Fifteen Questions

As critical as I have been of Baker, I actually am not yet ready to join the "Fire Him Tomorrow" crowd. I just don't see the failings of the 2006 Cubs to be Baker-induced. No Prior, no Wood, no Lee, no offense from Ramirez, Pierre or Jones - these things are not Dusty's fault. Murton (up until now) and Cedeno have played every day. I really don't get the argument that we are seeing the results of a team filled with Dusty-style players. Who are they? Lee? Ramirez? Walker? Barrett? Cedeno? Murton? Dempster? Zambrano? Maddux? Is Jones more of a Dusty Player than Burnitz was? (Pierre over Patterson, sure, I'll give you that.) If anything, the fundamental play of the team has improved over last year while the number of seemingly random and innane managerial decisions has declined, at least from my vantage point. Most fundamental, if we were to fire Baker tomorrow, who would replace him? Another Bruce Kimm? If we can't entice Bobby Valentine or Lou Pinella to take over, who is there that we could get, mid-season, that would be worth having? While we should have fired him last year, I don't think that firing Dusty now would accomplish anything more than a hollow, token gesture to fans demanding immediate but half-baked solutions to problems that extend wider and deeper than our choice of toothpick-tasters. Replacing Baker with Matthews, Rothschild or Clines would be meaningless. And all that said, I don't want Baker around for 2007. With that in mind, here are the first 15 questions I would ask a prospective Cubs manager, before even bothering to entering into discussions about specific personel. What would you ask? How would you answer? 1. What sort of player would you rather have as your lead-off hitter: A Scott Podsednik style player who has lots of speed and can bunt, but doesnít have much power and doesnít have a strong on-base-percentage, or a Kevin Youkilis style player who has a bit of power and gets on base at a high rate, but canít bunt or run? 2. Should every player on your roster have a designated role, like the 8th inning guy, the closer, the first pinch-hitter off the bench, the starting left-fielder and the backup left-fielder? 3. What is your approach towards balancing the need to protect the health of pitchers, especially young ones, and the need to have your best pitchers on the mound as often as possible? 4. Roughly speaking, how long and how severely must a starting player be slumping before he loses his status as a starter? To what extent do you factor in the playerís previous record of performance? How about your teamís ìcloserî? 5. You are given a rookie with a track record of success in the minors and who displays some talent, but also is not a bona fide ìcanít missî star. How do you go about integrating this player into your major league club so as to best balance your teamís need to win games with the organizationís need to evaluate the rookieís future with the club? 6. How much autonomy should the Manager have from the General Manager over the following matters: roster and line-up construction, playing time, starting pitchersí workload, in-game strategies? 7. Give me three plausible scenarios where a bunt is the appropriate play, and three where it is not. 8. Which figure of each of these pairs best represents the managerís role in promoting team chemistry: The Sergeant or the teacher? The conductor or the metronome? The preacher or the counselor? Explain. 9. Continuing with chemistry: Under what circumstances, if any, is it the right decision to trade or release a productive but difficult, unpopular, insubordinate or controversial player? Under what circumstances is it the right decision to bench him? 10. To what extent should a major league manager be held responsible for his playersí ìfundamentalsî? If given a fundamentally unsound baserunner, how do you go about correcting him? 11. Go home and review the videotape of Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series. What does this game tell you about the psyche and the expectations of Chicago Cubs fans? What does this game tell you about the managerial strengths and weaknesses of Dusty Baker? What single event or decision do you think was of the greatest consequence in our loss? What, if anything, would you have done differently in managing this game? 12. Name three managers, current or historical, whom you admire. Why? 13. How many years away do you believe this organization is from being a regular, stable contender for a championship, and what remains to be done to get to that point? 14. What is the proper role of the beat writers following the Cubs? What are the Managerís responsibilities as the public face and voice of the Chicago Cubs, and by extension, a representative of the Tribune Company? 15. In one minute, without using your hands, a computer, puppets, clay models, mimes, or any other visual aids, describe the theory and practice of the double-switch.
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Comments

Good questions. I'd like to see Hendry's list.

jacque jones has actually hit better than I expected.

my answers would be:
1. OBP easy. Bellhorn was fine in 2002. One of the few bright spots, and of course Prior.
2. Certain players should like your starting nine and rotation, after that it should be matchups. Your best reliever should be on the mound with 2 on and a 1 run lead in the seventh - not Will Ohman.
3. Pitchers get hurt, pitches may or may not matter, but stressful pitches matter. Each case is different, but generally a younger pitcher can throw 100-110 some of the time. Id just never skip a guy in the rotation with offdays. The extra hidden rest could keep them more fresh.
4. Previous performance matters, but only recent. In other words I wont start Neifi because what he did in Colorado.
5. Well it depends on the position. If he could not start, I'd try to at least get him 1 AB a game and 3 innings every other game - at least.
6. The GM and manager should be on the same page for their reasoning, but they have to have mutual respect so one guy can see things from a different perspective.
7. Do it: Down by one 7+; With a SP hitting; tied 7+. Don't: Before the 6th, ever; down by 2 runs ever and only 1 runner on; with 2 strikes
8. Teacher: a sarge can provoke ego people by being too stern; conductor - plans fail and you have to be able to change and not keep to the same beat. counselor - preaching means that my way is the only way which isnt true.
9. Keep him, winning does a lot more for chemistry than chemistry does for winning. Besides most so-called cancers are blown way out of proportion.
10. Major leagues should know the fundementals and if somoene doesnt they should work on them because they are professionals. When? pracitice, pregame whenever - it shouldnt matter when as long as they do it.
11. I'm not hear to discuss the past. The Cubs had no middle relief, Prior was their guy. I dont think there was much to change. AGonz's error killed the Cubs. Only if my Macias was there...
12. Earl Weaver: The Three Run Home Run; Bobby Cox: He's always There; Joe Girardi: This is the guy who should have this job and should have been given it last November.
13. It should be right now. The talent is here and the money is here. Next year might be the year due to the health, but there are some holes that need to be fixed but the talent is here.
14. beat writers should say what we think and hold the manager and GM acountable for their actions. The managers job is to win games, it doesnt matter how bad the team looks in the media.
15. The exact opposite of this

Am I hired?

In other news, maybe it's time we say ef it and give Marmol a chance. He struck out 11 and only walked 1 today.

Well, if I was GM, you certainly wouldn't be removed from contention due to any of those answers, so that's a good start. You'd get a call-back.

Trans...great questions. Can we do a hostile takeover of the Tribune company and then hire you as the GM of the Cubs?

Trans-

Good questions for a manager. But how do you think the owner should answer them? In other words, would Dennis Fitzsimmons or Andy MacFail have any idea on, say, 9 of these? Interestingly, Steve Stone would probably not only ace all 15 questions, but come up with 7 more of his own.

Steve Stone would answer number six by saying, "The GM and Manager should be the same person."

Dave - thanks. One of the career routes I'm contemplating, since the academic job applications are going so poorly, is to try to catch on with a MLB team, actually. You never know......

Nazey - On some level, I am not concerned if McPhail and Co. can answer those questions, as long as they have the business management skills to identify people they can hire as subordinates who DO know the right quesitons to ask, and DO know the answers that they want to hear. I haven't really thought of questions that I would want to ask any prospective President of the Cubs, but maybe I'll do that, sometime, now that you've suggested it. Regarding Stone and additional questions - there are plenty of additional questions, but I had to stop somewhere. I don't know if I'd want Stone in a dugout, in spite of the high regard in which I hold him.

I'd be perfectly happy to hand the keys to Eddie Perez, Orel Hershiser, Mark Grace, whoever's coaching 3rd base for the Braves now, or whoever's coaching 3rd base for the Yankees now--not to mention a half-dozen ex-managers.

But here's my wildcard: Mike Maddux. He has all the necessary attributes and skills, including one or two that even his brother doesn't possess (like a naturally outgoing personality). I want Dusty out NOW, if not sooner, and his replacement is secondary to that. But MM is the perfect fit that nobody is thinking of, and Ned Yost would not stand in the way of the promotion, even mid-season, considering what both Maddux brothers have meant to him.

How many pitchers have made good managers? Not many.

Trans- good points. BTW, hope you didn't think I wasn't saying Stoney would come up with 6 more questions to imply that you didn't have enough pertinent questions. I was just pointing out that during the interview, Stoney would rock their faces off with additional insight. They would probably sit there, dumbfounded, thinking to themselves, "Holy crap. We have found someone who knows what they're doing."

yeah, I read it as you intended, then. A good sign in any interview is if the interviewee asks additional questions. Stone's an inquisitive guy, for sure.

As far as future managers go... I like Ronald's list, and M. Maddux is intriguing, although indeed, history is against him. (But as a historian, I hereby declare that history as a predictive force is way, way over-rated.) And there's always Brenley...

1: Youkilis, definately. Bunting isn't useful for a leadoff hitter, as much as it is for a second hitter. And speed is more vital lower in the order, when Derrek Lee and A-Ram aren't coming up after you, in case you get thrown out. Speed is nice, for advancing bases, but getting on base is more important.

2:Absolutely not, there are too many variables to stick to a concrete plan always. I think you should use your best pitcher in high-leverage situations, not only closing...

3:High pitch counts don't bother me as much as high stress situations, combined with high pitch counts, when a young pitcher is more likely to overexert himself, on that one pitch which gets him hurt. If he's cruising with high pitch counts, it's fine, but I'll get him out if he gets into a jam.

4:If it is someone who is either getting old, or has been recently looking bad, I might be a little quicker to pull him, but before I ever do, I'd try and drop him in the order, give him a couple days off, so that he can get his mind back together. Benching players cold doesn't seem effective. For closers, it's easy. If they struggle for a couple games, let them come in in lower stress situations for a while, some long relief...

5:It depends on who I have starting in his position, if I have a vet who isn't in his prime, then I would start the rookie right away, see if he can make a splash. I think, unless a rookie can improve the club, he shouldn't be called up, unless the team is knocked way out.

6:starting pitcher's workload and in game strategies should be all the manager, unless there are outstanding circumstances (injury...), roster and lineup construction should be mutual, and playing time should be estimated at the beginning of the year, but the manager should have the final say. He is the one in the clubhouse, he knows the players a bit better, especially day to day.

7:Acceptable: Pitcher is batting, with a man on second and no outs. Fast runner, noone on base, for a hit, and a squeeze play, very rarely.
Unacceptable: With anyone who is hitting over the mendoza line, when not down by one or tied, with one out.

8:Sergeant; it's the coaches' job to teach, conductor, the manager has to make sure everything clicks, and the preacher...

9:a. If he commits a felony, or if you can get a valuable player in return. b. If he is not playing well, or is not showing effort.

10: He should identify the problem, and adjust playing time accordingly. If a player wants to play, he should be responsible for learning, and seeking help from coaches.

11: God hates us. He should have brought in Borowski once they had the tying run up, he had the composure... Farnsworth did not.

12: LaRussa, he plays the numbers well, but does make some boneheaded decisions, Bobby Cox... 13 division titles? and... Schochia? He seems sound.

13: One. We need to sign a good righty fourth outfielder, and have either Pie develop or get a good CF. Keep Walker, Wood, and everyone now.

14: To tell us things we can't figure out by just watching the games, things that affect the game from the clubhouse, for instance.

15: Use when a player is injured in the game OR when you have a superior defender who can replace someone who just batted, and you want to keep your pitcher in the game for mroe than one inning.

whew.

This is fascinating, I hope we can get a larger collection of answers (and additional questions....)

Perhaps we could develop a Composite TCR Manager...

NIce loaded question (#1). OBP slow guys are NOT a recipe for success. I can show you over the past ten years that speed at the top of the lineup wins.

2005: Posednik
2004: Bellhorn
2003: Pierre
2002: Ecstein
2001: TONY FUCKING WOMACK
2000: Knoblauch
1999: Knoblauch
1998: Knoblauch
1997: Castillo
1996: Raines

So only one time in the last ten years did a high OBP guys with little speed lead a team to a WS victory.

Just cause you say it doesn't make it true.

OBP at the top of the lineup along with slow feet DOES NOT WORK.

In fact, all you questions are loaded. You want to see this new era manager for the Cubs. But the answers are obvious. Either you see baseball the way the people here at TCR see it or you can see it the way people who are actually involved in baseball see it. I go with B for each one.

The problem with that logic, Job (Chad), is that you're only considering winning teams in your thought experiment and then claiming it wins. I could just as easily generate a list of 10 horrible teams with fast leadoff men and say the strategy is poor.

A better way to go about it would be to lay out all the leadoff men in baseball, categorize them appropriately, and look at what kind of effect it has on run-scoring. Perhaps a simple logistic regression on runs/game or something. Try to see if a team scores more consistently with a fast vs. slow guy via variance in runs/game. Who knows. All I'm saying is it ain't that easy to prove what you're trying to say.

McFail, Hendrey and Dusty are NOT delivering what their customers want -- a team that can be a real contender for a Championship Title...If the Tribune Company was run like GE, they would sell the Cubs franchise or bring in the management necessary to make the Cubs #1 or #2 in all of MLB...GE will not hold on to businesses that are not leaders in their categories. Here's part of an interesting new article out on the Chicago Tribune website...

2-team battle turning 1-sided

Sox's superiority applies pressure to Cubs -- on the field, at the turnstiles, in the public eye

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

{...The way the city's two teams have played in the weeks preceding the Crosstown Classic, which resumes Friday at U.S. Cellular Field, the competitive distance between them could wind up much more than the 8.1 miles that separate the ballparks.

Biggest disparity ever

The Sox, on pace to win 106 games, have an opportunity to finish further ahead of the Cubs, limping along at a 68-victory rate, than any Chicago baseball team ever has finished in front of the other.

The 1932 Cubs set the standard by winning 41 more games than the Sox. The Sox's high-water mark over their North Side rivals is 30 games better--reached in 1901, 1954 and 2000.

The recent surge has changed Chicago's baseball culture so dramatically that it is not folly, in mid-May with the two franchises seemingly headed in opposite directions, to paint a scenario that has the Sox beating the Cubs at the turnstiles too.

At this rate, the Sox need to average 38,406 fans at U.S. Cellular Field in the remaining 62 home games to go above 3 million in attendance for the first time. That's tough but not impossible for a team considered better than the one that won a World Series.

The Cubs' ability to draw fans to Wrigley Field recently typically depends little on the product on the field. But the natives of Wrigleyville have been growing increasingly restless waiting for the Wood and Mark Prior revival, and if the team averages fewer than 36,533 fans over the 65 games left, it could fall short of 3 million...}

Show Dusty the door if he can't do more

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

I generally agree with the thesis of the DeLuca article. One thing I noticed that I don't recall having heard before was the 2002 Baker quote: "Let's face it, we all -- even myself -- kind of laughed at the Cubs."

a) Beat you like a drum in 1998, didn't they Dusty.

b) So he knew going in that one of the bigger psychological problems facing the Cubs is the widespread derision of other players, coaches, and fans. It reads whiny even as I type it, but I think it's difficult to succeed in any field when you feel as though everyone you meet is laughing up his or her sleeve at you. I have no doubt that it's particularly hard in a heady game like baseball.

My question is: if Baker knew (from experience as a taunter, apparently) that this could be a problem, why hasn't he been more attuned to keeping ridiculous situations to a minimum? I often write off the Bartman thing as a freak accident, but realistically, Baker could have done more to calm Prior down, to try to avoid the sickeningly inevitable laughingstock the 2003 playoffs became. Hawkins as closer, Neifi as anything but bench fodder, "we don't have a LHP batting practice pitcher," etc., etc.

To answer my own question, obviously Baker doesn't see these things as worthy of derision or scorn, and so he didn't work to avoid them. I'm not suggesting that he should manage according to what other people think, simply pointing out that others' perception does matter -- especially with an organization as burdened by chronic losing and all its attendant problems as the Cubs. Baker, like so many Cub managers before him, seems incapable of making decisions that put his team in a position of psychic strength. Of course that ranks in importance far behind player talent, player health, and good on-field strategy, but I argue that it should matter more to the Cubs than, really, most other teams in sports.

For the record, I put this on Hendry too. For all his occasional deal-making prowess, you could *hear* eyes rolling when he re-signed Rusch and Neifi, and popping when he vastly overpaid Jones. Transactions like that do not exactly establish your team as focused, driven world-beaters, or you as a sharp GM bent on a World Series title.

Wow, what a great idea. My answers:

1. Priority 1 for a leadoff man is to get on base. Priority 2 is to have speed on the basepaths. I would like both, but would have to pick OBP.

2. Yes. Everyone should have a role, but not the roles used by the media. Starters, Platoon partners, defensive specialist, backups, utility man are all straightforward enough. Itís tougher with a bullpen decisions. In the bullpen, the decision making has to be a blend of situational stats and whoís available. The toughest out merits the flat out best pitcher. There are exceptions to that, too.

3. The pitching coach watches their mechanics like a hawk once they reach the risk zone of number of pitches (different for each P). The first sign of altering mechanics sends out the pitching coach to correct the problem. Inability or unwillingness to correct the problem results in a relief pitcher before the next pitch.

4. How long and severely will vary, but the answer is before it messes with his head. Moving in order to see more pitches is better than a semi-benching or ìbenching lite.î Notorious slow starters (and similar) have to stay in to work through it. Closer needs to be moved once they cannot throw consistent strikes.

5. Put him in the 6 or 7 hole, where he can see some good pitches but not be in the heart of the pressure. Donít take him out for a big AB (see Bobby Cox). The kidís made it to the bigs and needs to experience good and bad to learn and grow. Great players win and lose games just like rookies.

6. For all of these, the two must be on the same page (see Williams & Guillen). The roster should be composed with the line up in mind. Playing time, in game strategy, and bullpen management is all Manager.

7. YES - Tie game or down one after the sixth; anytime the opposing pitcher is shutting down the team and a scoring opportunity is desperate; squeeze; NO ñ with one or more outs; when the next batter is a shoddy hitter and will not be pinch hit for even with available PHís, when Aramis is the runner (walker) youíre moving over

8. Sergeant ñ Everyone needs rules, even professionals. Conductor ñ itís an art not a science. Counselor ñ Manager needs to have players who will communicate their issues.

9. I think the disciplined approach is the correct one. A player is benched as a ìstrike 2î type disciplinary action, and trading/releasing is the ìthird strikeî. Anytime anyone breaks the rules they need to be disciplined. Simple.

10. Every player needs to understand the expectations of the GM and Manager. Anything that is a decision needs to be done (or at least attempted) correctly. The coaches need to communicate what is the right/wrong way to do something. OFís choose to throw to the cut off man or to home. Hitters choose to use the right technique when bunting. Runners choose to pay attention to signs and execute. If someone doesnít know what to do, you coach him on it. If he canít or wonít learn, you release him and find someone who will.

11. This game illustrates how manic Cubs fans are. A win means weíre the best and a loss means weíre hopeless again. What the manager should do is make it clear to the players and media that when youíre up, youíre never as high as you think, and when youíre down, youíre never as low as you think. Nothing counts until the season is over.

This tells me that Dusty is too manic for the team too. He whines too much, he gets too inflated just like the fans. He also didnít have the sense to go tell everyone that the foul ball is a foul ball. Shake it off and get the out. He also didnít go out and tell everyone the error happened, now go get the next guy. Focus on the present, forget the past.

12. Bobby Cox, constant winner, class act, knows how to let players play without losing discipline and how to bring up a rookie. Ned Yost, gets the most out of his players. Jim Leyland, tough SOB who wonít let anybody give up or get down on themselves.

13. 2 Years. The players on the team need to be improved/developed in certain areas. Jones needs a platoon mate, Pierre is not the CF we wanted, the minors need to be restocked and revamped.

14. Beat writers should not be an active member of the Cubs. The team has to say, ìthis is what weíre doing and nobody will make or influence our decisions for us.î

15. Need 2 IP form next pitcher, who takes the place of the last batter to make an out.

I love the questions but youíd be a tough interviewer. Great idea.

I do not want to concede another season Dusty needs to go now.

"whoever is coaching 3B for the yankees"

i believe that is larry bowa. I like your concept but that is no man for my team...

re: Chad's leadoff speed/OBP stuff

Chad, you do realize that the reason the list looks like that is bc there are virtually no teams that put slower but higher OBP guys in the leadoff spot....10 years ago that was unthinkable...even now a very limited amount of teams try it. in fact right now i believe there are only about two (usual suspects, boston and oakland).

all else equal it would be great to have a leadoff man that is both fast AND has a very high OBP, but that statement doesn't mean much bc there are lots of things in baseball/life that you'd like to have but can't (a shortstop with the arm of ARod, the power of dunn, the average and speed of ichiro, etc).

so the list you had is looking at one kind of player that only a few teams have tried in the leadoff spot, and only for a few years....and there's one championship on your list! i'd say that's certainly not a shortcoming of the slower/high OBP strategy.

not to mention all the problems of looking at only the teams that won a title (aka got lucky over 7 games), how about all the division winners, all the teams over 500, or how it affects teams all else equal. Rishi also raises a good point that there are plenty of bad teams with fast leadoff men....

Bob Brenly needs to come outta the booth and do what he did with the diamondbacks to the cubs and then we can get stoney back cause i hate len and bobis the only reason i like to listen other then that turn on the radio and listen to ron santo

but we need bob brenly to manage

there are lots of things in baseball/life that you'd like to have but can't (a shortstop with the arm of ARod, the power of dunn, the average and speed of ichiro, etc).

GL...you basically just described A-Rod, except for the speed of Ichiro. But A-Rod definitely is not slow.

More great answers from Jumbo, thanks. I am especially interested in the responses to #8, it shows we all have some different sensibilities about how a leader leads...

My questions certainly weren't intended to show a bias, but Chad's correct that it's just about impossible to write a question that one wants to ask a prospective employee, without revealing your own biases about what you want to see in the ideal employee. I'd be happy to hear more suggested questions from Chad or anyone else.

My own answers (note that in my role as GM, I wouldn't expect the manager I hire to agree with me on all of these. but as a managerial candidate, I would go with:)

1. The Youk style guy. Speed is more important as a collective whole, mostly for defensive purposes - you DO need a fast CFer and ideally, MI, and enough speed in the lineup to Make Things Happen. But the leadoff guy doesn't have to be the designated Make Things Happen guy.

(And yes, as the GM I would ask this question as a way to at least identify managers capable of keeping up with new trends in baseball strategy. It's not a make-or-break question, but I want to know whether or not my manager is stuck in the 1970s, and this could help.)

2. Yes, and those roles should be clearly communicated, as should be the expectation that roles can change, later, based on performance. It's time to re-think the ossified bullpen roles that lead to using your best pitchers at far from ideal times, and far from ideal pitchers at the most important times.

3. No pitcher resumes a game that's been delayed by more than 20 minutes, and no starting pitcher throws a pitch beyond the 110s when they have a three-run lead or more. Beyond those rules, context means everything - is the pitcher laboring, did they throw a lot last week, how do the mechanics look, etc etc., it all must be considered.

4. Roughly speaking, after the first 50 games, previous years' performance gets thrown out the window, and you go with the playesr who can help you, this year. Benching is also appropriate as an attention-getting disciplinary tool, for a day or two. Bobby Cox was right to remove Andruw Jones in the middle of the eighth inning, as a young player, when he failed to hustle.

5. Begin the year by putting him in a protected spot in the order - sixth is ideal - and rest him against only the most difficult platoon matchups. You'll get an idea, soon enough, if he's overmatched and how quickly he's adjusting.

6. No one individual - not the manager, not the GM, not the fan, not the beat writer - can see every aspect of baseball clearly and objectively. As the guy closest to the field and the players, I know the most, but I'm not immune to seeing things through my own tinted glasses. I get the benefit of the doubt on all decisions, but have to respect the GM who tells me that my physical and emotional nearness to my players is blinding me from other avenues...

7. What the previous candidates said, I was listening through the door.

8. Teacher. That's just who I am, they'd laugh if I tried to be Seargent. Conductor - must adjust for unique movements. Counselor - I teach, but don't preach. They can come to me when they need help.

9. Benching is a fair and useful tool for dealing with insubordination. But ultimately, we need talent on the field, and that means finding ways to cope with different personality types.

10. At this level, I can't teach fundamentals, but I can make sure that players don't forget or take for granted whatever level of fundamentals they already know. Peer pressure is the best corrector, here. I am happy to apply some - inside of the clubhouse, not via the press.

11. It tells me that Cubs fans are used to being disappointed, so they see signs of looming disappointment in the smallest of events. I need to have a broader perspective than that, while appreciating their hyper-sensitivity. Prior clearly had lost it, by the eighth, and shouldn't have been ridden past his point of usefulness (and that's all I'll say about the outgoing manager, as I wouldn't want my own career to be evaluated on the basis of one of my worst moments.) The Gonzalez error was the PLAY of greatest consequence, but not pulling prior was the decision of greatest consequence.

12. Torre/Cox, for not over-managing inside the game, and for being able to get the most out of players while keeping an even demeanor. Frank Robinson for being a kick-ass old man who can be old-school yet relevant. Earl Weaver, for strategy.

13. We aren't getting there this year. We're a healthy rotation and a power bat at a corner OF spot away from being a regular contentor

14. Their role is to give the public a behind-the-scenes glance at the team, and to provide a fair but critical perspective of how we operate, to hold us accountable for our actions. I AM the public face and voice of the team, in a media environment where everything I say and do will be dissected by obsessive Cubs bloggers looking for an excuse to run me out of town. So I have to always be "on."

15. That Transmission guy might just be an Idiot Blogger, but he seems to get it. Read his stuff.

dave....touche! i somehow tend to forget that ARod is actually a shortstop, and that the yanks' weird obsession with jeter is why they moved the best player in baseball away from his position.

(imo, the yanks should have moved ARod back to SS, and Jeter to CF last year when they couldn't find a CFer to save their lives)

the yanks should have moved ARod back to SS, and Jeter to CF last year when they couldn't find a CFer to save their lives

I completely agree with you. Recently there have been solid options at 3B, and few good centerfield options. Jeter would make a perfect centerfielder, and A-Rod would be back to the position he should be in. And A-Rod is (or at least was) a better defensive SS than Jeter.

Chad...also, in the last four years, two of those guys are not really speed guys.

Eckstein and Bellhorn were much more OBP than speed.

Bellhorn, in 2004, had 6 SBs and a .373 OBP, with 3 triples.

Eckstein, in 2002, had 21 SBs and a .363 OBP, with 6 triples.

Neither had high "speed" numbers.

OBP at the top of the lineup along with slow feet DOES NOT WORK.

Prove it...what slow footed, high OBP leadoff hitter hasn't worked?

Either you see baseball the way the people here at TCR see it or you can see it the way people who are actually involved in baseball see it.

Wow...this is just plain ignorance. Ever hear of Billy Bean? Depodesta? Epstein? Riccardi? There are many people who are "actually involved in baseball" who see things differently than traditional baseball minds. For you to pretend that you are aligned with people involved in baseball and imply that those who value the use of statistics are not aligned with baseball minds is just foolish.

This bs about not being able to "teach" fundamentals to big leaguers --- it's a straw man.

Nobody thinks major leaguers have to be taught fundamentals, but they KNOW that some teams like the Cubs need to DRILL on fundamentals because they don't play as a TEAM.

Defense in baseball is just a type of communication between players in which a ball is the medium of communication. Practice doing it right, no matter what level of baseball, makes it better.

I watched Dusty's Cubs "practice" before a game with San Diego last year and there was no "practice." In fact, half the team didn't even bother to warm up and Dusty most of his time playing catch with his son and the rest wandering around the field by himself. There was no discipline. No program. Just every man for himself.

wasnt Damon the leadoff hitter for the 04 soux?

Am I missing something?

Bellhorn didn't lead off for the World Series Champion Red Sox, Johnny Damon did. Damon being one of those coveted speed/high OBP guys that costs 12+ million a year. Oh, and Bellhorn hit 8th in the playoffs. He did hit 2nd for most of the regular season.

He did hit well at leadoff for the 2002 Cubs, as everybody here knows.

Yea...I thought things sounded weird, but I didn't really think about it. Bellhorn did not lead off for the Red Sox.

But I would still like to see a slow footed, high OBP in the leadoff spot who really didn't "work." I cannot think of many, and Youkillis seems to be working out pretty well for the Red SOx this year.

yes, of course damon was the leadoff man for the sawks, total brain fart. he is (especially was) a fast guy and high OBP guy, very expensive. no one on either side would argue against having damon in the leadoff spot.

does the cubs lineup today include lenny harris and tom goodwin?

If totally forgot about that 'idiot' Damon. Even more my point.

"Ever hear of Billy Bean? Depodesta? Epstein? Riccardi?"

You should have typed Billy Beane (Billy Bean is someone else)? Beane? Beane? Beane?

That is a linage that stems from one guy, Beane. No one else in baseball if falling for the Sabermetric BULLSHIT. It will die soon. And I can't wait. By the way Deposdesta sucks. He did a horrible job trying to Moneyball the Dodgers and it didn't work.

As far as this allegation that you can win without a speedy guy at the top of the lineup, well, I guess we'll have to see. I have 100 years of baseball history behind me and you guys have, maybe 6 to 8.

Don't get me wrong, OBP is an important trait casue all the speed in the world is worthless if you can't get on base. But there is no question that a guy like Pierre SCARES pitchers once he gets on base. Guys like that make things happen. Slow footed guys like Youkilis get on base but don't bother a pitcher at all.

No one else in baseball if falling for the Sabermetric BULLSHIT. It will die soon.

I forgot about the Red Sox team that won a world series. Or the very, very good A's teams of hte last several years. Or even the very good Yankees teams of the last several years who have relied on high OBP.

By the way Deposdesta sucks. He did a horrible job trying to Moneyball the Dodgers and it didn't work.

Yea...he did a shitty job getting the Didgers to the playoffs. He wasn't really given an opportunity to truly make change. You cannot change a franchise in a year or two.

He did a horrible job trying to Moneyball the Dodgers and it didn't work.

You do know that Moneyball and Sabermetrics are two different things, right? Moneyball is the concept that you need to build a team on undervalued players. Beane did this with OBP when it was undervalued.

Sabermetrics is the idea that you can learn a ton from stastitical analysis, and it tells you a lot more about a player than by simply looking at homeruns and RBIs.

But there is no question that a guy like Pierre SCARES pitchers once he gets on base. Guys like that make things happen.

And now Pierre sucks in the lead-off position because he relies solely on his speed. Those that rely on high OBP still reach base, even when they are struggling to hit the ball.

Pierre, on the other hand? Well we know what happens with that...

Speed is worthless when you have a .276 OBP.

One thing about Pierre: between his low OBP and his speed, he doesn't clog up bases.

hehe...that is true.

"No one else in baseball if falling for the Sabermetric BULLSHIT. It will die soon."

I love this attitude. Why not just say "I am a closeminded idiot, and I can be persuaded that 2+2=5 if enough 'established' people tell me it is so"?

Sabermetrics tell us, without any rational rebuttal, what type of players allow their teams to score runs. It isn't a religion (like baseball "traditions"), it's a science. It tells us what has worked in the past (for decades, mind you), and rational people will assume that those things will continue to work in the future. That is not necessarily so, but it is far more likely that the same things will work in the future than that they will not.

It's all about one thing -- outs; there is nothing else as important in baseball. Until the Cubs realize that their team OB needs to be at least 345, they will not win (unless they get ridiculous pitching, like the Sox last year).

Saying something has been in place for 100 years, therefore makes it correct, is frankly stupid. I can't think of any other way to describe it. Appeals to tradition have never been rational defense. We had 2 divisions for 100 years, no wild card for 100 years, no DH for 100 years, no Unions in baseball for 100 years, no minorities in baseball for almost 100 years... Just because it is change, doesn't mean it's bad.

LMFAO

I would argue the Dh was certainly bad.

It may have been bad, but not because it was new. There are real reasons why it's bad, instead of just saying it breaks tradition (same with wild cards and 3 divisions, if you want, and even Sabermetrics, but I haven't seen any arguments that weren't just that it's new...) And now that I think about it, we had 1 division for 100 years, not two...

I also agree that it is time for Dusty to go but who wants to manage the Cubs. Look at the list of past managers and you will see that once you manage the Cubs, you are done as big league manager.

Name the last person who managed the Cubs and then got another big league managing job. I can't think of one.

Line for Jae Kuk Ryu after one big-league inning: 1 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 0 dead birds.

It seems like when we talk about lack of fundamentals, we talk about errors, bad base running, failed sacrifices, etc.

But what about fundamental approaches to a game...aka, the game plan. It seems like something is very wrong with our entire game plan when we are near the top of the league in walks allowed, and worst in the league in walks taken. Add that together with OBP and other intangibles of the sort...and to me, that's where Dusty's culpability lies. It seems there is an approach to the game day in and day out, that generally does not get the most out of whatever you have.

Firing dusty doesn't really solve anything, this team simply is not talented enough to compete regularly. But, to me at least, it sends a message that failure on the field is not something that can be condoned, and when we underachieve from the last 2 weeks of 2004 through the first 2 months of 2006...and there is no sign of the bleeding stopping...something needs to change. If not for this year, to send a message for next year.

But I'll restate my opinion that I've had for the last 2 years...if you are going to fire one person, fire Rothschild...I can't think of anyone who consistantly gets less from more out of their pitching staffs. When you have vets and rookies alike all getting in trouble with control and pitch counts, not to mention all the injuries on his staf...something is very wrong with the game plan.

good one wpz,
-cant wait till he faces baltimore and toronto....

Would someone in this organization please freaking offer some leadership. No one has stepped up to do anything to address the issues with this team. Hendry should be addressing the media and fans daily with his plan moving forward. Baker should be addressing the errors made everyday by his team. He needs to start sitting guys who make mistakes. ARam is ridiculous as he has offered no leadership for this team and is swing at the 1st pitch as he looks like he wants out!

We walk 10 today and Rothchild makes 2 trips to the mound all day!

At this point there is no way Hendy is fired, Dusty may get booted but I'm guessing not til we lose another 8 in a row. There is no energy with this team and that is Dusty's problem.

3 pitchers have gotten their 1st career complete game win vs the Cubs in the last 6 games!

I think its offical that Baker has lost this team. I mean there playing flater than a week old can of soda. I wonder if he even going to make it to the Wsox series next weekend.

OBP at the top of the lineup along with slow feet DOES NOT WORK.

How many teams over the last 10 years have employed OBP at the top of the lineup with slow feet? Is it 1 for every 30? Probably not...

"whoever is coaching 3B for the yankees"

i believe that is larry bowa. I like your concept but that is no man for my team...

re: Chad's leadoff speed/OBP stuff
[The above is from Green Lantern's 10:07 AM post]

Green Lantern,

Thanks for pointing that out. We are definitely on the same page here. Larry Bowa, a guy with even higher highs and lower lows than Dusty, is certainly not the man for the job. My point, which I know you understood, is that a great place to look for young managers is on the bench right next to managers who are doing it right.

Last season, I was praying the Cubs would dump Dusty and bring in Jim Leyland, who had made it clear he was ready to get back to managing. When Joe Torre sounded like he'd had enough Steinbrenner a year or two ago, I thought the Cubs could sell him on putting the ultimate cherry on his career: showing that he didn't need Steinbrenner's deep pockets to manage a winner and making the Cubs World Champions.

But if the Usual Suspects are not available, there are plenty more options out there (Can you say "Joe Girardi"?). And there isn't only one way to manage a winning team or one type of great manager. I loved it when Leyland gave a furious "We sucked today!" (or however he put it) to the press when the Tigers needed a kick in the pants.

I had a fantasy when Eddie Vedder was being announced in the 7th today. Here's what he said:
"Cubs Fans! I've got two things to say. First: Enough with this Guest Conductor thing. Let Harry rest in peace. And second, something that Harry would have said himself long ago if he was still with us: 'FIRE THE MANAGER! FIRE THE MANAGER! FIRE THE MANAGER! . . ."

Can't you picture it? The entire stadium would join the chant, and I'll bet it would last longer than the ovation Ripken got when he passed Gehrig. The Cubs could not hold off the onslaught that would follow, and Dusty would be in the dust bin in a week. Henry, extension or no extension, would follow. And then, if the Cubs could surprise us one more time by not moving Gene Clines or Larry Rothschild into the manager's seat, we'd be on our way!*

My first choices would probably be Steve Stone as GM and Mike Maddux as manager, but there are oh-so-many combinations I'd be thrilled with. As for Bob Brenly, I would NOT want him to be the new manager but I wouldn't mind if the Cubs found a place for him, if only to get his insipid "insights" out of the booth. Does anybody know if Yosh Kawano needs an assistant?

*I just figured out who I'm talking like: the blind guy in "Bleacher Bums"! Oh, but if we Believe . . . it Really . . . Could . . . Happen! God knows it should.

Monday's headline reads: Baker and staffed fired!

Can a guy have a freaking dream?

If I ever need a brain transplant I'll choose a sportswriter 'cause that way I'd be getting a brain that's never been used.

What're you laughing at?!

You guys lollygag the ball around the infield, ya lollygag your way to first, ya lollygag in an' outta the dugout. You know what that makes ya

....

Lollygaggers.

What's our record, Larry?

*I had a fantasy when Eddie Vedder was being announced in the 7th today. Here's what he said:
"Cubs Fans! I've got two things to say. First: Enough with this Guest Conductor thing. Let Harry rest in peace. And second, something that Harry would have said himself long ago if he was still with us: 'FIRE THE MANAGER! FIRE THE MANAGER! FIRE THE MANAGER! . . ."*

They would've cut the mike immediately and given him the Mongo treatment.

Too many questions. I probably can't answer them all...

1. On base trumps speed but without speed you have no running game. The running game does so much. Its a necessity, not a luxury.

2. Every player on the team should know their role. Even if that role is swiss army knife. No different than running a business.

3. The pitch count thing is overated. I do believe in what the Mairners have done with Hernandez with their "no sliders" rule. The problem with our pitching was perfectly exemplified today. Our guys are "the nibblers". Thats why they have such high pitch counts. Guzman had 87 pitches in 3 innings Friday. Hill and Ryu did not throw strikes. Larry Rothschild must go. The great pitching prospects have not developed on his watch.

4. It depends on the track record of the player and your own eyes. I'd say three bad starts in a row by a guy like Glendon Rusch was enough time. You need to use the competition for starting roles as a motivator.

5. You should know their weaknesses by the time they reach the bigs. Protect them while you develop. Mentor them. Here again, same as business: evaluation + development program = success.

6. I like a lot of autonomy with the right guy. Take Bill Parcels, who tells him what to do?

7. Bunt to advance a runner that is INCAPABLE of stealing a base, bunt with a weak hitter (i.e. pitcher to advance the runner and bunt for a hit depending on how the defense is aligned. You can bunt to score, but this depends on the defensive alignment, the runner and of course the hitter.

You don't bunt with your number 2 hitter and your leadoff/speed guy is on first. Outs are too precious. You don't bunt with your guys that can't bunt and/or never do it and you don't bunt when the defense won't give it to you.

8. The manager needs to direct the plan: who's playing where, who's pitching, matchups/situations going into each series, etc...so probably more Seargent. The coaches should handle the individual development plans, mentoring, etc...I like a business model similar to the NFL.

9. You talk to the player. You draw a line in the sand. If he violates the line in the sand, you bench him. If he doesn't turn it around, you get rid of him.

10. The manager is responsible. Here agaain, you reward the good behavior, punish the bad. Sticking up them when they don't cover first, etc..you don't do. You call them out and embarass them. They're big league ball players after all.

11. I don't have the tape but Dusty just let it roll. The single moment when he could have used his supposed strength as a uniter, he sat back and chewed his toothick. If it were a basketball game or football, you call a timeout, re-group and remain focused.

12. Whitey Herzog who always seemed to understand his teams strengths and get the most out of everybody, Davy Johnson: Davy got in EY's face when they were in LA when he didn't turn a "room service double play", basically didn't tolerate poor fundamentals and lack of hustle. And last but not least, Phil "Scrap Iron" Garner who's cleaned our clock the past two years. That 2004 Astro Team had no business making the playoffs, especially from how far back they were. I'd give Scrap a pile of money to come over to Chicago.

13. Lets see, they drew 3 Million fans that past two years, the have a lucrative television contract, etc...Why wouldn't they be competitive every year? They should be a dominant organization with all their resources, just like the Yankees, Red Sox and Cardinals.

14. The team news is part of the product. The writer should be objective and business like, not personal. Its not personal, its business. The manager needs to call out guys that don't follow the organizational plan.

15. The double switch is used to put a better offensive player up first in a clos game, in the late innings. You're basically "pinch hitting" for your pitcher before the next inning. Like Mabry going in for Ohman, bringing in Williamson to take Walker's place in the order after Barrett made the last out of the inning. You do NOT double switch with Hairston going in for Murton in the fifth inning...

"My first choices would probably be Steve Stone as GM."

Great and then we'll trade Rams with Boston and be stuck with that monster contract for a guy who in 08 and 09 cant play the field. The only guy who isnt a GM now that I want GMing the team is Dan Evans.

random ugly rants:

I was there today, and considering I was there for the Sat/Sun games vs the Brewers and Padres (excluding Maddog's fine pitching on Saturday), I deserve a refund or at least combat pay. Can we invoke the forfeit rule when the score is 9-0? I'm seen too many games that should be forfeit rule candidates.

We all know our manager is a dopey intragame strategist, a poor handler of pitchers and as I read recently his strategic ability as compared to someone like Tony LaRussa or Bruce Bochy, is like someone playing connect the dots to a chess master.

...but the #1 screwup with this organization is Jim Hendry. Hendry has now repetitively made (he keeps making it when it happens two years in a row) a lethal error in roster judgement. When one of your big offensive hitters goes down you don't replace him in the everyday lineup with Neifi Perez. An RBI hitter needs to be replaced with someone who has potential to drive in runs. Last year was more subtle since Nomar was a SS and it was obvious that Perez was going to be his sub. This year though, when DLee goes down, who really replaces him in the lineup (I'm not talking about replacing him in the field, just the lineup)? Not a true backup first baseman, OK so Todd Walker can play some 1B, but he was already in the lineup at 2nd. Yes...it's Neifi again! You must recognize that when DLee goes down he CAN NOT be replaced by a no power .150 hitter. Mabry temporarily should have gone to 1B, Walker stayed at 2B...then get a Kevin Millar/Jeff Conine in short order. But to let Neifi Perez take DLee's spot in the lineup for nearly a month is a fireable offense. I am no longer a Jim Hendry believer. In fact I think he is more responsible for the last 3 years mess than the Dustbuster. It's May 14th...and they've screwed the season. It's not the pitching that has me believing the season is over, it's the lineup and I see no hope for our offense.

OBP and hitting/pitching philosophy...

Rich Hill was charged with 5 walks and conversely we don't even work the count past one pitch. This years schlubs are making CPat look like a patient hitter. Walks are good when your team is up. Somebody on the coaching staff musta missed that point. Walks are bad when you are on the field...when Novoa walked his first batter I wanted to walk out to the mound and take him out of the game myself.

Williamson uncorking wild pitches with men on 3rd base, does he practice this? He covered home nicely on the 2nd WP.

The Cubs haven't had their 1-2 hitters on base in almost 2 weeks. Can't they try to draw a walk?

The Cubs won't lose Monday. For that I'm thankful.

I hope the Cubs lose every game for the rest of the season.

If that's what it takes for Baker to be gone, I'm willing to live with it. They can't win with him, so they might as well lose them all.

Go Mets!

The epitome of Hendry's organization:

- Corey is hitting .289, with 10SB, 4HR and 16RBI, while Pierre is, by far, the worst leadoff man in the game.

- Koronka ia 4-1 with a 3.65 ERA, while Rusch and Hill shouldn't even be pitching in the bigs.

When other teams take your castoffs and make them productive players, your organization is the problem. Consistently lousy talent evaluation/development will be the legacy of the Hendry era.

My vote would be to get this guy to replace Dusty Baker

http://tampabay.devilrays.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/...

I've known Mike since elementary school...he was a tremendous prep athlete. He is a smart guy with incredible baseball knowledge and in game knowledge.

Currently Mike is the pitching coach for Tampa Bay and I suspect he will be a big league manager down the road. Mike is a stats guy too. He is well prepped for every game--against any matchup. He would never make some of these stupid Dusty Baker double switches for the sake of looking active.

He would be great for the young players and would give excellent coaching to them.

This is who I would pick to rally the Cubs.

RE: Q 4

If you have a struggling closer (not saying Dempster is struggling yet, i'd have to see him more then once a week to know), wouldn't a good first step be to go for a 6 out save? putting them in the 8th gets them started during a "less stressful" situation, but still preserves the closer mentality that everyone claims is important.

Not sure if any team has tried this, but I would like it. I could imagine a lot of people would hate it ("if he can't get 3 outs, why make him get 6?"), but overall, i like it.

while Rusch and Hill shouldn't even be pitching in the bigs.

You obviously didn't see today's start by Hill. He actually pitched quite well.

"When other teams take your castoffs and make them productive players, your organization is the problem. Consistently lousy talent evaluation/development will be the legacy of the Hendry era."

Billybucks, I'm happy to divide blame between Baker and Hendry, but I have to disagree with your statement. If C-Pat and Koronka continue to be at least moderate successes on other teams, that would suggest that the problem hasn't been the talent of the players but the ability of the manager to get the players to achieve.

I thought I was aware of every significant weakness Baker has as a manager--and there are so many to keep track of--until I read cubswinthepennant's description of pre-game "practice." It turned my stomach, especially the part about Dusty playing catch with his son. I'm okay with children being on the field, as long as they're not in danger and not distracting the team.* I'm man enough to say it's actually adorable to see Chase Maddux playing with his dad, but then again, I'm not worried that it's detracting from Greg's preparation. A player shouldn't have his kid on the field regularly, if only because it should be something special for the kid, but it's particularly galling when the kid belongs to a manager or coach.

That's who sets the tone, good or bad, for the team. Dusty's pre-game fun with Junior, not to mention the mindless meandering that cubswinthepennant described, sends a clear message that pre-game time is just time to kill before the game starts. It reminds me of when Sammy admitted, casually, to using a corked bat during batting practice and home-run contests "to entertain the fans." I don't really care that he corked during the exhibitions (though it was dishonest and unfair to his competitors), but you know what entertains this fan? A player or manager who actually uses his practice time to practice! Guys like Ichiro use their time in the cage to practice hitting pitches to all fields instead of to see who can hit the longest homer.

It's fine if guys blow off a little steam and have a little fun with those distractions (and yes, it's entertaining for the fans), but the key word is "little": The bulk of your time should be spent getting prepared for today's game and future games. If you're on a team that's won 14 of 15 (Do the 7 against the Cubs really count?), I'm not going to quibble with ANYTHING you do during pre-game time, nor would I have given Babe Ruth any guff for how he spent his pre-game and post-game (and game-game, for that matter). But if your team has lost 12 of 13, with a particularly notable stretch in which you scored 11 runs in 13 games . . .

*You'd think that after Junior Baker cames inches away from both disrupting a live play and getting run over--saved only by the Gold Glove of J.T. Snow--that Dusty might have learned his lesson. Then again, you'd think a guy who'd been in the National League 30+ years would have learned the double switch by now.

"Koronka ia 4-1 with a 3.65 ERA, while Rusch and Hill shouldn't even be pitching in the bigs."

Billybucks,

Did you honestly think Koronka was going to amount to anything at the time of the trade? 3 of his wins of come aganist below .500 teams in Sea, Tampa, and Minny. His other win was an 11-3 blowout. Koronka is just 2k6 speak for Runyles Herdandez, Cory Lidle, and Glendon Rusch all guys that the last 3 years got off to good starts and have sucked since then.

"Corey is hitting .289, with 10SB, 4HR and 16RBI, while Pierre is, by far, the worst leadoff man in the game."

Billybucks,

Yeah and the start of the season he was sucking so bad that they were pondering DFA'ing him. If you have ever seen Patterson play they guy can get on hot streaks (May and June 03 and August of 05) and then goes back to playing like crap. If Hendry would have kept him and he was as bad as he was last year you would be bitching about that. He was never going to make it here partly because of people like you who would have been all over his ass the 1st time he made a mistake. Beggers cant be choosers.

*when Novoa walked his first batter I wanted to walk out to the mound and take him out of the game myself.*

I would piss myself laughing if someone did run onto the field and make the "gimme the right-hander" motion during play...especially if there was someone in the bullpen.

Bochy empathizes with Baker

Padres skipper praises fellow manager despite Cubs' struggles

http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/n...

I don't think theres a way to use a small sampling of this season's statistics to criticize Hendry for getting rid of Patterson, especially if we're still at the point of the season where in one game where C-Pat went 2-3 with a homer, his OPS jumped 74 points.

His career Cubs line-549/2176, 99 doubles, 21 triples, 70 homers, 86 sb/23 cs, 111 bb/552 k. That gives him a line of .252/.293/.414.

He's hitting .289/.333/.474 this year. It obvoiusly won't last, especially if he keeps going with his 5 bb/12 k pace.

Of course, I'm still faithfully riding on his inflated statistics until they pop for my utility spot in the Rod Beck's America fantasy keeper league.

DAVE: (big lowitzki) "You obviously didn't see today's start by Hill. He actually pitched quite well."

What THE F ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! Dave- The Typical blinded Cubbie fan!!

"Quite well..." is walking Giles FOUR TIMES. How many WALKS came in to score today Big Dave?!!!! HILL HAS TWO PITCHES and A HISTORY OF CONTROL PROBLEMS!! Even Ron Was talking about it today from the 5th inning on.

You obviously don't know what "quite well..." means or you use superlatives for mediocrity.

I couldn't disagree more, and the stats back me up. Hill needs a better (different) pitching coach or more time in the minors - however, at his age, the glass is half empty rather than half full.

From Al:

"Watching Rich Hill closely, you can see why he has trouble at this level, and why I will continue to call him a Quadruple-A player. He nibbles around the plate with that curveball. Triple-A hitters will get fooled by that and swing and whiff at it many times; this accounts for Hill's huge K numbers at Iowa this year. Major league hitters -- excellent example, Giles, a patient hitter -- will lay off that sort of thing, and thus, Hill walks too many people, thus leading to far too many runs."

BillyBucks: Right on, brotha! We waste so much talent its sick. I'm still disturbed about the career of Kyle Farnsworth.

As for Rich Hill, he's Steve Trachsel/Felix Heredia revisited. Same with Angel Guzman. All they do is nibble. Add Kerry Woods' development as a PITCHER to the equation and you have to laugh at Larry Rothschild.

Take Baker out of the equation. How can you justify keeping Clines and Rothschild?

As for 1b, how can you not have one decent slugger in the minors to bring up to play first? Why even have a AAA team? Hasn't Brandon Sing been in the organization long enough to merit a chance? Especially given the dire circumstances?

I would like to see Cub fans organize a one game boycott. A crowd of zero. Get the Media guys behind it and tell the Cubs to stick it. I'd love to see the panic in McPhail's eyes. DON'T GO!!! Make it this Tuesday. Don't attend the game. It would FORCE the Cubs to make some serious changes. Fear is a great motivator.

I think we are all missing the point here!!

The point is that the team is playing like absolute crap and it is not because they are BAD players.

Todd Walker - Great Hitter
Juan Pierre - Has always been a solid leadoff hitter
Aramis Ramirez - Fucking All Star
Barrett - One of best hitting catchers in game
Jacque Jones - Average, Quality hitter
Cedeno - Playing very well
Murton - Playing very well

The team is not bad, they are playing like shit!!! You have to ask yourself why???

How is it that these players could only produce 2 hits against a mediocre pitcher at best???

It can only point back in one direction. It is the person responsible for their development and their motivation. They are not playing to their potential and it is not just one or a couple. It is all of them!!!! There is something wrong with the entire team.

Greg Maddux is the only player playing very well...

Why is that.....?

If you will notice, Maddux is the only player that requires absolutely no coaching, no development, and no motivation. Why is he playing well, and everyone else playing like shit??

This is not a champoiinship team. This is as much Hendry's fault as it is Dusty's. However, Dusty should at least be able to play .500 ball with these players. He simply is not a good manager. Sorry all of you dusty supporters, but you no its true.

This taken from Cubs.com tonight:

"It's never over in this game," Williamson said. "To blame ... Dusty, no, absolutely not. It's not his fault. If anything, you congratulate him. I think he's done a great job through this stretch."

The players want to shoulder the blame- good. They should. But Scott Williamson- are you on crack? Congratulate Dusty? WTF? If you wanna point out that it's not Dusty's fault, fine. But no need to say something as ridiculous as "congratulate him." I laughed my ass off when I read that. I guess SW should congratulate Dusty, seeing as how SW or any other players are never held accountable.

One question: if the players don't hold Dusty accountable, and Dusty doesn't hold the players or himself accountable, where do we go from here?

Yea and Williamson's comments were laced with EXCUSES. Stuff like "we're crushing the ball but not getting any breaks", etc...Take responsibility dude. If GE doesn't hit their quartely numbers, people get put on development programs. If they miss the mark for an entire year-heads roll. Two straight years? 100 years?

The White Sox are playing the Twins on ESPN right now...they just came from behind and their lead off hitter (Podsednik) hit a triple and drove in 2 runs to allow the Sox to tie the game...The Cubs need a lead-off hitter who actually can HIT the ball and drive in some runs at crucial times...Pierre just isn't getting the job done this year (he's not getting on base enough either)...The White Sox are only paying their lead-off hitter around $2 Million this year and he comes through for them...Hendry has locked into a very expensive contract with Pierre -- according to ESPN the Cubs are paying Juan Pierre about $5.75 Million this year...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile...

The Cubs just don't seem to get a good return on their investment in MANY critical players.

Scott: Seriously, If you want to be a fairweather White Sox fan, take it over to exile in Wrigleyville.

Your kind are certainly welcome there.

ESPN numbers for Pierre (the $5.75 Million Man):

AVG .225 | HR 0 | RBI 2 | OBP .269 | SLG .291

ESPN numbers for Podsednik (probably doesn't include his RBIs from the last hour):

AVG .279 | HR 0 | RBI 7 | OBP .353 | SLG .377

Wait, you think Scott Podsednik is good. He's playing better than Pierre, but he's still no good. Podsednik plays in an AL lineup, the pitcher does not bat ahead of him. Last season he had 25 RBI in over 500 AB. Pierre managed twice that many last season.

Am I right in thinking that Pierre is only a one year deal? Will be interesting to see next year's outfield- Murton LF, Pie CF, JJ RF. Still any chance Cubs could get Tejada in the offseason (by the grace of God) and move Cedeno to 2nd? Ah, screw it. I'm dreaming. Like it would make a bit of difference.

Nazey,

No one is to blame because everyone, including Dusty, is trying so/too hard.

Once everyone just stops trying, the team will immediately zip into first place and we can start setting up the rotation for the playoffs.

Not to poop on the parade but in about a week the Cubs enter a 2 and a half month stretch against some of the best teams in baseball.

These are teams with good pitching and good offense. We can't hit even lousy pitching, and we can't even score enough to beat a lousy offense.

And it is not like we are losing 4-3 or 3-2 most of the time. We are not even in most of the games we lose. And its not like we are only losing to other teams best players, we are getting shutdown and beaten by other teams worst players.

One things coaches can preach is better patience at the plate and working counts. Apparently our coaches really dont care about this as we treat innings on offense like it is a lightning round on a game show. The object isn't to see the least amount of pitches and who can get back to the bench faster. If it was we would be in 1st place.

Just like previous Cubs teams the farther they get away from spring training the worse their approach to the game is, both batting and fundamentally. There is only one explanation for that. In spring training they have coaches all over the place and take the time to go over these things to get the players up to speed for the start of the season. But once the season starts, coaching ends. Without being prepared everyday they mentally lose their edge offensively and defensively because no is teaching anything anymore.

I have noticed it the last 4 years. The Cubs always look patient at the plate, good fundamentals to start the year but as the season goes on that eventually goes away. We all saw it this year. Thats the coaching staff not doing their job.

Scott,

You really gotta cut out the White Sox worship on this board. It used to be annoying, but now it's become borderline obnoxious. Are you just trolling?

took a while to read through all the whining...ive been away a few days.

so this is all still the manager's fault.

excuse me while i laugh at a poor excuse for a poor excuse.

seriously...whatever...

yes, i think some of you have lost your f'n minds at the same rate this team is losing games.

not liking baker is one thing, but the when he gets the blame in the dumpster game, still...dusty could find a way to be blamed for everything...micromanage every move and 1 single move some people wouldnt make deems the whole purpose of a loss.

seriously...i dunno whether to laugh or cry at the top of my lungs "would you please watch the players a bit more often"

this isnt a crew of kids out there...i do believe most everyone out there who isnt a kid doesnt need to be told how to be a professional baseball player or what is expected of one.

at what point does a professional put in his proper role become responsible for his own actions? seriously...

theroit not playing a lot isnt causing losses...1-2ab's in a game doesnt make up for the other 30-40+...etc etc...you're talking about a 30% vs. 35% outcome in most cases as is it...yes, you wanna go with the best possible outcome in most cases, but hinging an entire game (time after time after time) on a few minor plays or things that arent even worth bitching about...whatever...

ya know who screwed up...the chicago cubs.

Crunch you have the arrogance of Caeser and the intelligence of a Caesar Salad.

What THE F ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!...How many WALKS came in to score today Big Dave?!!!!

Well after your rant, I really changed my mind. Wait...just kidding...emotional rants are worthless.

Yes, Hill was wild today. I am no denying that. But I still think he pitched fairly well (maybe "quite well" was a bit strong). He gave up one run in the fifth off of two doubles. He gave up two runs in the sixth. One of these runs started with a base on balls. The other run scored because of Williamson's wild pitches, but he reached base on a double.

So to answer your question - only one run scored from a walk. So please get your facts straight before you attempt to go attack me with a baseless rant.

Funny...because everyone was praising Zamrano's recent start when he had five walks...

I don't think Hill be a superstar. But I do think that Hill can be a solid back of the rotation starter.

superj...stop crying like a child every time i say something and just say the opposite or respond to what i say.

then repeat to yourself

this is the internet...there is no me and you...

then try to express a view other than "crunch is blah blah. i rule. everything you say is wrong."

"Name the last person who managed the Cubs and then got another big league managing job. I can't think of one."

The most successful was Joe McCarthy. Of course I'm going back almost 80 years. The Cubs dumped McCarthy a year after he took them to the '29 World Series. In 1931 the American League team from New York hired him. In the next 12 years he was only able to win 7 WS championships. He sure must have missed the Cubs.

The bitter shell of Leo Durocher was also hired by the Astros after he promised he'd leave the dugout phones on the wall and not throw them on the field. Bob Kennedy managed Oakland for a year, too. Yeah, pretty sad.

Part of the post-Cubs manager issue is that, at least in recent years, the Cubs have not had many high profile managers before Dusty. So when you only manage the cubs, you have a limited resume to show other teams how good you are.

Someone like Dusty, once he is fired, will find another job for another team next year if he is interested. Because he has a resume that appears to show that he is a decent manager. And in the current state of baseball manager cycles, old managers continue to get recycled.

Assuming this team continues to play on a 60 win season, who else other than Walker and Pierre will be traded to a contender? I know, I know. Pierre has been nothing near a world beater, but somebody's gonna want him somewhere.

If Wood can string 6-8 starts together, do you think he may be dealt?

How long would you guess before Pie is brought up to play on a regular basis?

I wonder at what point managment will decide to officially tank the season. Do you think 15 back at say, June 1st could do the trick?

I'm just looking for any thing to look forward to. Anything. Some sign of some progress towards anything other than the current crap.

Possible trades if the Cubs continue to suck:

#1 - Walker
#2 - Pierre
#3 - Wood
#4 - Mabry
#5 - Jones
#6 - Maddux
#7 - Eyre/Howry/Dempster

I could see legitmate reasons why each of these players could be traded, and why teams would be interested in each of them.

And there are people like Hairston/Neifi. Teams may be looking for a utility player to fill some holes - especially someone like Neifi who can play great defense as a late inning defensive sub.

Jone, Eyre, Howry, and Neifi all have tough contracts to trade though, so I don't see any of them being traded.

Maddux would be near impossible to trade from a PR perspective, but you never know with the Cubs. I think they believe that they immune to to bad PR.

s.williamson...wanted by practically every team out there preseason and probally still now...

as far as high end guys go he's in there with pierre to anyone needing a leadoff hitter and t.walker to an american league team or any team in a bad need for a 2nd baseman who can provide a decent bat.

Oh...I forgot Scott Williamson.

And Rich Hill could also get traded to a team looking for a lefy bullpen arm.

SM:
"I hope the Cubs lose every game for the rest of the season.

If that's what it takes for Baker to be gone, I'm willing to live with it. They can't win with him, so they might as well lose them all."

It is sad that Cubs fans say things like this. When Dusty is not managing this team (or like in the past 98 losing years) and they play like SHIT, fans like this say then?

I understand some fans just have a hatrid for Dusty and that many think he should be fired, but if ANYONE thinks this team has ANY chance with ___ (insert the manager who you think is the greatest ever) as manager, you are not watching this team close enough.

I was at the game today and it was the WORST display of baseball I have every seen the Cubs play in person. THE WORST!!! How a GM can spend basically $100 million dollars on this piece is shit is embarassing. And this is the man this GREAT organization gave an extenstion to. We bring up minor league pitcher after minor league pitcher (Williams, Hill, Novoa, Guzman, Ryu, Weurtz) and they alsmot all fail immidiately (none of them can throw strikes. In the offseason we sign Rusch to a two year deal and he has played sooooo bad that it is amazing he is even on the big league roster anymore. He has proven OVER and OVER that he is not a starting pitcher (but hendry gave him two years) and he has proven he is not much better coming out of the pen (Ryu had to be brought up to pitch long relief), so where is he going to play? Release him and just eat your mistake hendry. Then hendry gives up 3 top 20 prospect pitchers for a leadoff htiter who can't get on base and can't throw the ball to the IF. And there is basically no chance we resign him, so those 3 prospects are gone with basically nothing to show for them.

I would NEVER root for the team to lose, but I will continue to boo the team when the play like crap like they did to day. And I will continue to scream constantly on here and at the games about how bad of a position Hendry has continued to put this team in. My yelling at the game actually got through to a couple other fans who didn't see what I saw about Hendry. After long talks, they saw where I was coming from and started agreeing with me. They still think baker should go, but they now see Hendry is the main culprit and how BIG of a mistake it was to sign Hendry to an extesntion and that will put the Cubs 2-3 years off schedule again.

Ok, my rant's over, let the scorching commense, but keep yelling for Dusty to be fired (I agree 100% he should be gone if they don't make the playoffs this year, so keep that in mind as I have said it since the end of last year), but his departure means absolutely nothing good for the Cubs as they will continue to be the laughing stock of all sports until hendry gets his fat doughnut eating ass shipped out of town.

Thanks for listening to my venting...Seeing this game in person just put me over the edge at this organization for this year.

And A-Ram would have all kinds of teams interested in him. But his odd contract with the player option, injury issues, and laziness could make teams show caution in dealing for him. It would have to be a big money team.

What about bringing in Cito Gaston?

125+ games to go...50+ til its time to think about buy/sell/hold...should be fun...or not.

I hope they keep Howry, Eyre, and Dempster. And I think they will. Even if at some point they decide to scrap the season, it would be too financially devastating for TribCo to pay ALL these guys with new big contracts and then trade or release them (ie, Howry, Eyre, Jones, Pierre).

They have a strong 7,8,9 inning bullpen now- with all 3 guys signed for 2 years after this one. They'll probably not pick up Wood's option, nor Maddux's. They'll go into next season with Z, Prior, and Miller. The other 2 starters will be interesting- the rest of this year should be used to see who from the minors can be a 5th starter. Would be nice to see them go after a decent starter in the offseason, ala Zito, Hudson, Mulder, Pettitte, maybe Dontrelle or someone like that (wishful thinking- I know not all are free agents, but some are and most will be after 07).

Yes, this team needs a new direction. That's obvious. I don't think it has to be a total overhaul though- though that may not be a bad way to go. Let's see- DLee at first, Murton in left, Pie in CF, Cedeno as SS, and probably Barrett at catcher. Walk will be gone, so will Pierre. Hopefully Wood will be gone (if for no other reason than not having to worry about his contract and unreliability). Any chance in hell Jones will be gone? I know most of us hope so, but 3 year contract might dictate what they do with him.

If Murton is gonna be there LFer and Pie their CFer, they have to realize they need serious thunder in RF. Carlos Lee? Miggy Cabrera? The next 6 weeks are gonna dictate all our concerns I'm sure.

Personally, I'd hate to see any one of Dempster, Howry or Eyre go. This is because my dillusional mind has already wandered off to next season. In my little fantasy land, I imagine the Cubs signing 3 or 4 big impact free agents over the winter. In that my little Utopia, strong, proven bullpen hands are needed to carry the game from the 7th inning on. None of the three are perfect, but they're far beyond the average stock.

I could easily see Mabry disappear ala 2005's Hollandsworth. You know just kind of with out a trace, one day he's shipped to Atlanta or somewhere for player to be named later and a case of beer.

Not that I'd be saddened by it really, but I can't imagine team dealing for Jones and his 3-year contract. Maybe the Yankees (see Lawton 2005)? They seem to be in a desperate need for a corner outfielder.

Maddux. Man. That'd be a tough one. I originally thought, no way...he wouldn't want to leave. But, hello? I'm sure the guy would love to move on to a team that could consistently score, let's say, 2 runs a game on a consistent basis. I'd like to see him escape and pick up another ring. Maybe NYY or Boston?

I could see a team like San Diego or the Angels making a run at Maddux at the trade deadline, at least if he keeps throwing well.

Shoot...the Angels have Jeff Weaver throwing every five days, and he has been as bad, if not worse, the Williams, Guzman, or Hill.

I too would hate to see Eyre/Howry/Dempster go, but I could see a lot of teams making some offers.

it would be too financially devastating for TribCo to pay ALL these guys with new big contracts and then trade or release them

How so? TribCo would save money by trading them. When you trade a player, the new team pays them. They won't be releasing any of them, other than maybe pierre at the end of the season when is contract expires.

"125+ games to go...50+ til its time to think about buy/sell/hold...should be fun...or not."

Well. I suppose that'd be right after the All-Star game then...usual timing. I guess I'm more in the mood for some provocative, early horse trading.

I'd give a portion of my left nut to see the Cubs magicallly rebound. If for no other reason than it's just going to seem like so much longer until the NFL's kickoff weekend. I've gotta to have some thing to tie me over. Then it'll be right back to obsessing about the Cubs from the day after the Super Bowl on.

Cubs as tired of talking as they are of losing

By Dave van Dyck
Tribune staff reporter
May 14, 2006

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

{..."This isn't football," infielder Todd Walker said. "We've had people yell and scream every day since [the losing] started. Believe me, we've had our meetings, our yelling, our talks. That's all worn out now."

As for the blame being assessed to Baker by media and fans, Walker said: "We're all to blame, from the top to the bottom."

"Fans have a right to say whatever they want," Barrett said. "They have a right to blame whoever they think is at fault. My opinion is, the players are getting paid way too much money to blame anybody else. We just have to look at ourselves."...}

Scott...stop posting articles. We all read the same papers.

"I could see a team like San Diego or the Angels making a run at Maddux at the trade deadline, at least if he keeps throwing well."

Yeah. True. LA and SD are a lot closer to Las Vegas too. I'm sure Maddog could take to settling closer to his native digs. It'd be cool to see him land with a AL team wouldn't. Most of those cats haven't seen much of him. I'd think he could mow them down.

It'd be cool to see him land with a AL team wouldn't. Most of those cats haven't seen much of him. I'd think he could mow them down.

He has always said he didn't want to pitch in the AL. I think part of it is because of the DH, but also because of his knowledge of hitters.

"I'd give a portion of my left nut to see the Cubs magicallly rebound. If for no other reason than it's just going to seem like so much longer until the NFL's kickoff weekend. I've gotta to have some thing to tie me over. Then it'll be right back to obsessing about the Cubs from the day after the Super Bowl on."

Word

Chris - a portoin? How large of a portion? How much of your nut is a Cubs playoff birth worth?

and yes...I cannot type...

"Chris - a portoin? How large of a portion? How much of your nut is a Cubs playoff birth worth?"

Hillarious.

I don't know. Maybe the whole fricken thing if it led to a World Series ring.

Scott-
Please keep posting the articles. Some just don't like the content of the articles you post. Thanks!!

Manny - it has nothing to do with the content. Did I say anything about the content?

You are really good at putting words in people's mouths, regardless of what they actually say.

I just think that lenghty articles in the comments are really annoying. Especially when they are just posted without commentary from a person who talks more about the White Sox than the Cubs.

Dave-
I said "some" I did not say you. If the show fits you, then wear it, if not then its not you. Relax man...

If you don't want to read it, don't...pretty simple. I appreactiate him posting the links, especially antyhing outside of teh Trib as I don't read anything else.

*Cubs as tired of talking as they are of losing*

Then QUIT PLAYING, because I'm sick of WATCHING.

*I would like to see Cub fans organize a one game boycott. A crowd of zero. Get the Media guys behind it and tell the Cubs to stick it. I'd love to see the panic in McPhail's eyes. DON'T GO!!! Make it this Tuesday. Don't attend the game. It would FORCE the Cubs to make some serious changes. Fear is a great motivator.*

Yeah, that'll show Hendry. The PA will still say the PAID attendance is 38K even though Wrigley will be empty.

The only guys suffering will be the concessionaires.

And people seem to forget that about half of the park is filled with tourists or people there to go and have a good time. NOT diehard Cubs fans.

And what would a boycott show?? that we are unhappy with teh team. I think the constant booing send that message loud and clear. It isn't like the Trib is going to spend $200 million on payroll if the Cubs fans stop coming. The Trib spends MORE THAN ENOUGh money to have a winning team year in and year out. They just don't have the GM to get the job done.

Dave:

I guess I imagine the Cubs having to pay some of those guys' salaries in order to move them. Sosa, for instance, comes to mind (though I know it's a much different situation with these guys). But imagine the Cubs actually trying to trade Jones with a straight face. They'd have to provide some sort of incentive. Also, I think either Howry or Eyre (can't remember which one) was offered a helluva lot more money by the Cubs than anyone else. So I'm not sure they'd wanna pay these guys to leave, though I know it would only be for this year.

But imagine the Cubs actually trying to trade Jones with a straight face. They'd have to provide some sort of incentive.

Not so sure...Jones' OPS against RHP is in the high .900's. He has actually hit much better this year than peopel give him credit for.

But I see what you mean. But most of the buyers should be teams with money - Boston, NY, Angels, etc, so I wouldn't expect the Cubs to trade and pay salary of many players.

One of the things that the team mentioned when they introduced Dusty was that he would be able to recruit FA's. If he has such a great reputation with players why aren't busting down doors to play here? We are paying guys more then market to get them here and that should be a pretty good indicator what players think of this team and organization.

The only thing this organization has going for it is the damn stadium. I'm sick of hearing about how everyone loves the park..blah blah blah. It needs to be razed! Start over with a new park, no excuses, new management, no ballpark history.

"And Rich Hill could also get traded to a team looking for a lefy bullpen arm."

Oh, sure Dave. Teams are lining up for a lefty reliever with control problems like Rich Hill.

From Dave - Post 114:
"Scott...stop posting articles. We all read the same papers. "
--

Dave, who the hell gave you the right to tell others what to post?

Just wondering.

Oh, sure Dave. Teams are lining up for a lefty reliever with control problems like Rich Hill.

I am pretty sure that a lot of teams would be interested in Hill. Then again, you are the same one who was complaining about all of the walks that Hill allowed to score. And when I called you on it, you didn't respond.

"Greg Maddux is the only player playing very well...

"Why is that.....?

"If you will notice, Maddux is the only player that requires absolutely no coaching, no development, and no motivation."

Great comment, Matt. It's the most succinct and compelling summation I've heard yet.

For those who included Bobby Cox in the answer to question 12, especially guys like me who admire how he criticizes players publically only in the rarest of circumstances, here's a timely nugget: http://www.ajc.com/braves/content/sports/brav...

Dave, who the hell gave you the right to tell others what to post?

That is fair...I'll shut up about it.

It's funny in that non-haha sense because at this time last year Cub fans were bashing Hendry & Baker about the bully and Baker's misuse of it. Now the bully is solid and we're complaining about the rotation and lineup. For anyone who wants to relive the glories of Baker bashing from this time last year go to
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/radio/mlb_r... 4-26-05 show and listen to MLB.com's statistical guru Cory Schwartz bash Baker during his Fantasy baseball show. It's hilarious but you'll have to listen to dated fantasy info.

1.Not an either/or question. I want speed, OBP,base running and the ability to go deep into the count with my leadoff hitter.
2. Yes
3. The short answer is that if they're tired, they come out but a lot depends on what kind of pitcher they are. A guy who doesn't throw as hard and uses control and changeups to keep hitters off balance will tned to stay in the game longer. If a good enough pitcher isn't available when the starter is tired then you have the problem, not me.
4. Do I have other options? Is the player known for slumps? Why is the closer being beat would have to be asked before deciding.
5. I have to assume that if you bring a player up, you consider him a major leaguer or there is no other option. He plays until he proves he can't but wouldn't hit at the top of the order either way.
6. All of it. You provide the 40 man roster and I'll chose which makes my team, I'll let you know if we need something that isn't on the 40 man roster.
8. Sergeant, conductor, preacher. It's all my way. They do the playing, I bring it together. They need to believe that what I tell them will make them winners.
9. If they play the way I ask them to, they will keep playing. If not they sit, get traded or released.
10. You blame him for playing him. He shouldn't have gone north with him. You can't change a guy that's slow but you also can't change a guy who is lazy, what the hell was he doing in the minors?
13. I'll win as soon as I can get the team that will play the way I want them to play. How soon can you get them for me?
14. They ask the questions, I answer them.

As a general manager, I'd be far more concerned with the answers to these:

1. What is the single most important attribute for a baseball manager? Does it vary on a team-by-team basis?
2. What is the single most important task for a baseball manager?
a. Making tactical decisions in-game
b. Keeping the players at the top of their game
c. Overseeing the teaching of fundamentals
d. Strategic lineup decisions - roles, responsibilities, platoons
e. Dealing with the media and being the public face of the club
f. Other
3. What is the single most important quality you look for in a general manager?

*****

I don't need a genius to run my team. I don't even need someone who knows what OBP means. I do need someone I can work with, who will be the field captain to my general in a productive, not antagonistic relationship.

In-game tactical decisions will cost you maybe a game a year. Heck, even making out the worst possible lineup - which most managers don't do - won't cost you that much.

Having players quit on you, or not perform up to expectations, or fail to develop - that's a franchise killer. Picking a manager who gets the most out of his players, on the other hand, will make you look a lot better.

It's not clear to me that the manager needs to be an X's-and-O's kind of guy, who knows all the odds and what the statistically-maximal action is. Those sorts of things have been studied, and their average effect on winning is relatively small. Putting the right players out on the field is 95% of the game; getting the most out of them is a large chunk of the rest. Of course, that's not the visible chunk of the manager's job, and it's hard to define the best way to get the most out of players.

BTW, when Dusty came to the Cubs, he was coming off a series of teams where he did do a lot of this very well:
a. Dusty's teams generally didn't lose lots of time to injuries. He had Livan Hernandez there, but he also established platoons and gave Calvin Murray a regular OF replacement role for the aging OF he had, etc.
b. Veterans wanted to play for Dusty, so they signed for less money and tried to stay in his good graces.
c. He built a good relationship with the fans through the media, and used that to deflect criticism and continue to keep the fans interested and shelling out money.

It's not clear to me how much of this is Baker taking advantage of Barry Bonds, but for what it's worth, Baker has demonstrated significant aptitude at some parts of the manager's job.

Greatest. Post. Ever. Lots of knowledgeable fans here--excellent comments.

Over at my blog I commented that had Bobby Cox or Leyland seen Perez and I think it was Pierre doing their little dance before the game in the midst of a long losing streak, they would have been balled out or even punched out.

I will say that this: "In-game tactical decisions will cost you maybe a game a year. Heck, even making out the worst possible lineup - which most managers don't do - won't cost you that much." is garbage. If a manager does not know how to properly maintain/use his pitchers in snowballs and affects each game thereafter.

Zoner asserts "If a manager does not know how to properly maintain/use his pitchers in snowballs and affects each game thereafter."

First, "maintenance" of pitchers is not the manager's job - it's the pitching coach and the pitcher who have to take responsibility for that. (Yes, the manager hires the pitching coach, but it's hard to quantify the differences between pitching coaches other than Mazzone-is-godlike.)

The manger's role is primarily confined to pulling him when he's ineffective (or tired). There is certainly room for argument on whether or not Dusty Baker is good at that, and whether he drew the wrong lesson from Livan Hernandez.

On the flip side, having Kerry Wood miss time can hardly be a shock to anybody - he was damaged goods long before Baker came around. Carlos Zambrano seems to have taken well to the ride-the-starter approach. There's certainly more of a case for Prior being abused. While I feel his handling of Prior was unwise, it's not indefensible. Any manager that pulled Prior early from his 2002-2003 starts just because he'd reached a pitch limit would have been drawn and quartered by everyone, and quite possibly fired - the Cubs were in a pennant race, he was their best pitcher, and he was blowing people away night after night.

I'll bet that if Prior had been pulled after 100 pitches routinely in 2002-2003, this site (and many, many others) would have been screaming for Dusty's head as the bullpen blew winnable games.

Sure it is. The manager maintains his staff by how many times he gets them up in the pen and by how often he uses them.

The manager does have control over bullpen usage (both warmups and game decisions). That largely doesn't apply to starters, except when it comes time to pull them. The case for pulling Prior early in 2002-2003 is what I don't think is indefensible. Exhibit A for Dusty's supposed ineptitude is Prior and Wood breaking down, not some random reliever who should be easily replaceable.

Dusty Baker was in a tough spot in 2002-2003 - he had to win games with an untrustworthy bullpen (some of which is his fault, but most of which is not), and hence rode his starters hard. They're paying the price for that now, but they did make it to the playoffs. Does anyone really think Dusty wouldn't have been pilloried, and faced a real chance of being fired, if Prior had been routinely pulled from starts after 100 pitches, and the bullpen blew a few games?

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