Friday, September 22, 2006

So Let Me Get This Straight...

Joe Girardi, almost certainly gone.
Buddy Bell, most likely not gone.
Clint Hurdle, probably not gone, either.

Clearly, I've been thinking about this managing baseball games thing the wrong way. Differing opinions on the actual value of a manager aside, it used to be that winning or losing was the measure by which a manager could check his job security. Apparently, this is no longer the case.

Now, Girardi is not quite the spotless saint of the double switch that some folks would have you believe. His bullpen usage patterns can best be described as quirky, his notion of the defensive replacement apparently precludes the word "defense", and it's never a good idea to tell the guy who signs your paychecks to shut the [word redacted for the sake of Boston University hockey fans] up. On the other hand, Girardi did get sandbagged by the Marlins' ever-so-aboveboard ownership, having signed on to run a team that had guys like Mike Lowell (oops), Josh Beckett, (sorry about that), and a few other guys who actually need to shave more than once a week on it. Believe it or not, I honestly didn't think the Marlins were going to be all that bad this year - no team with Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera, and the double fistful of top prospects the Marlins had looted from other teams over the winter really should be - but even so, Girardi deserves a lot of credit for keeping the team in the race long after squads with multiples of the Marlins' payroll have quit or been kicked to the curb. That by itself doesn't mean he should keep his job, but it's a good recommendation for whoever hires him next.

Sometimes, the combo of management and manager just doesn't work. Just ask Paul DePodesta and Jim Tracy about that one. In cases like that, if there's truly a philosophical incompatibility, it's inevitable and appropriate that someone move on. Usually it's the manager in that case, simply because water and power both flow downhill. If that's the case in Florida, then the Cubs are most likely going to get themselves a pretty good manager next year, one who clearly knows how to handle kids better than Dusty Baker ever did, and it will work out best for everyone.

If, however, this is about Girardi telling Jeffty Loria to put a sock in his piehole rather than continuing to rant and thus potentially aliening the umpire even further, then it's just pathetic. Once again, Loria will have taken a hatchet to his own team, and this time there isn't even the clear benefit of a looming MLB buyout to explain why.
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