Re: Francona owes me big time...
posted at 9/29/2013 10:42 AM EDT
In response to maxbialystock's comment:
All due respect, but MLB especially is not conducive to chemistry. Yes, it happens, but the Oakland Athletics of decades ago showed a team could fight internally and still win the WS--2 or 3 years in a row. I might agree with you on Scioscia, but not on Maddon. His guys love playing for him, which is hard to do given the small crowds and their absolute horror of a ballpark. As for the intellectual side, every manager is constantly juggling lineups, when to bring in a reliever and who, when to pinch hit, whether to call for a double steal, etc, etc.
On one point I will agree. Francona's contract was not renewed after 2011 precisely because he had lost the clubhouse. He is, as you say, a good player's manager. But every manager needs the players too. Terry won it all in 2004 with a fantastic lineup anchored by Ortiz and Manny and some pretty good pitchers like the bloody sock guy. But he also said exactly the right thing after losing the first three to the NYY--we don't have to win four games, we just have to win the next game--and they did. Terry won the WS again in 2007 again because of a very good lineup--by then he had become an expert in allowing "manny being manny"--and a very good pitching staff.
Farrell has definitely been good for team chemistry this year, but he has also made some good moves, and he has had pretty good players. Four of the top 15 WAR's in the AL belong to Pedroia, Victorino, Ellsbury, and Ortiz, who, guess what, usually bat 1, 2, 3, and 4. Plus this year the rotation really came around. So I give Farrell a lot of credit, but also Ben C and the players.
Fair points - I don't really disagree with most of what you said.
Let me clarify a few things. First, I didn't mean to imply that Maddon was not a good clubhouse guy. I agree that his players really seem to like playing for him. The issue I have with him and Scioscia is that they micromanage during the game, IMO. I think that they go too far in trying to show the baseball world what geniuses they are. Just my opinion, of course.
Secondly, when saying that I think managing the clubhouse is more important than in game managing, I am not saying that in game decisions aren't important. Nor am I saying that there aren't exceptions to this. However, I believe that a manager who has the trust and confidence of his players is going to get a lot more out of them than one who doesn't. Also, the ability to make the right in game decisions stems largely from knowing your players.
Lastly, I know that the talent has to be their as well. The players get and deserve most of the credit for their production on the field. But as I said above, a good manager is going to be able to get the most out of that talent on the field by instilling trust and confidence in his players and by knowing his players well enough to put them in the positions where they have the best chance of succeeding.
We all like to think that the players are professional enough not to let things bother them, but I think in any work force, not just sports, the employees and players are going to produce better if they know their boss has their backs.