Thursday, May 26, 2005

Frank, Part Deux

I've was thinking about this on my drive in today...you know, not to get too philosophical, but while baseball is a game of complexities and nuances, it is not a complicated game. Once the lineup is set and the pep-talks have been given and the various coaches have done what they need to do, the game starts...and the manager who knows the nuances of the game really isn't called upon to make as many hard decisions as you would think. My thought is that the manager has to make about one or two "guesses" in an average game--where basically things could go either way and reasonable minds could argue about the course of action.
The rest of the managerial decisions are strategy of course, but they are a fairly obvious course of action on which reasonable minds usually couldn't differ. Usually, these include: when to bring in a new pitcher, when and whom to pinch hit, when to use a double switch, when to bring the infield in vs. play back, when to bunt, etc. And yes, maybe throw in a couple of little surprises to make things interesting.

My main problem with Frank Robinson is that he far too frequently chooses wrongly on those things upon which reasonable minds should not differ. And that is going to cost a team a few games a season (maybe 5 give or take--I am not citing a stat here, just guessing. Add up 5 games a season and you get pretty close to Frank's woeful career managerial record). It's hard to say he lost us a game in which we were blown out, but with a couple of your better players on the bench and a chance to get back in the game yesterday, I just can't see how you leave a reliever (who has 1 career hit and had already struck out in his at bat that game) in for a bases loaded situation.
(Whenever I try to think "oh he's a professional manager with experience," I always use the NFL analogy--how many times have you screamed at the TV as a coach chooses wrongly on whether to go for the 2 point play after a TD wrongly--it's basic math and strategy for goodness sake--get it right! or the NBA analogy of down by 2 and the other team has the ball with 27 seconds left--foul! take a freaking foul! Makes my veins pop out as they go for "the stop" instead and watch the clock run out or end up having to foul anyway with under 5 seconds left).

And unfortunately, I think Frank is with us for a good while longer. First off, MLB will never fire him. He has meant too much to them is a company guy, and has all that history both playing and managing behind him. Plus, whatever his contract is, MLB has no desire to suck up any part of a contract (which is why Guzman is also with us until at least we get new owners).
Second, even when we get new owners, will they be able to pull the trigger on Frank early on? I doubt it. A) They won't want to be seen as the new Dan Snyders. B) Enough fans still view Frank as an icon; C) Even if the team has won some of its games "in spite of" Frank, they won't want to face the cries of "this team was supposed to lose 90+ games. They're at .500 and you want to fire the guy?!?" So, we can complain all we want, but I think we are stuck.

Oh, last point off-topic. Can we post some freakin' leads? We have yet to lose a game that we had a three run lead, and very few in which we had a two run lead. The problem is that we can't seem to score in the first half of a game--do these guys need a curfew? Caffeine water? Something else?

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