> coach ---> manager will be broken at some point. It may not happen next year, it may not happen in five or even 10 years, but it's going to happen eventually. And my guess is we'll see a couple forward-thinking organizations who are successfully able to identify and groom those people for the job of baseball manager who didn't follow that progression.


I really don't believe it will happen that way.

Here's why.

We're talking about two basic catagories of skills here. The first, that of a baseball insider, a former player or coach. The second, the businessman, professional manager who never played pro ball.

I submit that it is far, far easier for the baseball insider to learn every single thing he needs to know about the sabermetrics and advanced statistical analysis than it would be for a businessman to learn everything about baseball he missed by not being a pro player or coach.

And once it's clear to all that statistical analysis is a prerequisite for getting a job, the baseball men will line up to learn the new language.

As many here have said, it's already happening, bit by bit.

A guy who spent a lifetime around the batting cages and clubhouses of professional baseball has a lot less new knowledge to acquire than a sabre-smart businessman who never played pro ball.

M2
03-13-2008, 06:32 PM
The progression of player ---> coach ---> manager will be broken at some point. It may not happen next year, it may not happen in five or even 10 years, but it's going to happen eventually. And my guess is we'll see a couple forward-thinking organizations who are successfully able to identify and groom those people for the job of baseball manager who didn't follow that progression.

My guess is you won't see that. Instead what you'll get are more Franconas and John Farrells. Baseball players have copious amounts of free time, perfect for catching up on your Bill James.

Basketball and football are coach's games and lend themselves to the sort of thing you're talking about. Baseball, hockey and soccer are always going to be player's games. It's their nature. That doesn't mean you can't have great managers who make a difference or that you won't sometimes see a quality manager rise through the ranks without having played pro ball. Yet players get a huge managerial advantage when it comes to player's games.

Seems to me that where baseball's headed is Ivy League execs needing someone to interface between them and the jocks, which creates a natural fit for the enlightened ex-jock. What's the next Billy Beane to do if he can't get noticed by the front office amidst all those MBAs?

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 06:34 PM
I really don't believe it will happen that way.

Here's why.

We're talking about two basic catagories of skills here. The first, that of a baseball insider, a former player or coach. The second, the businessman, professional manager who never played pro ball.

I submit that it is far, far easier for the baseball insider to learn every single thing he needs to know about the sabermetrics and advanced statistical analysis than it would be for a businessman to learn everything about baseball he missed by not being a pro player or coach.

And once it's clear to all that statistical analysis is a prerequisite for getting a job, the baseball men will line up to learn the new language.

As many here have said, it's already happening, bit by bit.

A guy who spent a lifetime around the batting cages and clubhouses of professional baseball has a lot less new knowledge to acquire than a sabre-smart businessman who never played pro ball.

I can't prove to you that it will happen. But I can tell you that I'm very confident that it will happen.

Baseball progresses, and the role of baseball manager itself has progressed significantly. If you told John McGraw or Connie Mack in 1915 that teams today would be run by an army of front office personnel, some of whom were college grads who hadn't played baseball since high school, if ever, they'd tell you that you're crazy. But baseball has progressed, and that's part of how it's progressed.

The role of a baseball manager itself has already been sliced and dispersed through a grand number of different organizational positions compared to generations ago. That's not just going to stop either; it will continue to progress as the game evolves and progresses.

If that isn't enough to convince you, then maybe this is ...

That 25-year-old hot shot MBA who grew up in the technology age and hasn't played baseball since high school? He's currently on his way to becoming a billionaire, and in 25 years he'll own a team. A few seats down from is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who was fortunate enough to land a PR job, a statistical job, or some sort of job with a big league club. He'll be the general manager in 25 years. And next to him is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who also landed a job in a front office. He'll be the manager in 25 years.

In another 25 years, those hot shot MBAs who are already creeping into front offices will be running the show league-wide. And their line of thinking is vastly different than the line of thinking of most of the guys running the show today.

They'll throw the requirement of a baseball manager having to come up as a player or coach right out the window. I can't tell you what process they'll use to select a manager in 25 years, but I'm very convinced the requirement of being a player and/or coach will have a big red X through it.

Again, I can't prove this to you. All I can say is sit back and watch because it's going to happen.

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 06:38 PM
In another 25 years, those hot shot MBAs who are already creeping into front offices will be running the show league-wide. And their line of thinking is vastly different than the line of thinking of most of the guys running the show today.

Again, I can't prove this to you. All I can say is sit back and watch because it's going to happen.

Every generation thinks theirs is the one that will throw off the shackels of "the old ways" and revolutionize everything.

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 06:39 PM
Every generation thinks theirs is the one that will throw off the shackels of "the old ways" and revolutionize everything.

And every generation actually goes out and does it too.

jojo
03-13-2008, 06:42 PM
That's it. That's my assertion. Debating over some stupid comment I made in an attempt to buttress the above assertion will get us nowhere. I admit it. I, Rick Groves, would be a horrible manager of a major baseball team in 2008. To the point though, given that, if you made the 2008 me manager of the '98 Yankees (and for some reason the refused to fire me for the duration), how many fewer games do you think they would have had won? 5? 10? 30?

Your comments have stimulated a great debate/discussion. Thanks!

RFS62
03-13-2008, 06:44 PM
They'll throw the requirement of a baseball manager having to come up as a player or coach right out the window. I can't tell you what process they'll use to select a manager in 25 years, but I'm very convinced the requirement of being a player and/or coach will have a big red X through it.



I just don't see why they would go that way. Once it's accepted that the Red Sox approach cited earlier in this thread is the way to go, the job description will change for manager.

Remember, the Red Sox didn't go the route you're suggesting. They went out and found the guy who bought in to their thinking and still had the baseball pedigree.

Again, it's far, far easier for the baseball man to acquire the stat knowledge he's missing than it would be for the businessman to catch up on what he's missed.

I agree that the winds of change are blowing, and the Red Sox model will no doubt lead the revolution. But even they didn't go outside the baseball community, they searched for a man who could embrace their philosophy and already had the baseball background.

There will be a wave of bright players who totally embrace sabermetrics soon, I believe. They will be the next Franconas.

pedro
03-13-2008, 06:46 PM
I can't prove to you that it will happen. But I can tell you that I'm very confident that it will happen.

Baseball progresses, and the role of baseball manager itself has progressed significantly. If you told John McGraw or Connie Mack in 1915 that teams today would be run by an army of front office personnel, some of whom were college grads who hadn't played baseball since high school, if ever, they'd tell you that you're crazy. But baseball has progressed, and that's part of how it's progressed.

The role of a baseball manager itself has already been sliced and dispersed through a grand number of different organizational positions compared to generations ago. That's not just going to stop either; it will continue to progress as the game evolves and progresses.

If that isn't enough to convince you, then maybe this is ...

That 25-year-old hot shot MBA who grew up in the technology age and hasn't played baseball since high school? He's currently on his way to becoming a billionaire, and in 25 years he'll own a team. A few seats down from is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who was fortunate enough to land a PR job, a statistical job, or some sort of job with a big league club. He'll be the general manager in 25 years. And next to him is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who also landed a job in a front office. He'll be the manager in 25 years.

In another 25 years, those hot shot MBAs who are already creeping into front offices will be running the show league-wide. And their line of thinking is vastly different than the line of thinking of most of the guys running the show today.

They'll throw the requirement of a baseball manager having to come up as a player or coach right out the window. I can't tell you what process they'll use to select a manager in 25 years, but I'm very convinced the requirement of being a player and/or coach will have a big red X through it.

Again, I can't prove this to you. All I can say is sit back and watch because it's going to happen.

I can tell you what's not going to happen.

Hot shot MBA's or not, teams aren't going to hand the reigns of their team to guys who've never managed games in high level organized baseball. So, unless that hot shot MBA wants to ride the bus in the minors for several years learning the ropes and gaining the experience required to be viewed as relevant by the players, they're never going to sniff the inside of a managers office, unless it's as a owner, GM or a member of the press.

That's not to say that I don't think managers are going to have to become more statistically minded, because it's obvious they are, but I'm going to side with RFS on this one.

jojo
03-13-2008, 06:47 PM
I can't prove to you that it will happen. But I can tell you that I'm very confident that it will happen.

Baseball progresses, and the role of baseball manager itself has progressed significantly. If you told John McGraw or Connie Mack in 1915 that teams today would be run by an army of front office personnel, some of whom were college grads who hadn't played baseball since high school, if ever, they'd tell you that you're crazy. But baseball has progressed, and that's part of how it's progressed.

The role of a baseball manager itself has already been sliced and dispersed through a grand number of different organizational positions compared to generations ago. That's not just going to stop either; it will continue to progress as the game evolves and progresses.

If that isn't enough to convince you, then maybe this is ...

That 25-year-old hot shot MBA who grew up in the technology age and hasn't played baseball since high school? He's currently on his way to becoming a billionaire, and in 25 years he'll own a team. A few seats down from is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who was fortunate enough to land a PR job, a statistical job, or some sort of job with a big league club. He'll be the general manager in 25 years. And next to him is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who also landed a job in a front office. He'll be the manager in 25 years.

In another 25 years, those hot shot MBAs who are already creeping into front offices will be running the show league-wide. And their line of thinking is vastly different than the line of thinking of most of the guys running the show today.

They'll throw the requirement of a baseball manager having to come up as a player or coach right out the window. I can't tell you what process they'll use to select a manager in 25 years, but I'm very convinced the requirement of being a player and/or coach will have a big red X through it.

Again, I can't prove this to you. All I can say is sit back and watch because it's going to happen.

Tradition is a road block of course. That said, one of the biggest obstacles preventing a quicker transition to more saber oriented FO's in the majors is the pay scale. A guy with the statistical chops/programming and data mining skills necessary to fit the bill can frankly make 2-3X more in industry.

I think what might be a realistic scenario is players (be they minor league or major leaguers) go back to college after they retire and marry their education with their ultimate passion. Marry the skills with the language of the game and I think FO's would be a lot less skeptical.

I could see where a traditional-minded FO might dip their toe on the cheap, get what they pay for, and then adopt a one bitten, twice shy attitude.

M2
03-13-2008, 06:48 PM
That 25-year-old hot shot MBA who grew up in the technology age and hasn't played baseball since high school? He's currently on his way to becoming a billionaire, and in 25 years he'll own a team. A few seats down from is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who was fortunate enough to land a PR job, a statistical job, or some sort of job with a big league club. He'll be the general manager in 25 years. And next to him is another 25-year-old hot shot MBA who also landed a job in a front office. He'll be the manager in 25 years.

In another 25 years, those hot shot MBAs who are already creeping into front offices will be running the show league-wide. And their line of thinking is vastly different than the line of thinking of most of the guys running the show today.

I suspect those owners and GMs will recognize where their skillset ends. Sure, you might get the occasional Ricciardi who grossly overestimates his own talents, but no one's going to want emulate that guy.

westofyou
03-13-2008, 06:49 PM
I really don't believe it will happen that way.

Here's why.

We're talking about two basic catagories of skills here. The first, that of a baseball insider, a former player or coach. The second, the businessman, professional manager who never played pro ball.

I submit that it is far, far easier for the baseball insider to learn every single thing he needs to know about the sabermetrics and advanced statistical analysis than it would be for a businessman to learn everything about baseball he missed by not being a pro player or coach.

And once it's clear to all that statistical analysis is a prerequisite for getting a job, the baseball men will line up to learn the new language.

As many here have said, it's already happening, bit by bit.

A guy who spent a lifetime around the batting cages and clubhouses of professional baseball has a lot less new knowledge to acquire than a sabre-smart businessman who never played pro ball.
The job for these guys.. like #72 here.... the guys who are "The Baseball Men" ain't ever gonna vanish and it's these sort of jobs that often lead to management jobs. Because it's on the job day in and day out, it's the nature of the beast.

http://baseballminutia.com/images/bilde.jpg

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 06:50 PM
There will be a wave of bright players who totally embrace sabermetrics soon, I believe. They will be the next Franconas.

Couldn't agree more.

Actually this model provides the best of all worlds. The experience, the willingingness to except new ideas and an interface with street-cred between the player and the wet-behind the ears 27 year old owner/GM.

In addition to youngsters fealing like they'll be the ones to change the world, they often think they are entitled to walk into the top-dogs job without paying their dues. Funny stuff.

M2
03-13-2008, 06:51 PM
Hot shot MBA's or not, teams aren't going to hand the reigns of their team to guys who've never managed games in high level organized baseball. So, unless that hot shot MBA wants to ride the bus in the minors for several years learning the ropes and gaining the experience required to be viewed as relevant by the players, they're never going to sniff the inside of a managers office, unless it's as a owner, GM or a member of the press.

Excellent point. All that chewing tobacco can really mess up your wing tips.

pedro
03-13-2008, 06:55 PM
Excellent point. All that chewing tobacco can really mess up your wing tips.

And I think Jojo was spot on about the salary scale. Unless teams start paying coaches and minor league managers MUCH more money I just don't see that many people who've put in the time and expense of getting an MBA sleeping in crappy motels and working for $27,000 a year.

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 06:56 PM
I just don't see why they would go that way. Once it's accepted that the Red Sox approach cited earlier in this thread is the way to go, the job description will change for manager.

Remember, the Red Sox didn't go the route you're suggesting. They went out and found the guy who bought in to their thinking and still had the baseball pedigree.

Again, it's far, far easier for the baseball man to acquire the stat knowledge he's missing than it would be for the businessman to catch up on what he's missed.

I agree that the winds of change are blowing, and the Red Sox model will no doubt lead the revolution. But even they didn't go outside the baseball community, they searched for a man who could embrace their philosophy and already had the baseball background.

There will be a wave of bright players who totally embrace sabermetrics soon, I believe. They will be the next Franconas.

No, the Red Sox didn't go all the way to the route I'm suggesting. But they've gone part of the way; the ball has been nudged. That's how progression occurs, one part after another. The part I'm suggesting may not occur for well over a decade, if not longer, but it's going to occur at some point probably in the next 30 years.

Just think about this: how much statistical analysis was involved in the game 30 years ago? How many people were stocked in front offices 30 years ago who had not played the game? If somebody told you 30 years ago that groups of people throughout the big leagues who had never "played the game" were now evaluating talent and influencing big league clubs in talent evaluation, would you believe it? I very much doubt it, but's that exactly the type of progression we've seen in that level. And that type of progression will continue in all levels of the game, including the manager's level. It's already progressing toward that way.

I'm not saying that people will be converting business men into baseball men down the road. What I am saying is that baseball men will follow a different progression path than they do today.

The very definition of a "baseball man" is different today than it was 25 years ago. And 25 years from now, the definition of a "baseball man" will be different than it is today. The foundation of a baseball man will change. The grooming of a baseball man will change. The evolution of a baseball man will well ... continue to evolve.

BoydsOfSummer
03-13-2008, 06:59 PM
Now, about all those Adam Dunn strikeouts....

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 07:00 PM
Now, about all those Adam Dunn strikeouts....

I'm still trying to figure out if Drew Stubbs will be a bust or not.

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 07:02 PM
I can tell you what's not going to happen.

Hot shot MBA's or not, teams aren't going to hand the reigns of their team to guys who've never managed games in high level organized baseball. So, unless that hot shot MBA wants to ride the bus in the minors for several years learning the ropes and gaining the experience required to be viewed as relevant by the players, they're never going to sniff the inside of a managers office, unless it's as a owner, GM or a member of the press.

That's not to say that I don't think managers are going to have to become more statistically minded, because it's obvious they are, but I'm going to side with RFS on this one.

You guys are latching on to one variable I used just as a type of example and carrying it to a whole different plane.

By reading the responses, we are on different planes here ... probably because I'm not communicating what I'm really trying to communicate as well as I should be and that's my bad.

RFS62
03-13-2008, 07:06 PM
I'm not saying that people will be converting business men into baseball men down the road. What I am saying is that baseball men will follow a different progression path than they do today.

The very definition of a "baseball man" is different today than it was 25 years ago. And 25 years from now, the definition of a "baseball man" will be different than it is today. The foundation of a baseball man will change. The grooming of a baseball man will change. The evolution of a baseball man will well ... continue to evolve.


As it has since baseball was first played.

It's never stopped evolving, and it never will.

"Baseball men" of the past resisted the switch from the small ball of the dead ball era, stopwatch timing of moves and runners, radar guns, pitching machines.... the list is endless of radical changes which were resisted and finally embraced.

I have no doubt that if the conclusions being drawn today by the sabr community are valid, they will be embraced by ALL of baseball.

It seems to me that a key premise for this discussion is that the baseball men of today won't embrace the new way of thinking.

I don't buy that for a minute. Yes, it's taking time. But it's happening, just as so many have said, in the front offices.

I think it's a terrible business model to consider taking a MBA type with no playing or coaching background and putting them in the dugout. I can't imagine why a owner would ever consider doing that.

The model which I believe will lead baseball into the future is the Red Sox model. Take a baseball man and teach him what you want him to do and make him do it or replace him with someone who will. It's that simple.

Chip R
03-13-2008, 07:13 PM
One of the most important components of being a major league manager is knowing how to handle the press. Using Rick's example of the 2000 Yankees if you put some middle level manager in the position of manager of the NY Yankees and having to deal with many newspapers, radio stations and television stations not to mention the online press, he's going to have to figure that out. And I doubt the press is going to give this fellow a pass because he's new. What's this manager going to do when some reporter comes in and says such and such a player says you suck. Is this manager going to punch this player's lights out or talk to him privately? Or is he going to realize the reporter is just trying to stir it up just to get a story? My guess is this manager is going to spend most of his time trying to deal with the press. Former players have a tough enough time with it but at least they do have some experience with it on some level. They are going to play you like a fiddle. They are going to budy up to you, maybe buy you a drink or two at the hotel bar and before you know it, you're spilling you guts to them about things you shouldn't and the next day, there's a column about it in the paper.

Players are going to play you too - for lack of a better term. You're naturally going to be a bit star struck when you start the job. Some of the players are going to buddy up to you and before you know it, you're starting someone because they are your pal and not because they deserve to. A former player is going to be less star struck by the players and will be more likely to realize when they are getting conned.

RedsManRick
03-13-2008, 07:18 PM
Sorry for contradicting myself in posting again, but I think the topic not being discussed, which is really germane to the matter, is what is the set of skills a manager must possess to be successful.

One of them, I would suggest, is the ability to command the respect (and thus the attention) of the players on the team. What has been suggested, is that the only way one can get this respect is through the experience of being a player. Is this true? What can other sports, or the military tell us about this? Can you be an officer without being a soldier?

I think Cyclone was going down the right path when he touched on the division of labor issue. Will the job of the manager always have the same job description? Will it require the same skills? Could there be a day where there is no one guy at the top of the clubhouse who reports to the GM, but rather a group of equals -- some of whom coach, some of whom manage the clubhouse, some of whom fill out the lineup card and make in-game strategy decisions? That division of labor is already somewhat fluid. Maybe it breaks down even further and moves from a dictatorship (benevolent or otherwise) to a monarchical structure...

If there's no single point man manager, maybe the nature of the press coverage changes too. Maybe there won't be a press conference after the game. Maybe there's a guy behind the scenes who's job is supervise all the managers and report to the GM, but who doesn't sit in the dugout. Who knows? As Cyclone described, it evolves. Changing one thing a lot and holding everything else constant simply isn't a good way to play out some of these hypothetical scenarios.

pedro
03-13-2008, 07:22 PM
One of them, I would suggest, is the ability to command the respect (and thus the attention) of the players on the team. What has been suggested, is that the only way one can get this respect is through the experience of being a player. Is this true? What can other sports, or the military tell us about this? Can you be an officer without being a soldier?

.

I don't think it'll always be "required" that a guy be an ex player, at least not at the professional level, but I do believe that anybody who wasn't an ex player that wanted to manage in the major leagues would have to gain experience managing in the minors before they'd ever get a chance to manage in the majors. I don't see that ever changing either.

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 07:40 PM
As it has since baseball was first played.

It's never stopped evolving, and it never will.

"Baseball men" of the past resisted the switch from the small ball of the dead ball era, stopwatch timing of moves and runners, radar guns, pitching machines.... the list is endless of radical changes which were resisted and finally embraced.

I have no doubt that if the conclusions being drawn today by the sabr community are valid, they will be embraced by ALL of baseball.

It seems to me that a key premise for this discussion is that the baseball men of today won't embrace the new way of thinking.

I don't buy that for a minute. Yes, it's taking time. But it's happening, just as so many have said, in the front offices.

I think it's a terrible business model to consider taking a MBA type with no playing or coaching background and putting them in the dugout. I can't imagine why a owner would ever consider doing that.

The model which I believe will lead baseball into the future is the Red Sox model. Take a baseball man and teach him what you want him to do and make him do it or replace him with someone who will. It's that simple.

Ok, I think we're getting somewhere, or I think we may be back on the same plane ... ;)

Take the MBA type "example" and discard it. Forget it was ever mentioned, because it was a poor example to use.

We've established the Red Sox model as a model likely to move forward. It's a newer model than what was used primarily in the 1990s. It was derived from a model beforehand which was derived from an earlier model, etc. all the way back to the days before your boyhood hero Billy Hamilton saw the field.

Now take the Red Sox model and hit the fast-forward button to the next version. Then hit the fast-forward button to yet another version beyond the next version. Keep doing that a few times.

My premise is at some point eventually - and I think it's sooner than we think - somebody will create a process that can successfully identify a "baseball man" who can be successful baseball manager who did not follow the player ---> coach ---> manager progression chain. That chain will be modified in some form which is possibly considered radical - even unthinkable - today. And when it happens it won't be much different than some other radical changes we have already seen.

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 07:45 PM
I don't think it'll always be "required" that a guy be an ex player, at least not at the professional level, but I do believe that anybody who wasn't an ex player that wanted to manage in the major leagues would have to gain experience managing in the minors before they'd ever get a chance to manage in the majors. I don't see that ever changing either.

How about a progression such as this:

high school baseball player ---> MLB intern while in college ---> scout ---> minor league instructor ---> minor league coach ---> minor league manager ---> big league manager

Two questions here:

1) would you consider a person taking that path a baseball man?
2) do you think it is plausible for that person to reach that final notch of baseball manager?

pedro
03-13-2008, 07:48 PM
How about a progression such as this:

high school baseball player ---> MLB intern while in college ---> scout ---> minor league instructor ---> minor league coach ---> minor league manager ---> big league manager

Two questions here:

1) would you consider a person taking that path a baseball man?
2) do you think it is plausible for that person to reach that final notch of baseball manager?

1) I think "baseball man" is kind of a nebulous term. It means a different things to different people.

2) Certainly.

M2
03-13-2008, 07:48 PM
Can you be an officer without being a soldier?

Every goes through Basic for a reason.


there be a day where there is no one guy at the top of the clubhouse who reports to the GM, but rather a group of equals -- some of whom coach, some of whom manage the clubhouse, some of whom fill out the lineup card and make in-game strategy decisions? That division of labor is already somewhat fluid. Maybe it breaks down even further and moves from a dictatorship (benevolent or otherwise) to a monarchical structure...

There a very good management reason why that isn't a good idea.

Try to draw the org chart for what you just decribed. It would be like trying to draw a plate of spaghetti. A 2B would be a direct report to an IF coach, a hitting coach, a baserunning coach and a bench coach. Meanwhile you'd have some nebulous manager who makes constant decisions that affect the 2B directly even though the manager has little contact with the 2B. That way lies madness.

Say what you will about baseball's management deficiencies, but the chain of command is clean.

It's also a recipe for incessant infighting among coach and the GM has to play Solomon every time a change needs to be made.

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 07:56 PM
1) I think "baseball man" is kind of a nebulous term. It means a different things to different people.

2) Certainly.

Ok, I think we're agreeing more than we're disagreeing ;)

How about another, say over a 20+ year period ...

MLB intern while in college ---> statistical consultant ---> scout ---> minor league instructor ---> minor league coach ---> minor league manager ---> big league manager

I don't mean to be throwing out a bunch of hypotheticals, but we know people, including those in the baseball industry, took various career paths to get where they are.

My premise is I think the above career path is very possible over 20+ years, especially as the game continues to progress and evolve. I really do think a current MLB intern in college with a brilliant baseball mind would have a chance to go down that type of career path all the way toward eventually being a baseball manager.

RFS62
03-13-2008, 07:58 PM
Do you realize how very little a minor league manager makes?

Assuming he follows the path you just outlined, he's going to be very poor most of his adult life, just for a chance to make it in the bigs.

pedro
03-13-2008, 08:00 PM
Ok, I think we're agreeing more than we're disagreeing ;)

How about another, say over a 20+ year period ...

MLB intern while in college ---> statistical consultant ---> scout ---> minor league instructor ---> minor league coach ---> minor league manager ---> big league manager

I don't mean to be throwing out a bunch of hypotheticals, but we know people, including those in the baseball industry, took various career paths to get where they are.

My premise is I think the above career path is very possible over 20+ years, especially as the game continues to progress and evolve. I really do think a current MLB intern in college with a brilliant baseball mind would have a chance to go down that type of career path all the way toward eventually being a baseball manager.

I think so.

My take is that to be taken seriously by major league players a manager will either have be an ex-player or will have to ride the bus in the minors with the rest of the plebes for a while. And if you're going to rise to that position w/out being an ex-player then you better have exceptional people skills as well.

pedro
03-13-2008, 08:01 PM
Do you realize how very little a minor league manager makes?

Assuming he follows the path you just outlined, he's going to be very poor most of his adult life, just for a chance to make it in the bigs.


That's true too.

I think it's going to seriously narrow the field of non ex-players that choose that path.

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 08:02 PM
My premise is I think the above career path is very possible over 20+ years, especially as the game continues to progress and evolve. I really do think a current MLB intern in college with a brilliant baseball mind would have a chance to go down that type of career path all the way toward eventually being a baseball manager.

I wonder if the young, brillant baseball guy/gal would even really want to become manager instead of say GM of VP of Opps or something. Way more power, prestege and moolah in the front office.

I'm painting with big giant sterotypical strokes, I admit, but I can see the young tallented folks being more inclined to aim at the front office, while the player types aspire more generally to coaching/managing. (Not suggesting that players are dolts who can't hack it in the FO, just saying that generally I can see more players aspiring to coaching/managing than GM'ing).

GAC
03-13-2008, 08:16 PM
So your hitting coach comes to you and he's upset because Ken Griffey came to help Junior out with some kinks in his game and whilst there he got into Jay Bruce's head, a guy the coach has been working with for a year. You can't really complain to Junior or his dad and meanwhile the owner is really more friendly with Senior than he is with you.

The next day Bruce goes 2-4 and your coach is extra ticked, AND Junior has a HR and a 2b and Bruce and him huddle in the dugout talking about the approach that Senior was preaching the prior day.

After the game the coach comes in the office and demands that something be done.

Would it help to have prior playing and coaching experience in this situation?


Let me do a google search and get back to you.

Don't know whether to start calling you guys the Swat Brothers or Glimmer Twins.

All I know I'd bat you 3 and 4 because somebody has this cleanup this mess! :D

On a different note, and after reading through the last several pages of this thread.....

Can an "average joe", such as those on a sports forum, manage a baseball game for even one inning.... or two... or maybe a whole game if given the hypothetical situation?

Probably so.

But it's not about "never say never" as much as it's about probability (or improbability).

I'm in my early 50s and have played, been around the game all my life. The game is my one true passion as far as sports (pastimes). So yeah, over these many years, like many baseball fans, I have attained knowledge of the game (which continues to grow). When it comes to statistical analysis/knowledge many on here have far more knowledge then I do.

I think the BIG QUESTION is.... does the possession of that skill (or knowledge) qualify one to manage (run) a baseball team at whatever level (owner, GM, manager, coach)?

IMO - that alone does not.

Could any of us do so for a single inning or two, or even for a whole game?

Not improbable.We might be able to keep our head above water for that short time span.

But could you do it on a longterm, consistent basis and get the proven results needed to qualify as a success?

Highly improbable IMO. There are just two many other variables involved that we aren't qualified/knowledgeable in.

But it would be fun sitting in chat or on the gamethread questioning your moves. It would be murder!

We all can sight businessmen/entrepreneurs who own/operate sports franchises and don't do a very good job. In fact we'd say they don't appear to have a clue, and that we could probably do better.

Recent examples that come to mind?..... Lindner, Allen, and even Depodesta.

But maybe their "lack' should be also seen as just how hard it is, and not that they were simply incompetent.

I think Depo is one smart guy. But from what I've read, he didn't possess those "people" communication skills and alienated a lot within the Dodger organization. I'm not gonna fault him for not getting along with Tommie L though. ;)

Cyclone792
03-13-2008, 08:20 PM
Do you realize how very little a minor league manager makes?

Assuming he follows the path you just outlined, he's going to be very poor most of his adult life, just for a chance to make it in the bigs.

But what's the comparison, a $35k per year casual Joe job or other baseball jobs?

That question may have a similar answer as to why some minor league players hang around for years and years after receiving little to no signing bonus and little to no shot of ever making the big leagues. Those guys aren't making much money either.

IslandRed
03-13-2008, 08:44 PM
One of them, I would suggest, is the ability to command the respect (and thus the attention) of the players on the team. What has been suggested, is that the only way one can get this respect is through the experience of being a player. Is this true? What can other sports, or the military tell us about this? Can you be an officer without being a soldier?

That's a fair question. I think, if we went over the top ranks of NFL coaches (head coaches + coordinators), we'd probably be surprised at how many not only didn't play pro ball but weren't even noteworthy in college. Lots of them command respect despite never having been through the modern-day grind of being an NFL player. At the same time, they got their jobs -- and respect -- by working their way up the ladder and paying their dues.

Michael Lewis wrote about baseball being a social club of sorts, and it's true. Lots of organizations have that "secret society" feel to them where the shared experience and knowledge is highly valued and naturally tend to dismiss anyone from the outside who presumes to tell them better. You mentioned the military; I imagine it would be very difficult for someone who's never even been to boot camp, much less Parris Island, to win the respect of a platoon of Marines. And if you don't have an M.D. after your name, can you imagine how hard it would be to get a doctor to take you seriously if you're trying to tell him how to practice medicine?

SteelSD
03-14-2008, 12:30 AM
No, the Red Sox didn't go all the way to the route I'm suggesting. But they've gone part of the way; the ball has been nudged. That's how progression occurs, one part after another. The part I'm suggesting may not occur for well over a decade, if not longer, but it's going to occur at some point probably in the next 30 years.

Just think about this: how much statistical analysis was involved in the game 30 years ago? How many people were stocked in front offices 30 years ago who had not played the game? If somebody told you 30 years ago that groups of people throughout the big leagues who had never "played the game" were now evaluating talent and influencing big league clubs in talent evaluation, would you believe it? I very much doubt it, but's that exactly the type of progression we've seen in that level. And that type of progression will continue in all levels of the game, including the manager's level. It's already progressing toward that way.

I'm not saying that people will be converting business men into baseball men down the road. What I am saying is that baseball men will follow a different progression path than they do today.

The very definition of a "baseball man" is different today than it was 25 years ago. And 25 years from now, the definition of a "baseball man" will be different than it is today. The foundation of a baseball man will change. The grooming of a baseball man will change. The evolution of a baseball man will well ... continue to evolve.

Excellent post. I think a key point with the Red Sox example is that organizations don't change from the bottom up. They change from the top down. That's why, IMHO, the "credibility" issue will eventually become a non-factor for a manager. And frankly, I think that potential issue is currently overblown.

Look at a guy like Terry Francona. Poor MLB player. Prior to his joining the Red Sox, his teams failed utterly. Fired after a 97-loss season with Philadelphia. Then Francona was hired to manage the high-profile Boston Red Sox, who had the second highest payroll in Major League Baseball. I don't know the actual terms of Francona's initial contract, but after his recent contract extension, I've seen references to him being one of the lowest paid Managers in the Show.

The high-salary Red Sox' players Francona was charged with managing included:

Manny Ramirez: 22.0 M
Pedro Martinez: 17.5 M
Curt Schilling: 12.0 M
Nomar Garciaparra: 11.5 M
Johnny Damon: 8.0 M
Jason Varitek: 6.9 M

Considering that Francona was said to be one of the lowest paid Managers in the bigs, I'd suggest that at least two thirds of that 2004 team made more to significantly more money than the guy who was in charge of them.

And again, Francona's Philadelphia teams were failures. He was fired because of it. His history as a MLB player wasn't good. So exactly how did one of the lowest paid Managers in the game garner the immediate necessary respect I'm hearing about in this thread from exceptional multi-millionaires even though his resume as a Manager was poor?

Hmn. That's interesting, because in baseball results are public. Players can find them. But in the private sector, if someone is brought in from another organization to manage a group of employees, those being managed aren't going to have access to that manager's resume. They're going to have to trust their employer and base their opinion of said manager on his behavior. That seems to be exactly what the Red Sox' multi-millionaires did behind Francona in 2004 while winning their first World Series since 1918.

A low-paid Manager who shouldn't have much credibility at all due to a poor resume comes in and guides the second highest-paid roster in the Show to a World Series title in his first year.

I'm not sure how that could have happened under the stringent "credibility first" requirements I've seen in this thread.

Cedric
03-14-2008, 02:52 AM
Excellent post. I think a key point with the Red Sox example is that organizations don't change from the bottom up. They change from the top down. That's why, IMHO, the "credibility" issue will eventually become a non-factor for a manager. And frankly, I think that potential issue is currently overblown.

Look at a guy like Terry Francona. Poor MLB player. Prior to his joining the Red Sox, his teams failed utterly. Fired after a 97-loss season with Philadelphia. Then Francona was hired to manage the high-profile Boston Red Sox, who had the second highest payroll in Major League Baseball. I don't know the actual terms of Francona's initial contract, but after his recent contract extension, I've seen references to him being one of the lowest paid Managers in the Show.

The high-salary Red Sox' players Francona was charged with managing included:

Manny Ramirez: 22.0 M
Pedro Martinez: 17.5 M
Curt Schilling: 12.0 M
Nomar Garciaparra: 11.5 M
Johnny Damon: 8.0 M
Jason Varitek: 6.9 M

Considering that Francona was said to be one of the lowest paid Managers in the bigs, I'd suggest that at least two thirds of that 2004 team made more to significantly more money than the guy who was in charge of them.

And again, Francona's Philadelphia teams were failures. He was fired because of it. His history as a MLB player wasn't good. So exactly how did one of the lowest paid Managers in the game garner the immediate necessary respect I'm hearing about in this thread from exceptional multi-millionaires even though his resume as a Manager was poor?

Hmn. That's interesting, because in baseball results are public. Players can find them. But in the private sector, if someone is brought in from another organization to manage a group of employees, those being managed aren't going to have access to that manager's resume. They're going to have to trust their employer and base their opinion of said manager on his behavior. That seems to be exactly what the Red Sox' multi-millionaires did behind Francona in 2004 while winning their first World Series since 1918.

A low-paid Manager who shouldn't have much credibility at all due to a poor resume comes in and guides the second highest-paid roster in the Show to a World Series title in his first year.

I'm not sure how that could have happened under the stringent "credibility first" requirements I've seen in this thread.

I haven't been following this thread so I might have missed this point already made. I'm also not saying I agree with the premise that Boston won because they trusted their manager or what not.

I do think that Francona had more respect in that clubhouse because of the great respect Curt Schilling had for him as a person and manager. I assume a veteran like Schilling has a big part in that role. That's all I got though.

RFS62
03-14-2008, 07:23 AM
I don't think Francona had any credibility problems when he came to Boston. Son of a major leaguer, former player..... about as much a "baseball man" as you can get as a legacy.

I don't think that analogy works.

Chip R
03-14-2008, 09:16 AM
How about another, say over a 20+ year period ...

MLB intern while in college ---> statistical consultant ---> scout ---> minor league instructor ---> minor league coach ---> minor league manager ---> big league manager



I think going from statistical consultant to a scout is a big step. It'd be easier to go from scout to statistical consultant - kinda what Beane did - but consultant to scout is a big step. It's more of a cultural thing than anything. If you could do that, then the rest would be easier but that's the biggest jump you'd have to make in that progression.

westofyou
03-14-2008, 10:00 AM
I don't think Francona had any credibility problems when he came to Boston. Son of a major leaguer, former player..... about as much a "baseball man" as you can get as a legacy.

I don't think that analogy works.

He was a legacy... like Flounder in Animal House

M2
03-14-2008, 10:23 AM
I'm not sure how that could have happened under the stringent "credibility first" requirements I've seen in this thread.

You're reading the argument wrong, at least the one being put forth by most here. Francona spent his entire life in MLB locker rooms - raised by a player, played the game, coached. He came into the Red Sox job intimately familiar with the job of a professional baseball player. In fact he was probably more familiar with it than just about anybody the Sox could have hired. His domain knowledge was superior, not lacking.

RFS62
03-14-2008, 10:46 AM
You're reading the argument wrong, at least the one being put forth by most here. Francona spent his entire life in MLB locker rooms - raised by a player, played the game, coached. He came into the Red Sox job intimately familiar with the job of a professional baseball player. In fact he was probably more familiar with it than just about anybody the Sox could have hired. His domain knowledge was superior, not lacking.


Exactly.

blumj
03-14-2008, 10:52 AM
He was a legacy... like Flounder in Animal House
Pretty much. You guys would have probably been a lot more aware of Francona's tenure in Philly than I was, but he sure didn't come into Boston with much more credibility than Flounder. But that was to the outside, I have no idea what the players thought of him.

They probably read the papers, too, though. I'd imagine they weren't exactly thrilled to find out their new manager was Schilling's hand-picked guy, though.

RFS62
03-14-2008, 10:56 AM
He was a legacy... like Flounder in Animal House


Don't sell Flounder short. Without him, no Deathmobile.


http://blogs.citypages.com/pscholtes/images/Animal%20House%20Deathmobile.jpg

RedsManRick
03-14-2008, 10:57 AM
I think the respect that comes with your experience lasts maybe a few months on its own. After that, it's about doing your job well. If a non-player was named coach, he probably wouldn't get the benefit of the doubt. It's important to differentiate between managing and coaching though. That kind of a manager would likely to leverage his coaches differently. But if he ran a good clubhouse, made good decisions, and above all else communicated well with the players, I don't see credibility being a problem.

People who are good at their jobs and treat people well get respect. Those who don't, don't.

M2
03-14-2008, 11:07 AM
I think the respect that comes with your experience lasts maybe a few months on its own. After that, it's about doing your job well. If a non-player was named coach, he probably wouldn't get the benefit of the doubt. It's important to differentiate between managing and coaching though. That kind of a manager would likely to leverage his coaches differently. But if he ran a good clubhouse, made good decisions, and above all else communicated well with the players, I don't see credibility being a problem.

Communicating with players = credibility. Always has.

Being a good manager has never been about your playing pedigree. That's never been the hook on which a manager's credibility hangs.

Yet what a lot of us has been saying is that if you came in as a pure outsider, having spent little to no time in MLB locker rooms, you won't be able to communicate with your players and it will absolutely undermine any chance you've got to establish credibility.

You won't understand the pressures of their job and you won't be able to help them do their job. That's the very definition of a manager who lacks credibility, regardless of industry.

Cyclone came up with some perfectly acceptable alternate career paths for an MLB manager, but they all involved years of scouting, coaching and managing at lower levels. If you do that, then you'll have the domain knowledge to communicate with your team.

RedsManRick
03-14-2008, 11:47 AM
You won't understand the pressures of their job and you won't be able to help them do their job. That's the very definition of a manager who lacks credibility, regardless of industry.

In my admittedly limited professional experience, the ability to communicated effectively with one's colleagues/employees is not directly related to having a wealth of experience in that particular field. It is a skill in and unto itself, while experience surely wouldn't hurt, understanding that being a professional athlete takes a physical and mental toll is not some great mystery that takes years to comprehend.

M2
03-14-2008, 12:22 PM
In my admittedly limited professional experience, the ability to communicated effectively with one's colleagues/employees is not directly related to having a wealth of experience in that particular field. It is a skill in and unto itself, while experience surely wouldn't hurt, understanding that being a professional athlete takes a physical and mental toll is not some great mystery that takes years to comprehend.

In my professional experience (across a few industries), I've seen too many managerial disasterbacles based on a lack of experience in the given field. Managers who don't know what's involved in the jobs of the people they're managing aren't able to communicate. They can't identify problems let alone fix them. They also have little to no concept of how changes will affect the employees, making it difficult to sell changes to those employees.

I run into it constantly in the tech world. It's epidemic.

And you vastly overestimate "communications skills" while vastly underestimating domain knowledge. Once again, if you can't help a pro ballplayer do his job - either in helping to correct something mechanical or in addressing the particular stresses of his job - then you've got no business being his manager. You're useless to that employee. Anybody can tell another person what to do.

Being a ballplayer isn't a great mystery, but there's a major experiential component involved in understanding it at the level necessary to manage a ballclub. If you want to be a generalist in baseball, there's a job for that. It's called general manager. Field manager involves detail work and direct employee relations and if you want to be that far inside the game then you'd better have the specific knowledge it requires.

westofyou
03-14-2008, 12:34 PM
I run into it constantly in the tech world. It's epidemic.

You mean project managers?

Nah... you couldn't be talking about them.

jojo
03-14-2008, 01:02 PM
In my professional experience (across a few industries), I've seen too many managerial disasterbacles based on a lack of experience in the given field. Managers who don't know what's involved in the jobs of the people they're managing aren't able to communicate. They can't identify problems let alone fix them. They also have little to no concept of how changes will affect the employees, making it difficult to sell changes to those employees.

I run into it constantly in the tech world. It's epidemic.

Here's another analogy from a story my father told me when i was a boy. He was a pipe fitter in a major tractor factory with over 30 years experience. He would get blueprints detailing the installation of a new piece of machinery from "green" engineers and he'd know instantly that they wouldn't work. An argument would ensue. He'd of course have to follow the plans until it was obvious they weren't going to work and then he'd get new plans....

After a couple rounds of this, one might guess that trust issues existed.....

M2
03-14-2008, 01:26 PM
Here's another analogy from a story my father told me when i was a boy. He was a pipe fitter in a major tractor factory with over 30 years experience. He would get blueprints detailing the installation of a new piece of machinery from "green" engineers and he'd know instantly that they wouldn't work. An argument would ensue. He'd of course have to follow the plans until it was obvious they weren't going to work and then he'd get new plans....

After a couple rounds of this, one might guess that trust issues existed.....

My grandfather was a steam fitter and had the exact same stories.

You should have heard him go on about this gig he had up near Harrisburg, some place called Three Mile Island.

paulrichjr
03-14-2008, 11:02 PM
I hope this hasn't been posted anywhere else...


http://seamheads.com/blog/2008/03/12/when-dusty-baker-starts-chanelling-bill-james/


When Dusty Baker Starts Channeling Bill James

Dusty Baker has been called a “OBP-hating Luddite,” but his theory about young hitters is no different than that of Bill James.

This past Sunday, the excellent website Baseball Prospectus had an article by Joe Sheehan about Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker called “The Teflon Manager.” The article is essentially a rip job on Dusty, as Sheehan writes, “Dusty Baker has no real idea of what makes an offense run.” Later, he writes, “Dusty Baker may have positive qualities — he does seem to have a salutary effect on veterans, for one — but he is, one (sic) the whole, a negative force in the dugout.”

I’m not sure what to make of Dusty myself. On one hand, he took the Giants to the World Series, and took the Cubs to as close to the World Series as they have been since 1945. On the other, he does say some strange things.

Sheehan has also picked up on Dusty saying some strange things. In the article, he includes quotes from an article by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“He needs to swing some more,” Dusty said, talking about Joey Votto. “I talked to him about that. Strikeouts aren’t the only criteria. I’d like to see him more aggressive. A lot of this on-base percentage is taking away the aggressiveness of some young kids.”

Of course, Sheehan and others love quotes like this, because they believe in the importance of on-base percentage. To them, of course, it means that Dusty just doesn’t get it.

But a respected baseball observer said something very much like what Dusty said.

His name? Bill James.

Here’s James in the 1984 Bill James Baseball Abstract, writing about Chili Davis:

“I’ve always thought that if I were in a position to do so, I’d be very reluctant to try to tell players to take walks, even though I know how valuable walks are, because I’d be afraid it would make the players less aggressive at the plate.”

How’s that for irony? Of all the people you would expect to espouse Bill James’ ideas, Dusty Baker is probably last on the list. Sheehan even refers to him as an “OBP-hating Luddite.” while James, of course, is a big fan of on-base percentage.

This sparked my curious mind to look at the data on Dusty as a manager. How do his teams fare with regard to runs scored?

First, the conclusion: The record is mixed. Dusty’s record is very strong in this area with the Giants, and not so much with the Cubs.

Dusty managed the Giants from 1993 to 2002. Two things combine to distort the before and after data in this case:

1. Dusty was the Giants hitting coach from 1989 to 1992.

2. Dusty’s appointment as manager of the Giants coincided with the arrival of Barry Bonds.

Here are the Giants’ league rankings in runs scored in the three years before Dusty took over as manager:
Year Rank
1990 4th
1991 7th
1992 11th

Average position: 7.7

These are the Giants rankings with Dusty in charge:
Year Rank
1993 2nd
1994 10th
1995 8th
1996 6th
1997 4th
1998 2nd
1999 3rd
2000 3rd
2001 5th
2002 2nd

Average position: 4.5

And the four years after Dusty left:
Year Rank
2003 6th
2004 2nd
2005 15th
2006 10th (tie)

Average position: 8.3

Now here’s the same data for the Cubs:

Before Dusty:
Year Rank
2000 11th
2001 7th
2002 11th

Average position: 9.7

Under Dusty:
Year Rank
2003 9th
2004 7th
2005 9th
2006 15th

Average position: 10

After Dusty:
Year Rank
2007 8th

(You guys can figure out the average)

Maybe Dusty Baker just looked like a good offensive manager because he had Barry Bonds. Maybe he’s succeeding in a way the statistics don’t accurately represent.

But if Dusty does not make the Reds one of the best teams in the National League, it will be the first time he has failed to do that as manager. That should give him something close to the benefit of the doubt.

Oh, and Chili Davis? As James noted, Davis‘ walks went up in 1983 but the other parts of his offense went down. Davis walk rate went back down in 1984, and he went from .233 with 11 home runs to .315 with 21 homers.

Davis‘ walk rate went back up after that, but his most impressive seasons, without adjusting for context, were in the mid-1990s, when runs were up all over. Using Pete Palmer’s Batter-Fielder Wins, Davis‘ 1984 shows as the best year of his career, at plus-3.1. (Obviously, this is likely influenced by Davis being able to play center fielder at the time, whereas he was a designated hitter later in his career.)

RFS62
03-15-2008, 10:07 AM
There are so many things that go on running a baseball team where playing and coaching experience is extremely valuable.

Here's a quote from Daryl Thompson about his 1,2,3 inning against the Yankees the other day...

Before Friday, March 14, Thompson had appeared in one inning, and it was against the New York Yankees. He struck out the side.

"It was a big, big thrill," he said. "My heart was pumping. I managed to calm myself down, even though the adrenaline is always going when I pitch. I managed not to rush and kept my composure."


Now.... do you want a suit who never played talking to Daryl about this experience, or do you want a guy who's been there, done that?

The mental side of performance is a huge part of the game. It's not just the physical acts we all see when we watch games. There's a complete inner game going on that no matter how smart you are, unless you were a ballplayer or coach, on the road with a team, you won't completely understand.

There's a complete culture going on of how to prepare yourself mentally and physically. If you haven't participated in it, you are at a huge disadvantage.

Old school managers don't call it sports psychology, but that's what they dispense when a guy like Dusty can talk about how Hank Aaron handled a situation, or draw on his vast personal experience in the game. That's how you relate to ballplayers.

lollipopcurve
03-15-2008, 10:59 AM
Strictly in my opinion, the belief that outsiders could manage ballclubs is symptomatic of the same lack of respect for ballplayers evident in posts that use words like crap, dung, heaping pile of s**t, trash, garbage, etc., in describing individual ballplayers.

RedsManRick
03-15-2008, 11:08 AM
RFS, who says that the guy who fills out the line up card has to be the same guy who calms Thomspson down?

RFS62
03-15-2008, 11:13 AM
RFS, who says that the guy who fills out the line up card has to be the same guy who calms Thomspson down?



If the guy who fills out the lineup car is the manager, and he isn't equipped to deal with the ups and downs of these players he manages? Then you've removed one of the biggest and most important parts of the managers job description as it exists today.

And for what? I still submit it's easier for a player/coach to learn and implement any and all of your philosophical guidelines as a GM than it is for a non player/manager to learn the culture of a ballclub.

blumj
03-15-2008, 11:40 AM
And for what? I still submit it's easier for a player/coach to learn and implement any and all of your philosophical guidelines as a GM than it is for a non player/manager to learn the culture of a ballclub.
They're already learning it anyway. Does anyone really believe that all the players who are playing now are that insulated from the rest of the world? That they have that little curiosity about their own business?

SteelSD
03-15-2008, 11:54 AM
RFS, who says that the guy who fills out the line up card has to be the same guy who calms Thomspson down?

Yep. When an in-game "calm down" trip to the mound is needed, it's almost always the Pitching Coach who visits rather than the Manager.

RedsManRick
03-15-2008, 12:09 PM
If the guy who fills out the lineup car is the manager, and he isn't equipped to deal with the ups and downs of these players he manages? Then you've removed one of the biggest and most important parts of the managers job description as it exists today.

And for what? I still submit it's easier for a player/coach to learn and implement any and all of your philosophical guidelines as a GM than it is for a non player/manager to learn the culture of a ballclub.

I agree. The strategy part is easier than the manager-of-players part. So why do so many teams settle for managers who can't seem to get the easy part right?

blumj
03-15-2008, 12:12 PM
I agree. The strategy part is easier than the manager-of-players part. So why do so many teams settle for managers who can't seem to get the easy part right?
Maybe that's what bench coaches should be for, helping the manager get the easy part right.

RANDY IN INDY
03-15-2008, 12:14 PM
I agree. The strategy part is easier than the manager-of-players part. So why do so many teams settle for managers who can't seem to get the easy part right?

That is totally your opinion, and totally influenced by your individual preferences.

WMR
03-15-2008, 12:37 PM
Strictly in my opinion, the belief that outsiders could manage ballclubs is symptomatic of the same lack of respect for ballplayers evident in posts that use words like crap, dung, heaping pile of s**t, trash, garbage, etc., in describing individual ballplayers.

I think I've used every single one of those words to describe Juan Castro.

jojo
03-15-2008, 12:51 PM
I think that the impact a coach has on players during their formative years doesn't extrapolate to the situation between a manager and major leaguers.

RANDY IN INDY
03-15-2008, 05:25 PM
The strategy part is easier than the manager-of-players part. So why do so many teams settle for managers who can't seem to get the easy part right?

I don't know that there really is an easy part.

SteelSD
03-16-2008, 01:53 AM
I don't know that there really is an easy part.

It's a game and it's not that complex. Your average baseball Manager isn't a chess Grandmaster, nor do they need to be.

The easiest possible strategic effort from a Manager is filling out a lineup card. Get that wrong, and it's pretty likely you'll do a whole lot of other dumb stuff after.

It has to do with understanding how the rules of the game work. And yes, there are rules beyond those published at mlb.com.

pedro
03-16-2008, 02:00 AM
nm

SteelSD
03-16-2008, 02:11 AM
That's is such a gross underestimation of the job.

It's incredibly easy to say "I'd have done X differently and that's all that matters" when you're not the one who is having to actually manage 25 different people as their boss. Sure, there are things that Dusty has done and will do that are easy to refute at the micro level, and honestly I wouldn't argue that you were wrong about them, but to act like managing a major league baseball team is as easy as filling out the lineup card is incredibly ignorant. Period.

You've completely, totally, and insultingly misrepresented my post.

At no point did I either act or state that "managing a major league baseball team is as easy as filling out the lineup card".

Hug that strawman as you like, but it's empty affection.

GAC
03-16-2008, 06:17 AM
The easiest possible strategic effort from a Manager is filling out a lineup card. Get that wrong, and it's pretty likely you'll do a whole lot of other dumb stuff after.

That's what Casey Stengel said too - when you have the talent, the "hardest" part of his job was daily filling out the lineup card when he got to the stadium. :lol:

But if managing a ML baseball is not as hard as some wish to presume, then why are so many supposedly getting it wrong and being fired?

Scapegoats or true unknowledgable idiots?

RANDY IN INDY
03-16-2008, 09:09 AM
It's a game and it's not that complex. Your average baseball Manager isn't a chess Grandmaster, nor do they need to be.

The easiest possible strategic effort from a Manager is filling out a lineup card. Get that wrong, and it's pretty likely you'll do a whole lot of other dumb stuff after.

Sorry, I don't agree with your positions. Some of you guys have some second guessing opinions from the keyboard, that are very easy to make. Managers are going to be second guessed forever but the second guess is always quite easy and the not difficult comments from the keyboard are just as easy to make when you have never done the job, nor are likely to ever do it. It is very easy to look intelligent from that position. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

RFS62
03-16-2008, 09:13 AM
Lineup construction and in game strategy..... that's pretty much Strat-O-Matic.

Lot more to it than that.

lollipopcurve
03-16-2008, 10:23 AM
Jonathon Papelbon in today's Boston Globe, talking about something Hank Steinbrenner said....

"I sure as hell don't care because he sure as hell hasn't stepped on a baseball field. He needs to just stick to pencil-pushing, I guess."

"People nowadays, whether it be reporters, ESPN analysts, guys that don't play the game, don't understand what it's about. What the grind is about, what the clubhouse is like.... I'm saying guys that have never been on the field don't have the right to speak their mind about things that they don't know about."

jojo
03-16-2008, 10:35 AM
Jonathon Papelbon in today's Boston Globe, talking about something Hank Steinbrenner said....

"I sure as hell don't care because he sure as hell hasn't stepped on a baseball field. He needs to just stick to pencil-pushing, I guess."

"People nowadays, whether it be reporters, ESPN analysts, guys that don't play the game, don't understand what it's about. What the grind is about, what the clubhouse is like.... I'm saying guys that have never been on the field don't have the right to speak their mind about things that they don't know about."

Playing major league baseball is not a prerequisite for possessing a profound understanding of the game. It seems to me that having a passion that drives one to become a student of the game is a much more important underpinning.

Really what Papelbon is saying is those who didn't win the genetic lottery that would've made it possible for them to reach the 99.9th percentile of athletes in the world should just collect baseball cards, eat their dollar hot dogs, clap for him and, oh ya, shut up.

Sorry Jonathon. You're wrong.

Steve4192
03-16-2008, 10:56 AM
Playing major league baseball is not a prerequisite for possessing a profound understanding of the game.

No, but playing professional baseball IS a prerequisite for understanding the people who play the game for a living. You are going to have a hard time gaining their respect if they know you didn't pay your dues by riding the bus in the bush leagues or living out of a crappy hotel room or playing five games a week while injured.

Papelbon's quote should make it abundantly clear what kind of credibility issues a guy with no professional baseball background would face in a major league clubhouse.

blumj
03-16-2008, 11:02 AM
Really what Papelbon is saying is those who didn't win the genetic lottery that would've made it possible for them to reach the 99.9th percentile of athletes in the world should just collect baseball cards, eat their dollar hot dogs, clap for him and, oh ya, shut up.

Sorry Jonathon. You're wrong.
It's pretty easy for him to say that to Hank Steinbrenner from afar, through the media, but I'll bet he'd never even imagine saying anything of the kind to any of his own bosses.

lollipopcurve
03-16-2008, 11:11 AM
Steinbrenner had insulted Papelbon -- called him a mouse or something. If Papelbon's own bosses had said that, they'd be damn sure to have one unhappy closer on their hands, and one tough sign come next contract time.

In other words, they wouldn't dare.

RANDY IN INDY
03-16-2008, 11:18 AM
It's pretty easy for him to say that to Hank Steinbrenner from afar, through the media, but I'll bet he'd never even imagine saying anything of the kind to any of his own bosses.

I don't know. Major League players who are blessed with an arm like Pappelbon can say a lot of things as long as they perform on the field. Let the performance slip in any way, and the story is different.


Papelbon's quote should make it abundantly clear what kind of credibility issues a guy with no professional baseball background would face in a major league clubhouse.

It wouldn't be pretty.


Really what Papelbon is saying is those who didn't win the genetic lottery that would've made it possible for them to reach the 99.9th percentile of athletes in the world should just collect baseball cards, eat their dollar hot dogs, clap for him and, oh ya, shut up.

Probably, but what else is the average Joe pencil pusher going to be able to do besides that? Sure, they can have an opinion, trash the players, managers and GM's, boycott the ballpark, manage their fantasy team, play strat-o-matic, and flex their muscles and try to look smart on a message board, but other than that, that's pretty much the plight. Nobody that matters really cares about their opinions.

WMR
03-16-2008, 11:21 AM
I would guess the "joe pencil pushers" who own the teams could have a pretty significant say on these matters.

jojo
03-16-2008, 11:27 AM
No, but playing professional baseball IS a prerequisite for understanding the people who play the game for a living.

No it's not. Paying your dues is paying your dues.

I think a father that has wore tattered house shoes to Payless to buy $5 school shoes for his children or who has missed meals with his children because he doesn't want them to realize there wasn't enough food for him to eat too might on some level understand Papelbon's struggles to make it through college on an athletic scholarship and his subsequent hardships associated with languishing in the minors for less than 3 seasons with only a college education and a quarter of a million dollar signing bonus to fall back upon... :cool:


Papelbon's quote should make it abundantly clear what kind of credibility issues a guy with no professional baseball background would face in a major league clubhouse.

I've already argued earlier that it's a club that doesn't just let anyone in.....

It's simply about the perception of shared experiences. It's not about intelligence, understanding of the game, talent, respect etc.

It boils down to acceptance. Which is a dramatically different issue.

Steve4192
03-16-2008, 11:42 AM
I think a father that has wore tattered house shoes to Payless to buy $5 school shoes for his children or who has missed meals with his children because he doesn't want them to realize there wasn't enough food for him to eat too might on some level understand Papelbon's struggles to make it through college on an athletic scholarship and his subsequent hardships associated with languishing in the minors for less than 3 seasons with only a college education and a quarter of a million dollar signing bonus to fall back upon... :cool:

I disagree.

That hypothetical father would understand Papelbon's life experience about as well as Papelbon would understand what it is like to be a hungry, destitute father trying to provide for his kids.

Having shared experiences goes a long way in being able to relate with someone. I serious doubt your hypothetical father could relate to a guy like Papelbon.

jojo
03-16-2008, 11:46 AM
I disagree.

That hypothetical father would understand Papelbon's life experience about as well as Papelbon would understand what it is like to be a hungry, destitute father trying to provide for his kids.

Having shared experiences goes a long way in being able to relate with someone. I serious doubt your hypothetical father could relate to a guy like Papelbon.

You don't have to have rode on the same bus to understand sacrificing for your profession. Couldn't that hypothetical father be a successful surgeon now?

Papelbon was given a free education to play division I baseball then given $80K/yr plus his salary to have access to the best coaching/training in the world in pursuit of his dream. Oh and he had to ride some busses.

He's a strange one to be evoking the "pay your dues" clause. Just saying....

blumj
03-16-2008, 12:19 PM
You don't have to have rode on the same bus to understand sacrificing for your profession. Couldn't that hypothetical father be a successful surgeon now?

Papelbon was given a free education to play division I baseball then given $80K/yr plus his salary to have access to the best coaching/training in the world in pursuit of his dream. Oh and he had to ride some busses.

He's a strange one to be evoking the "pay your dues" clause. Just saying....
Well, look at who he was invoking it at? That's the whole point. Some loudmouth owner of a rival team who has no real business to be talking about him at all. Not the people who pay his salary and very likely have always treated him with respect, since long before he was anyone. You earn respect by doing your job well and treating others with respect. Papelbon's own bosses apparently do that, so he doesn't seem to have any problem with their lack of playing experience.

SteelSD
03-16-2008, 01:04 PM
Sorry, I don't agree with your positions. Some of you guys have some second guessing opinions from the keyboard, that are very easy to make. Managers are going to be second guessed forever but the second guess is always quite easy and the not difficult comments from the keyboard are just as easy to make when you have never done the job, nor are likely to ever do it. It is very easy to look intelligent from that position. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Certainly, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Yet, as someone who's never managed at the MLB level, you're one of "you guys".

Again, baseball is a game. The rules don't change regardless of level. Lineup cards and in-game strategy don't have to be "second guessed" as long as one have a solid understanding of how the game works.

lollipopcurve
03-16-2008, 01:17 PM
Baseball is a culture. It is composed of human beings whose lives are defined by baseball. The game itself is an abstraction.

M2
03-16-2008, 03:55 PM
Certainly, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Yet, as someone who's never managed at the MLB level, you're one of "you guys".

Again, baseball is a game. The rules don't change regardless of level. Lineup cards and in-game strategy don't have to be "second guessed" as long as one have a solid understanding of how the game works.

Yes, but there's a huge difference between managing the game and managing the team.

SteelSD
03-16-2008, 05:22 PM
Yes, but there's a huge difference between managing the game and managing the team.

You do realize that I've never disagreed with that, right?

M2
03-16-2008, 05:30 PM
You do realize that I've never disagreed with that, right?

Everytime I think you do then you type something that makes me feel like that distinction needs to be made. ;o)

Let me ask you this, in what way would you think a complete outsider could manage a team? Forget about the game stuff for the moment. My take is over delegation would turn into abdication, that he'd be too much plant manager and not enough floor manager.

Raisor
03-16-2008, 05:38 PM
Let me ask you this, in what way would you think a complete outsider could manage a team? Forget about the game stuff for the moment. My take is over delegation would turn into abdication, that he'd be too much plant manager and not enough floor manager.

A strong plant manager (GM), imo, can cover for a "weak" floor manager (field).

Have the right GM and you can carry an outsider until he builds his own cred.

M2
03-16-2008, 06:29 PM
A strong plant manager (GM), imo, can cover for a "weak" floor manager (field).

Have the right GM and you can carry an outsider until he builds his own cred.

That's DOA. The GM isn't in the locker room and can't carry the field manager. It would take the players roughly 10 minutes to figure out the field manager is out of his depth.

FWIW, I think there is a way for a GM to "carry" a weak field manager, but it's not with personnel management, it's with game management. The Red Sox already have regular confabs about the lineup and how to use the roster. The field management is a critical part of the confabs and ultimately responsible for putting the plan in action, but the front office has major input into a lot of the game decisions.

IMO, that's the part of the field manager job that's changing -- the field manager doesn't have full autonomy on the tactical deployment of the team. What I don't expect to change is the need for a field manager with an intimate understanding of what makes ballplayers tick.

RANDY IN INDY
03-16-2008, 07:49 PM
Yet, as someone who's never managed at the MLB level, you're one of "you guys".

I've never suggested anything different but I am not one of the "you guys" that is second guessing every move and suggesting that any Joe can manage a Major League Baseball team and that the job really isn't that hard. Don't ever link me with that group of "you guys." I have a little respect for those who are doing the job and have paid their dues to get the opportunity and who, with all due respect, have a far greater knowledge of what it takes to do the job than all the "you guys" on baseball message boards that think they know it all and have never spent even an hour managing from a major league dugout. Personally, I think a lot of the comments are truly laughable. Again, just my opinion.

blumj
03-16-2008, 08:16 PM
Clearly, there's nothing wrong with how a lot of teams currently choose their managers or the pool of candidates from which they choose. Otherwise, there'd be a lot of turnover.

Falls City Beer
03-16-2008, 08:34 PM
So far I think Dusty's done a bunch of stuff right: Volquez and Cueto getting pimped, the Patterson acquisition (shared with Wayne obviously), what appears to be the squeezing out of Maj.

reds44
03-16-2008, 08:39 PM
So far I think Dusty's done a bunch of stuff right: Volquez and Cueto getting pimped, the Patterson acquisition (shared with Wayne obviously), what appears to be the squeezing out of Maj.
Freel looks like he is being shown the door as well.

edabbs44
03-16-2008, 08:46 PM
So far I think Dusty's done a bunch of stuff right: Volquez and Cueto getting pimped, the Patterson acquisition (shared with Wayne obviously), what appears to be the squeezing out of Maj.

What's your thoughts on Lofton/Patterson? Personally I'd rather have Lofton, but supposedly the sticking point was the fact that KL wanted a major league contract.

Cedric
03-16-2008, 09:00 PM
What's your thoughts on Lofton/Patterson? Personally I'd rather have Lofton, but supposedly the sticking point was the fact that KL wanted a major league contract.

Patterson is 28 and a much better fielder. Why in the world would a team like the Reds want Lofton? You talk everyday about how the Reds are stuck in mediocrity and can't compete for a title. Why would you want Lofton over Patterson then? Doesn't make that much sense to me.

edabbs44
03-16-2008, 09:07 PM
Patterson is 28 and a much better fielder. Why in the world would a team like the Reds want Lofton? You talk everyday about how the Reds are stuck in mediocrity and can't compete for a title. Why would you want Lofton over Patterson then? Doesn't make that much sense to me.

Patterson has no long-term future with this franchise. So if it is for one year only and Cincy needs a leadoff guy, I think Lofton makes more sense.

Cedric
03-16-2008, 09:12 PM
Patterson has no long-term future with this franchise. So if it is for one year only and Cincy needs a leadoff guy, I think Lofton makes more sense.

Krivsky values defense up the middle way over OPS/OBP. He also probably sees Patterson as someone that can be valuable in the future. With Dunn and Griffey in their situation, how could you be assured that Patterson has no future here? I could easily see a player with his athletic skills finally figuring it out here in Cincy. A ballpark like GABP can do wonders for a players career and certainly for a LH bat like Patterson. Look what happened to Jose Guillen when he got here.

That alone makes him a better option than Lofton, IMO. Give me defense and potential and I'm all for it. I still remember what Mike Cameron did in 99 a year after posting a .621 ops in Chicago. Granted that was Riverfront, but I'm dreaming Patterson figures it out.

RedsManRick
03-16-2008, 09:22 PM
Patterson has no long-term future with this franchise. So if it is for one year only and Cincy needs a leadoff guy, I think Lofton makes more sense.

Lofton is barely a CF anymore. If you want offense, just bring Bruce north. If you want defense, stick with Patterson. Corey's here for 1 year -- just like Lofton would be. But is more like to stay healthy...

MWM
03-16-2008, 09:22 PM
Steel does bring a good point I was thinking about relating to this discussion. Seems like some people who are rejecting the idea others are making because "you have to played" to understand "all the complexities" that go into the game, managing the clubhouse, etc... Yet these very people haven't played or managed in the big leagues any more than those they're arguing with. So if they can't know what it takes, neither can the other side of the coin. You're making assumptions about the complexity of managing too, you're just making different ones. That's not to say I think just anyone can manage (I don't), but it does seem relevant to this discussion that both sides of the debate are making assumptions that they know what it takes to manage.

edabbs44
03-16-2008, 09:39 PM
Lofton is barely a CF anymore. If you want offense, just bring Bruce north. If you want defense, stick with Patterson. Corey's here for 1 year -- just like Lofton would be. But is more like to stay healthy...

I am saying this b/c I have the feeling that it was decided a while ago that JB would be starting in AAA.

So if the sticking point, IIRC, was solely because Lofton wanted a major league contract, then why not give it to him? The rumors (and, I know, they are only rumors) were that they used Patterson as a backup plan.

SteelSD
03-16-2008, 11:11 PM
Everytime I think you do then you type something that makes me feel like that distinction needs to be made. ;o)

Well, how about we assume agreement as to that distinction then for all times. :)


Let me ask you this, in what way would you think a complete outsider could manage a team? Forget about the game stuff for the moment. My take is over delegation would turn into abdication, that he'd be too much plant manager and not enough floor manager.

To help answer that question we need to remember that professional baseball, like society, is in a constant top-down evolutionary state. As I noted in a much earlier post, we see evidence of that all over the place. Teams implement complex systemic changes moving toward objective evaluation. A woman interviews for a GM position. A message board poster is hired as a consultant. Bill James has two World Series rings. We're starting to see indications that the "data age" is infiltrating the Management ranks. Terry Francona, armed with a poor resume but an open mind, guides the Red Sox to two titles. Manny Acta is hired. Trey Hillman openly states, "OBP is a no-brainer..."

OBP is a no-brainer. Gawd, I love that. But I digress...

The professional baseball culture is currently being infiltrated by ideas and people who were (or would have been) barred from baseball's country club 10 or 20 years ago. Sometimes I think we forget how MLB lags behind the rest of society when it comes to progressive change. But the floodgates are opening wider at this point after decades of nothing but seepage. I simply feel that, at some point, a progressive GM with little to lose may just get tired of traditional alternatives and find someone that's exceptionally non-traditional.

While you cite a lack of experience within the game as being a potential issue for a Manager's ability to communicate with his players, I'm not so sure that isn't more a player expectation issue than it is a positional requirement. Might players have the expectation that their Managers should have prior professional baseball experience on or near the field? Maybe. Yet, it doesn't appear that those players necessarily care about quality of a new Manager's playing or coaching history. Instead, they seem to respect the position and follow direction even before really knowing the man.

And keep in mind that I'm only assuming that MLB players have the expectation of seeing a former professional Player/Coach/Manager hired. I have no way of knowing. None of us do. It could be that those players will follow anyone who does smart things and treats them well.

That being said, would it be easier for a solid manager who's also a former player to relate to his players than a non-player with the same communication and leadership skill sets? Yeah. I'll concede that point every time. But might the former also torpedo his credibility should he turn out to be a total dud on the strategy side? I think so.

I won't concede that it would be impossible for someone with no professional baseball experience to communicate with his players. And if that non-player was a better communicator, and better leader than other former player options, I don't see how that individual would be at some major disadvantage solely due to a lack of professional baseball experience.

A good boss is a good boss and one of those can quickly build credibility and loyalty even in an industry in which he hasn't worked and he doesn't have to be the primary subject matter expert in any discipline in order to do so.

M2
03-16-2008, 11:29 PM
While you cite a lack of experience within the game as being a potential issue for a Manager's ability to communicate with his players, I'm not so sure that isn't more a player expectation issue than it is a positional requirement.

That's not just baseball players. If you've got a job with a very specific skill set and some peculiar pressures, you need a manager who understands those things. Again, I've seen this firsthand in more than one industry. The manager too often has nothing to communicate to the employees, other than "go do your job."


A good boss is a good boss and one of those can quickly build credibility and loyalty even in an industry in which he hasn't worked and he doesn't have to be the primary subject matter expert in any discipline in order to do so.

Sometimes yes, but often no. In baseball, the person you're describing is front office material, not dugout material. That person might be part of a daily pow-wow with the dugout management about strategy and tactics. That's top-down, no longer allowing the field manager autonomy on those matters.

SteelSD
03-16-2008, 11:37 PM
I've never suggested anything different but I am not one of the "you guys" that is second guessing every move and suggesting that any Joe can manage a Major League Baseball team and that the job really isn't that hard. Don't ever link me with that group of "you guys." I have a little respect for those who are doing the job and have paid their dues to get the opportunity and who, with all due respect, have a far greater knowledge of what it takes to do the job than all the "you guys" on baseball message boards that think they know it all and have never spent even an hour managing from a major league dugout. Personally, I think a lot of the comments are truly laughable. Again, just my opinion.

You haven't spent a minute, much less an hour, managing from a MLB dugout so whether or not anyone else has is immaterial.

You're one of "you guys" whether you like it or not. We all are. None of us have managed a minute of MLB baseball so why should your opinion about possible job difficulty be any more valid than one you consider to be "laughable"?

No one's said anything about the job being easy. No one's positioned that "any Joe" could do it. I think this discussion has evolved well beyond that point so I'm not sure why we'd have to revisit it.

Pretty decent mini-rant though.:thumbup:

SteelSD
03-16-2008, 11:58 PM
That's not just baseball players. If you've got a job with a very specific skill set and some peculiar pressures, you need a manager who understands those things. Again, I've seen this firsthand in more than one industry. The manager too often has nothing to communicate to the employees, other than "go do your job."

I've had experiences that were exactly the reverse. So here we are in a discussion about management philosophy. It's not a bad place to be, but it's going to lead to a major tangent soon.


Sometimes yes, but often no. In baseball, the person you're describing is front office material, not dugout material. That person might be part of a daily pow-wow with the dugout management about strategy and tactics. That's top-down, no longer allowing the field manager autonomy on those matters.

While I think that person could also be successful in the front office, I don't see why such a generalist couldn't be successful managing a MLB team. In fact, I consider pretty much every MLB Manager to be a learned generalist. These guys aren't hired due to the fact that they likely know more about any discipline than the specialist coaches they employ. Yet they're still allowed a degree of autonomy (how much we'll never know).

RANDY IN INDY
03-17-2008, 07:26 AM
You haven't spent a minute, much less an hour, managing from a MLB dugout so whether or not anyone else has is immaterial.

You're one of "you guys" whether you like it or not. We all are. None of us have managed a minute of MLB baseball so why should your opinion about possible job difficulty be any more valid than one you consider to be "laughable"?

No one's said anything about the job being easy. No one's positioned that "any Joe" could do it. I think this discussion has evolved well beyond that point so I'm not sure why we'd have to revisit it.

Pretty decent mini-rant though.:thumbup:

Thanks;):thumbup:

Again, as my post suggested, I have never said anything to say that I'm not just a poster on a message board, but I definitely wear a different jersey than "you guys.", and by the way, there have been plenty of comments about the job not being that difficult and that people not involved in baseball could do it and do it well. There is no disputing that.

jojo
03-17-2008, 08:21 AM
Patterson has no long-term future with this franchise. So if it is for one year only and Cincy needs a leadoff guy, I think Lofton makes more sense.

I could envision a scenario where Patterson plays centerfield for the Reds the next 2-3 seasons. I can't see a similar situation with Lofton.

edabbs44
03-17-2008, 08:35 AM
I could envision a scenario where Patterson plays centerfield for the Reds the next 2-3 seasons. I can't see a similar situation with Lofton.

Do you envision the Reds winning anything under that same scenario? Just curious.

jojo
03-17-2008, 09:06 AM
Do you envision the Reds winning anything under that same scenario? Just curious.

Sure (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1566516&postcount=69).

If Patterson can eek out .273/.336/.426 (league average CF bat in the NL during '07) combined with his glove (maybe +5), he'd be an above average center fielder for the Reds.

Obviously Patterson doesn't have the upside of Bruce and JB would be my CFer in '08 for that very reason but it's possible Jr could go down in May and we see Bruce in right for most of the season.

If Dusty bats Patterson lead off, that's on Dusty, not Patterson.

gonelong
03-17-2008, 10:01 AM
Thanks;):thumbup:

Again, as my post suggested, I have never said anything to say that I'm not just a poster on a message board, but I definitely wear a different jersey than "you guys.", and by the way, there have been plenty of comments about the job not being that difficult and that people not involved in baseball could do it and do it well. There is no disputing that.

I find it hard to believe that there isn't a single person on the planet (that hasn't played, managed, or scouted baseball beyond high school) that couldn't become a successful MLB manager.

I think any such person would need to overcome the initial doubt and possible outright hostility from the players, but I think it could be done. (Not to be confused with the chances that anyone will ever get the opportunity, because I don't see it happening in the next 15-20 years or so. )

GL

westofyou
03-17-2008, 10:03 AM
I find it hard to believe that there isn't a single person on the planet (that hasn't played, managed, or scouted baseball beyond high school) that couldn't become a successful MLB manager.

I think any such person would need to overcome the initial doubt and possible outright hostility from the players, but I think it could be done. (Not to be confused with the chances that anyone will ever get the opportunity, because I don't see it happening in the next 15-20 years or so. )

GL


Over the weekend I beat Pedro in a game of Risk and Battleship... I now can run an army and a navy.

edabbs44
03-17-2008, 10:08 AM
Sure (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1566516&postcount=69).

If Patterson can eek out .273/.336/.426 (league average CF bat in the NL during '07) combined with his glove (maybe +5), he'd be an above average center fielder for the Reds.

Obviously Patterson doesn't have the upside of Bruce and JB would be my CFer in '08 for that very reason but it's possible Jr could go down in May and we see Bruce in right for most of the season.

If Dusty bats Patterson lead off, that's on Dusty, not Patterson.

Those are some mighty big "ifs".

gonelong
03-17-2008, 10:17 AM
Over the weekend I beat Pedro in a game of Risk and Battleship... I now can run an army and a navy.

You obviously haven't really read any of my posts on the matter.

Snark ... it's why I come to Redszone these days.

GL

Raisor
03-17-2008, 10:22 AM
Sure (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1566516&postcount=69).

If Patterson can eek out .273/.336/.426 (league average CF bat in the NL during '07)

Number of times Patterson has had an OBP of .336+ in his career:
zero.

RANDY IN INDY
03-17-2008, 10:24 AM
Over the weekend I beat Pedro in a game of Risk and Battleship... I now can run an army and a navy.

:laugh: Sorry, but that was good.

Raisor
03-17-2008, 10:25 AM
Snark ... it's why I come to Redszone these days.

GL

That puts alot of pressure on me.

westofyou
03-17-2008, 10:28 AM
You obviously haven't really read any of my posts on the matter.

Snark ... it's why I come to Redszone these days.

GL

That was a general statement, not directed at you.. and I HAVE read your posts on the matter and I side with you on it pretty much.:thumbup:

jojo
03-17-2008, 10:39 AM
Those are some mighty big "ifs".

Not really.

jojo
03-17-2008, 10:43 AM
Number of times Patterson has had an OBP of .336+ in his career:
zero.

Any combination of OPS would be fine. Hes put up offensive lines that when combined with his glove make him league average or better in center field during three of the last 5 seasons. I'm not guaranteeing anything but merely suggesting its easy to see where Patterson could be a plus.

If Dusty wants him to lead off, well thats on Dusty.

Ltlabner
03-17-2008, 11:14 AM
I think any such person would need to overcome the initial doubt and possible outright hostility from the players, but I think it could be done.

That's pretty much where I come down on the matter. However, IMO it would take a pretty slick manager to overcome that inital doubt/hostitly quickly and to get down to the business of winning baseball games.

Speaking from personal experience, if they suddenly made the accounting manager the sales manager, I know they would face a mountain of doubt and suspicion. Espcially if they come in wanting to turn the world upside down. Now, those changes might be the exact right changes to make, but that doesn't mean the sales guys will embrace them and give them a chance. Why on earth would you make impleneting any of those changes any harder by having a guy with zero implied authority try to implement them?

They can overcome the doubt, but it would take a whole bunch of work and a pretty dang skilled manager to get the players to get on board. Those resources (and the corresponding energry)would be better employed in the front office. Restocking the FO strikes me as much easier than trying to sell the idea of an MLB manager with zero professional eperience.

gonelong
03-17-2008, 12:34 PM
That was a general statement, not directed at you.. and I HAVE read your posts on the matter and I side with you on it pretty much.:thumbup:

It seems odd that you would quote my post, and only my post, and then make a general statement that is not directed to me? I am not sure how I could intrepret the comment any other way. :confused:

We cool. :cool:

I wistfully long for the time when I had complete day(s) to "waste" playing a full game of Risk. <sigh>

GL

Falls City Beer
03-17-2008, 01:55 PM
If I had to wager, I'd say both Cueto and Volquez would both be in minor league camp by now if Mackanin, Miley, or Boone were at the helm.

Dusty has enough weight to throw around to get guys he wants into the MLB. Whereas in the past, my guess is that the GM would mull it over with the heads of the minors and decide more time was needed regardless of the young players' performance/options status. Dusty's able to cut through that muck and get the best players on his 25 man. I know everyone will retort: "Yeah, but what about Bruce?" And I've gone over that: 1. he doesn't look ready 2. he's not a centerfielder and 3. Griffey's still here.

This team will likely take up north the best, most optimized, highest-ceilinged team in a very long time. And in no small part because of Dusty.

jojo
03-17-2008, 02:07 PM
If I had to wager, I'd say both Cueto and Volquez would both be in minor league camp by now if Mackanin, Miley, or Boone were at the helm.

Dusty has enough weight to throw around to get guys he wants into the MLB. Whereas in the past, my guess is that the GM would mull it over with the heads of the minors and decide more time was needed regardless of the young players' performance/options status. Dusty's able to cut through that muck and get the best players on his 25 man. I know everyone will retort: "Yeah, but what about Bruce?" And I've gone over that: 1. he doesn't look ready 2. he's not a centerfielder and 3. Griffey's still here.

This team will likely take up north the best, most optimized, highest-ceilinged team in a very long time. And in no small part because of Dusty.

I think it's very possible that this team breaks north minus two of it's best hitters.

M2
03-17-2008, 02:08 PM
This team will likely take up north the best, most optimized, highest-ceilinged team in a very long time. And in no small part because of Dusty.

I don't know about that. Baker looks like he might maximize in the rotation, but the bench and bullpen loom as areas where he might be lacking in ceiling vision.

Obviously we won't know for sure until the team breaks camp, but it would be a shame to see the club get its rotation in order only to miss out on having that pay off because other areas weren't addressed with similar urgency.

Falls City Beer
03-17-2008, 03:27 PM
I think it's very possible that this team breaks north minus two of it's best hitters.

Who?

Votto likely will be up. And Bruce has no place to play.

And as far as the bench: that's mostly a FO issue.

jojo
03-17-2008, 03:28 PM
Who?

Votto likely will be up. And Bruce has no place to play.

And as far as the bench: that's mostly a FO issue.

Bruce and Votto.

Falls City Beer
03-17-2008, 03:31 PM
Bruce and Votto.

I'm pretty much banking on Votto being up. I think most Reds' fans can, too.

Castro's the only WTF in the whole thing; but you have to remember, Wayne Krivsky thought it was a good idea to pay him $2 million for two seasons. And well, you can't expect Dusty not to have at least one bench vet.