Managers (Updated)

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that annually, Terry Francona lets me sit with him, on the bench, during a spring training game. This is half out of friendship and half, I think, to remind me how little I actually understand about managing – or baseball itself – compared to the pros.

Having acknowledged that, and presented the caveat, I’d still like to point out that actual major league managers have done the following things in the last few days:
Mike Scioscia sent poor Brandon Wood back to the minors – having given him, I believe, three starts during two weeks in the bigs, during which he hit the ball with authority and acquitted himself well in the field – so he could bring back Reggie Willits on the premise that “some of the outfielders are a bit nicked up.” This after explaining that previous plans for Wood were scuttled because Gary Matthews had played so well, and despite the fact that Chone Figgins and even Wood himself can play the outfield. The logical extension of this utterly illogical handling of one of the game’s premier prospects must be that the Angels hope to waste all of Wood’s options and wind up selling him on waivers, or possibly to the Samsung team of the Korean League.
Joe Girardi benches Hideki Matsui against Jon Lester Monday, even though Matsui had been hot, and particularly so against lefties. He thus instead DH’s Jorge Posada, who promptly sends himself onto the DL, requiring Joe to pinch-hit for Posada with… Matsui.
And though the Diamondbacks might be the coldest team offensively in the majors, and though he has one guy who can play first and third, another who can play first and left, and a third who can play third and second (poorly), when facing Jeff Weaver in the latter’s first major league start since 2007, Bob Melvin leaves Tony Clark on his bench. Batter-Vs-Pitcher numbers are sometimes misleading. But Clark was 7-for-11 lifetime against Weaver with two homers. The D-Backs got five hits off Weaver.
What’s worse is, if early in the week, Melvin happened to stand on a piece of paper that had fallen from the stands with the words “Play Tony Clark against Weaver” written on it, and his team had scored a run during the inning, he might’ve made the line-up change out of superstition.
Managers know 50 times as much as we do. Just not every second.
Postscript: Melvin deserves less tweaking, and I recall my snark. Tony Clark was put on the disabled list this afternoon (Wednesday) with continuing wrist problems. Presumably Bob knew about this Tuesday. It certainly denies us a chance for Melvin to take a re-test: Clark has four career homers against the pitcher Arizona faces tomorrow night, Chris Young.



    One of my very first baseball memories is of the Chicago Cubs’ Lee Elia going absolutely bonkers at a press conference. Ya’ know the one where he talked about all the out – of – work bums (he used way more “colorful” language) being at Wrigley Field among other things? Back in the good ‘ol days when WLS was still a music station, I remember their morning radio silly guys having a good time with all the bleeps. Then, I, of course being the inquisitive child I was, had to ask my Dad what all the bleeps were about. I don’t recall getting an answer. 😀

  2. beearl

    The Brandon Wood situation is baffling.

    It reminds me of Pop Fisher sitting Roy Hobbs for no reason other than stubbornness in “The Natural”. Of course, I’m not saying that Brandon Wood is Roy Hobbs. But sometimes reality is so much more ridiculous than fiction.


    Veeck, during the old Sportsman’s Park days, had the fans call the plays while the manager sat in a rocking chair and read the newspaper. The Browns won! Hey, try that in New York, maybe it would fill the empty stadium!


    Lou Pinella made a puzzling decision yesterday. Facing reigning NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, Pinella opted to sit most of his starters, feeding a bunch of benchers to perhaps the best arm in the league.

    I can understand resting a few starters, but it seems like Sweet Lou was almost conceding the game. Since the Giants are the lowest scoring team in the majors, that seems odd to me.

    But I’ll take the win.

  5. bosquebill

    Keith, you are a stand-up guy for updating your post regarding Melvin and Clark. I just saw the news and was headed over here to set you straight. Should have known your ear was on the rail. Thanks.

  6. ineberated

    I still can’t wrap my head around the whole Brandon Wood thing. I’m thinking it’s better to not try to put logic behind it.
    Putting Posada in the lineup makes a little more sense – Jorge’s had a hot bat, but it’s a double-edged sword when you know he’s fighting that hamstring problem.
    Going to be an interesting few weeks, it is.

  7. banya

    I have doubts on Melvin being a good manager. The team has been horrible for a few years. Not awful, just not good. Notice how often they swing & miss? How many errors they commit? Isn’t this coaching? I think they made a huge mistake letting Brenly go….

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