Fire Jim Tracy

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Nature of "Second Guessing"

Before we continue, a short word on the nature of what has been called "second guessing." There are really several types of second guessing. One type is the kind of second guessing that goes on in post-game Dodger talk, and is generally useless. This is the type of second guessing that occurred when Gardenhire left in Nathan and Garner left in Lidge earlier in the week. Perfectly defensible decisions that didn't work out. Of course, the manager has to take a hit for this. When the team loses, the manager is in some part responsible. But we can overstate this type of criticism.

On the other hand, there is the type of "second guessing" more accurately called "obvious" or "first guessing" where you say A should happen and B should not happen, the manager does B, and then B blows up exactly as you thought it would. I try to keep my criticisms of Tracy in this second type of analysis, and if we're not there, I'll try to point that out. In my view, a good manager will get the first type of decision to work a little more than half the time, while trying to minimize the number of Bs. My experience watching for Tracy for three years, is that he is actually not bad at the first category -- when faced with several legitimate choices, he tends to be more successful than not (see leaving Lima in with the bases loaded on Saturday. Not an obvious call one way or the other, he decided to leave Lima in, and it paid major dividends). On the other hand, he falls so short in the second category that it makes up for the first.

And since no post can go by without criticism, how about starting Alex Cora four times against a team that scored 200 more runs than us in the regular season? Does Tracy really think his defense is that good, or important? About the only thing he could have done over the course of the series (other than turn that double play in Game 2 that would have changed the whole game), is play defense in the left field stands.


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