Friday, May 25, 2012

Catching Up With Former Dodgers Managers: Jim Tracy

I am sure he's a great guy, but I recall finding the Jim Tracy era of the Dodgers (2001-2005) maddingly infuriating to watch, as a Dodgers fan. Sure, he led the Dodgers to the playoffs in 2004, where we picked up our first postseason win since 1988 (the famous Lima Time game), capping a year where we outplayed our Pythagorean W-L by four games (roughly on par with the rest of his managerial performances, save the 2005 71-91 debacle). Most of my dissatisfaction was due to his annoying habit of answering post-game interview questions with rhetorical questions that he would then proceed to answer, as if he was having a conversation with himself.

But I also was displeased with many of his managerial moves, which often confounded logic and statistics and went with feel and gut...oftentimes, poorly.

So it was interesting to read this blogpost about Tracy's current run with the Rockies, which is not going too well this year (they are in fourth place, 16-27, 13.5 GB the Dodgers):

We complain a lot about Jim Tracy on this blog, and I’m sure that sometimes it seems like we are unfairly picking on him. At times, I have even wondered if maybe I just target Tracy because that’s the simple and easy thing to do. When a team plays awful, it’s always easy to place a large chunk of the blame on the manager, and doing so is not always entirely fair. Last night, however, Tracy did something that I’m sure went rather unnoticed by many baseball fans, and yet it perfectly encapsulated what makes Tracy such a bad manager.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Rockies found themselves down by two runs. They had runners on first and third with nobody out, and Dexter Fowler was set to come up to bat in the eight hole. The pitcher was due up after him.

Jim Tracy decided that the best way to handle this situation would be to pinch hit Jason Giambi for Dexter Fowler, and then pinch hit Eric Young Jr. for the pitcher in the next at bat. To keep things simple, let’s just run through all of the bullet points about how awful of an idea this was....

It's a fun read.

Anyway, it reminds me how lucky we've been to have Don Mattingly at the helm, who has quietly risen to be a pretty sharp manager, especially in recent weeks as he's had to get the most out of a depleted lineup. Or maybe that comment shouldn't be qualified to just the recent weeks alone?

Keep up the great work, Don!


Fred's Brim said...

I gave the Rockies' farm system a D while I was there

Franklin Stubbs said...

Do I like the cut of Jim Tracy's jib? I can't say that I do.