I've been around this board for a long time. Over that span, I doubt anyone would characterize me as a "homer" or an "apologist." But I am totally baffled at the level of utter disdain for Jerry Narron. Actually, I'm disgusted by it.
I don't see things only in black and white. Just because we're leading the wild card doesn't mean the manager "must" be doing a good job. I understand sample sizes, coincidence, chance, etc....
But I've seen enough of Narron to realize one fairly important thing:
The Reds have been a whole lot better since he's been on board.
If it is simply because the roster has improved, then a manager is obsolete anyway-- if a manager is only as good as his roster, then the debate should end, and we should just save money and hire a monkey to manage the team.
I am not a huge fan of Narron's line-up construction and I wished he'd give EE some more playing time. Narron is a bit "old school" for me, but does seem to be pretty good at one thing that always gets overlooked at Redszone:
HE'S A GOOD LEADER
Yes, I understand things like leadership and clubhouse harmony are considered "hocus pocus" by many, but it appears to me that Narron has done an excellent job of keeping a team together that has traditionally crashed and burned by mid season for the past several years.
I really like the way Narron has handled the bullpen since "the trade"-- he has done a great job of re-inventing Coffey and putting him in place to succeed when his confidence had to be way down.
And there have been several times this year when I thought the Reds were absolute toast. Done. I had NO faith. Yet, the team has clawed back each time and suddenly, we're not only leading the WC, but slowly creating breathing room.
The mediocrity (or worse) of the NL certainly helps, however, this is simply a team with a different "feel" or culture since Narron has been on the bench.
I think Narron does and excellent job of handling the 25 guys on the roster all at once. And you know what? For as much as he gets ripped for playing RA so often and at clean-up, the guy has been pretty darn productive for us-- and he's come through in some big spots. As fans, we can be concerned with the longterm, but Narron's job is to win NOW. I wouldn't write-up the same line-ups he does on a daily basis, but I really don't have a problem with them either.
It's almost August and I'm pumped about Reds baseball. I think I'll hold off on my complaints for now.