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Again I ask: If baseball managers have no effect on the game, why do we need them?

Canepa's column today addresses the fact that we can't blame Bud Black for the Padres losses. The gist of it is that managers can only do so much with what they're given, so it doesn't make sense to blame them for losses.

The Padres won 89 games in 2007, and my immediate guess – well, it's more than a guess – is that manager Bud Black didn't get credit for one of them. But the team's 74 losses? Ask our angry villagers, who carry torches for their baseball team, but not their managers.

That's how it is. Managers can't win. But they can lose.

I'll say this, I carry a torch for this team, but I'd like to set the players and coaches on fire.

Major league manager is the most overrated position of influence in sports, yet when a team goes bad, as the Padres have in 2008, the arrow immediately swings toward the head chef. Black is cooking with tofu, but check my e-mails and voice mails (please).

First off, I'm not checkin' your e-mails and voice mails for you. What the eff. Second off, the culinary merits of tofu notwithstanding, are we saying that Bud Black is a good manager? If we gave Bud Black raw steak and a live lobster, would he be able to make a surf and turf that anyone would want to eat? I've grilled beef and I've tossed various shelled sea animals into boiling pots of hot water. Does that make me a good chef? To me, the great chefs are the ones that succeed with the ingredients given to them (the whole point of the Iron Chef show). Similarly, great managers need to do the best job that they can with the players they have. Is that what Bud Black is doing? Why can't we critique him for it if we feel he's failing?

And third off, and the point that brings me to my point, if we already don't credit managers with wins and if we shouldn't be blaming managers for losses, then seriously what the heck are they doing? Isn't the basis of their job predicated on getting wins and avoiding losses? We're not allowed to judge a manager on the basis of how his team performs?

I will never understand the mentality that says we can't blame a manager for a team's win-loss record. Obviously, the manager isn't the only party involved, and I'm not saying we should fire the guy, but if there were just one place that Baseball Fan is allowed to place blame when his/her favorite team's season has gone bad... that place is obviously the manager's office.