I have a lot of trouble feeling for baseball managers when they get fired or hired or whatever. Typically, in order to even be a manager of a baseball club, you have to be of a certain breed and that breed necessarily includes having played the game, because heaven forbid you express an opinion about baseball tactics or strategy without having actually played the game. That's not to say that I don't think there are advantages to be had by having a great manager in place, but rather, I'm not sure what those things are and neither is anybody else.
It's innate, people. You don't know baseball until you've played a couple dozen years of it, and only then do you realize, because it's not teachable, that right handed hitters see the ball better out of a left handed pitcher's hand.
That is something YOU don't know because YOU haven't played baseball at the professional level for 20 years.
Among other things you don't know:
- How to write nine names on a card in something other than alphabetical order.
- How to count to 100 and have that be an indicator that you should start doing something.
- How to point to your left arm while walking towards a mound of dirt.
- How to pat a guy on a chest after chatting with him saying things like, "It's OK. Keep the ball down. Think happy thoughts."
- How to touch your nose, ears, chest and shoulders in a sequence that indicates that the batter should bunt the ball.
- How to give an interview wherein you follow a syntactical formula of the form: "[pitcher-name] [had|didn't have] all his stuff out there today. He kept the ball [up|down|in|on the outside], and when you do that, good [things happen|hitters take advantage]. Lot of baseball to be played."
So when I'm reading on the Twitter and on the Internets about how Bud Black may be the next manager to go, I feel for him because I kinda like seeing him and he seems nice, but really, I don't get what's supposed to happen. I seen Moneyball. I know how this stuff turns out.
In the context of the game that's played, there are a few ways to measure Bud Black's effectiveness and it's whether the team wins or loses. And even then, it's mostly whether the team loses. This is the one part of baseball where the glass is half empty as opposed to being .300 full.
It's a shame, but it's the way it has to go. Bud Black is sitting on a team that was supposed to win (based on Ron Fowler being a fan and not just some guy with money). Rather than blame A.J. Preller for selling us on a Matt Kemp that could hit the ball or not spending at least part of the offseason fortifying a bullpen that was once a bright spot and had slowly been picked apart over the last several years, we're going to blame Bud Black.
And here's the best reason why: Bud Black spent his couple dozen years of baseball life in his 20s and 30s as a pitcher and he's a pitcher's pitcher's manager and pitcher pitcher, so when the pitching goes, so goes Bud Black. = Logic
And that's the only reason Bud Black is going to be fired.
But to be honest, it's a pretty good reason, because nothing about the manager makes sense anyway. So whatever. Mark Kotsay has a couple dozen years of baseball under his belt and he seems as good a guy as any to not write names in alphabetical order by accident and I've seen him point to his arms emphatically every now and then.