3 Nights in August Revisited

A couple of articles to compliment the discussion in the diaries regarding 3 Nights in August.

First, Dwight Jaynes and Kerry Robinson respond to the critiques of Kerry in the book. If I were Kerry Robinson trying to make a big league ballclub, I'd probably be a little irked that somebody wrote a book saying I had a bad attitude. To play devil's advocate though, Kerry Robinson is portrayed as a player who feels he could be a starter, so prospective managers can take solace that he wants to succeed. According to the book, Robinson's big flaw was not understanding the importance of the particular role he was playing. In feeling that he was a starter, Robinson would treat bench work as beneath him. Allegedly, of course. That would jibe with this Robinson quote from the article:

"I was in the field," he says. "Guys told me he'd say things about me. But the funny thing was, he had an open-door policy and when I'd go in to ask him what I could do to help my situation, he never gave an indication of how he felt about me."
Larussa felt that he was telling Kerry Robinson that he was a role player and not a starter and Kerry Robinson claims he never got a clear indication of what La Russa had in mind. It all works out.

Slate's review of the book throws it on the other side of the Moneyball fence. As if there is such a thing as a fence dividing two camps entrenched, one side aiming statistical bazookas at the enemy's foxholes dug out of baseball tradition.
Just because La Russa is ridiculously self-involved doesn't mean he should be ignored--after all, he's managed four World Series teams. But his conventional baseball charm doesn't necessarily mean that he knows more than the baby-faced geeks in the front office.
Personally, I don't understand why the two (if there indeed are two) modes of thought can't be complimentary to one another. The importance of on base percentage has been demonstrated, but you can't ignore La Russa's philosophy that once runners are on base, the baserunners and the hitter should adopt a more aggressive mentality. I mean, that's just baseball strategy. Who died and made Moneyball gospel that all "forward thinking" fans should abide by?

Having read both books, I can confidently say that each side can stand to learn something from the other. And I also don't think that it's fair to say that they're on completely different sides of a fence. Both critiques of 3 Nights fail to mention how much analysis goes into La Russa's writing of the lineup cards each night. How much La Russa studies the individual matchups to work out any advantages he might have. By the same token, nobody ever really comments anymore on Miguel Tejada and how he was the whipping boy of Moneyball. The player who refused to abide by the new school rules and still continually found success. In both cases, the respective authors are effectively conceding that there's more to be learned.

Open minds, people. Don't be afraid to observe with an open mind.
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