There are few firmly held beliefs in each sport that drive me bonkers. In almost every sport there is some theory/belief that pretty much every coach/gm/organization follows that makes no sense to me at all.
In football, there are a few. Namely, always punting on 4th down when you are in your own territory. Even if a team needs three inches and are on their own 35 yard line, I'd say close to 99% of coaches punt in that situation. Despite the fact that a QB sneak probably has a 95% chance or better of converting inches every time. It's one of those things that coaches just do regardless of logic, reason, and evidence. There are other, but that one probably frustrates me the most.
In basketball, when the game is tied and there is less than 24 (or 35 in college) seconds on the shot clock, the priority for all coaches seems to be 1)to take the last shot and 2) get a good shot. I think those priorities should be reversed. When a team is trailing in that situation, they usually attack or run a more set play, and wind up with a better look. When tied, they almost always clear out and heave a shot right at the buzzer to ensure the other team doesn't get a crack at it. Drives me nuts. All coaches on all levels do it.
And in baseball, nothing makes me pull my hair out more than the ridiculous way that managers treat their closers.
First of all, yes, I do think there are a few historical exceptions. I would give Mariano Rivera the ball in the 9th inning every time and close my book for the day....let him do his thing and whatever happens, happens. There are certainly a few others closers who have garnered that trust/respect as well.
But there is this notion out there that every team MUST have a designated closer and that that closer MUST pitch in all "close" situations until he either secures the save or blows the save. It's asinine.
For example, last night, despite the fact that Cordero clearly was struggling from his first pitch and hasn't been pitching very well lately overall, and despite the fact that Chapman has been lights out since his return, it was like Dusty just threw his hands up and said "nothing I can do, can't take out the closer...."
It's not even really a criticism of Dusty because all managers do it. It is all so arbitrary. Most managers won't insert their closer when it's a four run lead or a tie game, but will insert him with a 1, 2, or 3 run lead because it has been arbitrairily decided that is a "close" situation.
It's amazing really....let's say you have a one run lead, a righthanded closer who has allowed two base runners and has gotten two outs. Then let's say he is about to face a lefthanded hitter who kills righties and has gotten to the closer before. Then let's say you have a lefthanded reliever in the pen who excels at retiring lefties.
In almost ANY other bullpen situation, the righty would come out, and the lefty would come in...but not if it's the closer....because, well, that's the way it is.
Closers live a charmed life...overvalued and overpaid. Overall, people will look at Cordero's saves in his time with the Reds and surmise that he was a good addition. But my contention is that you could have taken any decent bullpen arm and there is a good chance they would have saved games at a similar rate based on sheer law of averages. Holding a two or three run lead when all you need is three outs really favors the pitchers statistically. The odds are stacked for closers to rack up big save numbers.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that if we have a two run lead tonight, two outs, bases loaded, and Prince Fielder in the box....Cordero would stay in the game, even if Bray and Champman were available. Lunacy. It truly makes me want to smash my TV on several occasions throughout the summer.