GIANTS BACK INTO WORLD SERIES – Managers Made Big Difference
Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane has said that the manager of a team does not make a difference in winning and losing.
– NOTE: Beane most recently picked Bob Geren as manager over his own Ron Washington.
– NOTE: Geren has not had a winning year in his three seasons, despite having the best pitching staff in the American League.
– NOTE: The Texas Rangers are in the World Series with Ron Washington, in only his second year as manager
– NOTE: The San Francisco Giants have just backed into the World Series with a team, arguably no better or little better than the Oakland A’s.
– NOTE: Giants manager Bruce Bochy has become one of the best managers, doing his homework to get the most out of the Giant’s talent, or lack of talent, plus knowing his competition.
– NOTE: Phillies Charlie Manuel has rested on his laurels and watched his National League leading, more talented team of the past two seasons spiral down, showing no innovative maneuvering or knowing his competition well. The more talented Phillies committed many more errors, made more mental mistakes than the Giants. Even after knocking out Sanchez in the second inning of the last NLCS game, they couldn’t put the Giants away.
This managerial dichotomy alone made enough difference in winning and losing the NL title. (Of course, the Phillies trading away Cliff Lee earlier in the year was pretty bonehead, too.)
SF GIANTS : ‘WIN AT ANY COST’
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area but let’s tell it like it is…In recent years, the Giants management has tried to win at any cost, especially now. Baer and Company are the greatest at making excuses when they’re not winning. As even the most ardent Giants fans will admit, they have made some of the worst trades and signings in baseball history (think Zeto, Rowand, Rentaria most recently).
The Giants haven’t won a World Series since 1954 and may be a little embarrassed, but instead of showing some humility like the Chicago Cubs people, they only show cockiness. When Barry Bonds, in all his roided-out ‘brilliance’, kept the turnstyles rolling, management was right there to defend him while the rest of the country looked at them as laughing stock.
HOW GIANTS BACKED INTO SERIES
This year, GM Sabean has taken his ‘rare window of opportunity’ philosophy to the extreme, bringing in cast-offs one after the other. If you do it enough times one will stick and Burl and Ross HAVE made some contributions – afterall, they were better than what was there, and with the pitching staff they have they can get by with mediocrity . (But they are not young, and don’t be surprised to see them gone next year.) Other than Buster Posey and Bumgartner, the Giants have virtually ignored their farm system, bringing in veteran player after player, only to throw them under the bus.
Perhaps Padres’ Mat Latos and one or two of the Philles got it right… Instead of giving players a chance , a wrong move or two and they’re gone. Poor Zeto, who has had his best year in years, is persona non grata now, left off the playoffs roster. Most of the players who began the year with the Giants are gone, or at least banished to the bench. Even now, if someone makes an error or two, expect a different lineup the next day.
Apparently, the pressure cooker is on at Giants headquarters. Sabean and Bochy and Baer have been around one team longer than all current counterparts – and without winning big one. I will say that manager Bochy, whether under the gun or not, has come a long way as manager, truly managing and probably should be manager of the year. But, look at the competition. Whether other managers or teams- – there’s not a truly top caliber one with both pitching and hitting in all the big leagues, except the Yankees, and they haven’t been doing all that well in the playoffs.
As for luck, the Giants seem to have it going for them , getting that ‘torture’ run courtesy of either the other team mistakes (See Atlanta, Phillies most recently) or umpires (a would-be inning-ending right-down-the plate third strike was called a ball by Umpire Cousins, resulting in two more runs, just enough to win the first playoff game against the Phils )..
For the Giants its Win Now At All Costs (we don’t say that, they do). The money’s been spent now- with one of the highest payrolsl. The World Series has eluded them for longer than just about any team. So, step on toes. Go boldly as it WILL probably be back to the Old Inept Giants next year. So, Giant fans, enjoy while you can. I’ll take the Padres, Rangers or even the A’s ( despite having the worst manager in baseball) and their homegrown, old school philosophies.
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GIANTS WORLD SERIES
The Giants make it to the WS – with a current below .200 average for the playoffs – it is a travesty for baseball and the other teams. It’s pathetic how there’s not a single World Class team going – only Texas is batting over .200 among the playoff finalists and Texas is no world beater, either. The Giants have backed into the series and its a dark day in this post-steroid era, which has seen hitting numbers drop below the Mendoza line and a team composed basically of low-hitting cast-offs and only four very good pitchers and one good manager slide through to win it all.
MANAGER CAN MAKE BIG DIFFERENCE
A’s GM Billy Beane has said that the manager of a team does not make a difference. Note his recent managers, non-descript guys named Bob Geren and Ken Macha, neither of whom has had an above .500 season in the past five years. Art Howe, before them, wasn’t much better. Prior to Beane’s arrival as GM 10 years ago, Tony La Russa was usually above .500.
Case in point: A’s vs. Giants. The As and Giants have similar teams – very good pitching and weak hitting. The As and Giants have probably the two top pitching staffs in baseball. Hitting wise they’re virtually equal, both with a dearth of power hitters, thought he Giants have had some good fortune with veteran cast-offs, though the A’s have a stronger first two in the lineup in Davis and Crisp and much more speed, though not always used well.
The As finished dead .500. The Giants finished almost 20 games above .500. Could the manager mean a difference of 20 games? Yes. Bruce Bochy has become an excellent manager, getting the most out of his team as well as respect. Bob ‘ Deer in the Headlites’ Geren basically lets the team run itself, every now and again embellishing the ineptitude with bonehead decisions, like walking a player with no outs and nobody on base! Unheard of, but it really happened just the past month. That alone is grounds for dismissal but, as Beane’s buddy and under Beane’s code the manager doesn’t make any difference, anyhow.
Beane could of and should have replaced Macha with Washington. Look at what Wash has done for Texas. You mean to tell me if Wash was the manager of the A’s , they wouldn’t have won at least 10 more games? It’s pretty obvious. The A’s have a better pitching staff that Texas and pitching is key…
It may seem simplistic but I’ve just scratched the surface. Another example just this year is Baltimore replacing its previous skipper with Buck Showalter. Instantly, Showalter turned the worst team in baseball into a near.500 team. We’ve seen the same happen in recent years with Jim Leyland and the Tigers, same with the White Sox Ozszie Guion and on and on…
So, go ahead genius Beane, Lew Wolf and Co.
and continue your great ‘Money Ball’ philosophy. Yes, managers, alone, CAN make significant difference as we’ve shown in just a few recent examples.
And some call Billy Beane a genius. He’s good at trading because he gives away so many players that some of the new ones actually work out but most don’t, until they’re traded away. Think Mat Holiday , Carlos Reyes , to name two. Even one of the few who worked out, thanks to his own hard work, Frank Thomas was literally given away after a great year in Oakland. Watch Ben Sheets make a resurrection next year with another team.
If Texas makes it to the World Series – and even if it doesn’t- we’ve already seen what a difference a manager can make. The A’s management should hang it’s collective head very low. Also, for it’s sorry .500 record despite having the league’s best pitching staff in cmparison to the Giants’ comparable team, yet finishing 20 games over 500.
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