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Thread: Weaver on Strategy

  1. #1
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    Weaver on Strategy

    Here's a topic for the slow news All Star break days.

    I recently finished Weaver on Strategy, which I picked up at a discount bookstore earlier in the year. It's a quick read, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    Weaver is famous for his ideas on how to build an offense, and they are all contained here--play for the three-run homer, play for one run only when it will win you the game, and the importance of base on balls, among others. The tactics of Weaverball are covered exceedingly well elsewhere. What I found interesting are other elements of the book.

    Curiously enough, he begins a book on strategy with a discussion on. . . Spring Training???

    Let's face it--spring training is pretty boring. But that doesn't mean it isn't important.
    Weaver's approach here reminds me of the documentary I recently saw on John Wooden and how he began the first practice of each season explaining to his players (in detail) exactly how to tie shoe laces. I suppose there is brilliance in this simplicity. As well as starting with the basics.

    He made decisions on who to start based on batter vs. pitcher matchups.

    I moved players up and down in the batting order according to how my stats show they have fared against certain pitchers.
    Weaver put a lot of weight into batter vs. pitcher matchups, and he was confident making these decisions with fewer than 10 ABs guiding him. That approach strikes me as an overreliance on small samples of data, but I suppose the results (.583 career win %) certainly speak for themselves. In general, I get the sense that Weaver was far ahead of his peers in understanding and interpreting statistical data.

    How to Tell if a Pitcher is Losing His Edge:

    1.) Pay attention to foul balls. When a pitcher gets in a good groove, the hitters will usually foul his deliveries straight back. . . But if the hitters start making solid contact and belting hte ball down the lines, watch out. . .
    Is this characteristic still relevant, given the implications of DIPS and balls in play? I think it probably is.

    One forgotten theme of the Weaver years was that his defenses were awesome. Those O's clubs had some of the all-time great defenders (Belanger, Brooks Robinson). His players won 30 Gold Gloves in his 17 years managing. Wow. I suppose it is easy to build a great pitching staff when you have several Gold Glovers.

    With that in mind, how many of these current Reds would be put on the field for Weaver while playing their current positions? I think Griffey and Phillips, and that's probably the list. Dunn would certainly be DHing. Hamilton might be in a corner OF position, but most certainly not CF.

    I thought these quotes on defense were interesting:

    Weaver's Ninth Law: The key step for an infielder is the first one--to the left or right, but before the ball is hit.
    The main function of the second baseman and shortstop is turning the double play.
    Regarding coaches, this one made me laugh:

    The first thing a manager looks for in a coach is a man who is not afraid of physical work. One of a coach's man jobs is to throw batting practice.
    By the way, Earl Weaver was thrown out of 99 games, including a World Series (!) game. What a character. Umpires Lucianio, Springstead, and Haller threw him out of seven, seven, and six games, respectfully.

    Weaver's Tenth Law: The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won't hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game.
    At the end of the book he provides a sample of records of every Oriole AB and every Oriole pitch. It's a quite extensive collection, one that was well advanced for his time.

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  3. #2
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Man View Post
    Here's a topic for the slow news All Star break days.

    I recently finished Weaver on Strategy, which I picked up at a discount bookstore earlier in the year. It's a quick read, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

    Weaver is famous for his ideas on how to build an offense, and they are all contained here--play for the three-run homer, play for one run only when it will win you the game, and the importance of base on balls, among others. The tactics of Weaverball are covered exceedingly well elsewhere. What I found interesting are other elements of the book.

    Curiously enough, he begins a book on strategy with a discussion on. . . Spring Training???



    Weaver's approach here reminds me of the documentary I recently saw on John Wooden and how he began the first practice of each season explaining to his players (in detail) exactly how to tie shoe laces. I suppose there is brilliance in this simplicity. As well as starting with the basics.

    He made decisions on who to start based on batter vs. pitcher matchups.



    Weaver put a lot of weight into batter vs. pitcher matchups, and he was confident making these decisions with fewer than 10 ABs guiding him. That approach strikes me as an overreliance on small samples of data, but I suppose the results (.583 career win %) certainly speak for themselves. In general, I get the sense that Weaver was far ahead of his peers in understanding and interpreting statistical data.



    Is this characteristic still relevant, given the implications of DIPS and balls in play? I think it probably is.

    One forgotten theme of the Weaver years was that his defenses were awesome. Those O's clubs had some of the all-time great defenders (Belanger, Brooks Robinson). His players won 30 Gold Gloves in his 17 years managing. Wow. I suppose it is easy to build a great pitching staff when you have several Gold Glovers.

    With that in mind, how many of these current Reds would be put on the field for Weaver while playing their current positions? I think Griffey and Phillips, and that's probably the list. Dunn would certainly be DHing. Hamilton might be in a corner OF position, but most certainly not CF.

    I thought these quotes on defense were interesting:





    Regarding coaches, this one made me laugh:



    By the way, Earl Weaver was thrown out of 99 games, including a World Series (!) game. What a character. Umpires Lucianio, Springstead, and Haller threw him out of seven, seven, and six games, respectfully.



    At the end of the book he provides a sample of records of every Oriole AB and every Oriole pitch. It's a quite extensive collection, one that was well advanced for his time.
    Sounds interesting, does he tell stories? I love those stories more than anything.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

    --Woody Hayes

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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    Sounds interesting, does he tell stories? I love those stories more than anything.
    Yep, it's full of Weaver's color commentary, mostly on the 1970s Orioles players. Although, the stories are generally shorter snippets relating to this or that player, rather than longer stories.

    If Weaver had ever wanted to extend his career in the broadcast booth, I can only imagine that he would have been a riot.

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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Does he give any gardening tips?
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by dabvu2498 View Post
    Does he give any gardening tips?
    In all good conscience of this being a family site, I can't post the link to this mp3. But if you got to Earl Weaver in wikipedia and look at the end at external links, it is hilarious. Most definitely not for anyone offended by language. I laughed my butt off.

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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    In all good conscience of this being a family site, I can't post the link to this mp3. But if you got to Earl Weaver in wikipedia and look at the end at external links, it is hilarious. Most definitely not for anyone offended by language. I laughed my butt off.
    Perhaps the funniest thing I've ever heard.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

  8. #7
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Earl Weaver is my hero. Here are some things I just learned about him:

    During one of his tirades with an umpire, he headed to the dugout screaming, "I'm going to check the rule-book on that!" to which the umpire replied, "Here, use mine." Weaver shot back, "That's no good--I can't read Braille."

    Weaver also exploited a loophole in the Designated Hitter rule by listing a starting pitcher as a DH so as not to lose a hitter should the opposing pitcher be ineffective or get injured before it was the DH's turn in the batting order. A rule was created to stop the use of this tactic, allegedly (by Weaver) because it was distorting pinch-hitting statistics.

    Weaver once said, "If you think you're going to hit into a double play, do the right thing and strike out."

    (For the record, if you listened to the mp3, Terry Crowley wasn't released by the Reds--he was traded.)

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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Wow.

    He used profanities as punctuation just like me.

    Brilliant minds swear alike.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

  10. #9
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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by dabvu2498 View Post
    Perhaps the funniest thing I've ever heard.
    It's right up there with the Lee Elia tirade. Just put that into Google and you can hear the whole thing on utube. Again, much profanity.

    But hilarious.

    I love Earl Weaver. He didn't have much use for pitch counts, as I recall (but that's NOT why I love him).

  11. #10
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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    I say hire him.
    0 Value Over Replacement Poster


    "Sit over here next to Johnathan (Bench)...sit right here, he's smart."--Sparky Anderson

  12. #11
    Go Reds Go! UKFlounder's Avatar
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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by BoydsOfSummer View Post
    I say hire him.
    Age-wise, he might fit our profile for a relief pitcher.

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    Re: Weaver on Strategy

    Everyone who thinks the game is all about a set lineup and doing the same thing everyday on the field should pick up Earl's book, you'll learn a lot and find out that doing the things "the right way" isn't just a mantra spoken in Cincinnati.


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