Saturday, June 06, 2009

Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington

ESPN Article

Washington is, first, an underappreciated Yogi Berra.  Washington, in the Star-Telegram
"I see [Nelson Cruz hitting to] the opposite field, and when you can use the whole ballpark, it opens up the rest of the ballpark."
He is, second, a profane heir to Casey Stengel and Tommy LaSorda.  Washington forces beat writers clean up his quotes.

He is, third, excellent between the final pitch of a game and the first pitch of the following game, i.e. excellent in the clubhouse and on the plane.

He is, fourth, a players manager who does not micromanage.

He is, fifth: a bad in-game manager. He is bad at handling pitchers and pinch hitters, horrible at anticipating situations.

Buck Showalter, before the first pitch of a game, had the next 27 innings and three days or so mapped out in his mind: had everything pre-planned, knew how he would attack and counterattack the opposite manager's moves. Showalter was about as good at this aspect of managing as a person could be.   Washington sometimes is not thinking 3 pitches ahead, much less 3 innings ahead or 3 days ahead.

Showalter was kind of the opposite of Washington, in that Showalter was not great either in the clubhouse or on the plane.  Players weren't sure they could trust Showalter.

Which is more important: 

Showalter's style: good from the first pitch to the last pitch? or 
Washington's style: good from the last pitch to the first pitch? 

Washington's style is more important. Players win and lose games. You can make terrible managerial decisions, yet: if players execute, you still win. And the converse also applies.

Further:  Washington is becoming better at in-game decisions, and will continue to improve.  It's easier to improve yourself in the dugout; more difficult to improve yourself in the clubhouse.

No comments: