Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How to Be a Successful Major League Manager

Step 1. Have many good players on your roster, including a couple of great ones.

Step 2. There's an infinite number of methods that work. Also that don't. Picking them is up to you.

Consider this incomplete list of historically notable managers. John McGraw, Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Walter Alston, Earl Weaver, Dick Williams, Sparky Anderson, Billy Martin, Joe Torre, and for getting the Red Sox off the schnied, Terry Francona.

This group of men could not be more different in their personalities and managerial styles, which ranged from mellow father figure (Alston) to sociopath (Martin). All had long careers, so all of them also employed differing varieties of in-game tactics and micromanagement of teams during long seasons. What were the secrets of their shared success. It likely has something to do with the list that will compose my next paragraph.

Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Jim Palmer, Rollie Fingers, Joe Morgan, Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera and Pedro Martinez. All Hall of Fame players. All were on teams that had other Hall of Fame players on them, too, or players that will or should be in Cooperstown. I could have easily substituted Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford, Brooks Robinson, Johnny Bench, Goose Gossage, Derek Jeter and David Ortiz to make the same point.

In his rookie season as a manager Alex Cora, employing a wide variety of in-game tactics and macromanagement techniques, especially in the all important field of personnel management, won a World Series with the 2018 Red Sox, who won 119 total games and lost 57. That is outstanding. It is no exaggeration to say Cora got the most of of its team it could possibly deliver.

It is no criticism of Cora to say that his success was largely due to the fact the 2018 Red Sox started with a whole lot to give him.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Brevity Is the Soul of Wit, Also of Pitching

A brief summary of the 2018 American League Championship Series.
Game One: Red Sox pitchers walk 10, hit three batsmen, allow two homers.
Game Two: Red Sox pitchers walk 5, nit nobody, allow one homer.

Both the Boston and Houston lineups can and have do plenty of staff-wrecking on their own hook. The winner of the series will be the team whose pitchers help their opponents the least.