Over at the newly formed The Cardiac Kids message-board, there is a current interesting topic going on, about the immortal … Gump. In Gump Revisited, there was a question that sparked a debate, asked by ManilaSoxFAN; “Did they excel as bench coaches (because) they were good analysts, good people-persons, good tacticians from afar..? And what went wrong — what was the (difference) — when they actually managed?”
CR67dream replied, saying
The difference is that they made the final call on all on-field decisions. Some guys are just better equipped to be the top guy, and some guys are better at being a right hand man. That’s true in any industry.
I think both Zimmer and Grady were simply in over their heads when they held the reigns. They were both excellent buffers between the players and the manager, and both had enough knowledge of the game to contribute some good advice to the manager in at least some aspects of the game. When it came to running the show, they both made far too many bad decisions that had predictably lousy results.
After Cuzitt depresses us all again by running through the happenings of Game Seven, he re-posted, saying that
CR hit it right on the noggin. [The managers] have the power now. And having the ultimate decision in your hands is much different than giving advice.
Think about the other place where critical decisions are made on the ball field. 3rd base coach. The coach has to make a split second decision on whether or not to send the runner. We have seen a good coach the past few years in Mike Cubbage. Before that, we had a bad coach in Wendell Kim. We now seem to have another in Dale Sveum.
Kim and Sveum may very well be useful cogs to the organization. Sveum may be brilliant in defensive positioning. But he makes horrible decisions in deciding to send runners.
The same analogy can be made with a manager. Except, they have a lot more power. Batting Order, Pitching Rotation, Bullpen Rotation. When to rest a player. When to take out a struggling pitcher. When to argue with an umpire. When to play good cop with players. When to play bad cop with players. When to defy upper management edicts. When to acquiese to upper management edicts. Whether to pinch hit. Whether to pinch run. When to take your starters out in a blowout. Etc., etc., etc.
Some of these decisions one can ruminate on. Others are critical split seconds decision. The ones that are quick decisions are hard. But, they define who you are.
Little couldn’t or wouldn’t make the quick decisions.
Grady was a Single A Manager. The goals of a Single A Manager are quite different than that of a Major League Manager. It is more telling that despite his supposed excellence… He was never promoted beyond Single A in the Atlanta organization… being passed over numerous times for promotion to the Majors.
It’s interesting stuff, but still is a little tough to talk about Grady, so let’s turn to some humor from Dave Cohen: