Fire Jim Tracy

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Bill Plaschke...Idiotically Stupid or Stupidly Idiotic

You all know how I feel about nonsense like this. The strange thing is that this leak (if it is that, from Tracy's agent) is in New York Newsday. Who cares?

And now, our favorite whipping boy is back, spreading his particular brand of revisionist history to the readers that so richly deserve him (I would avoid it, but for my role as Bill Plaschke Truth Squad President). I expect all those who ripped Plaschke for his moronic coverage of the Dodgers all year, particularly post-July 31, will crawl all over this one, citing Bill Plaschke (of all people) as the very font of knowledge from which all baseball wisdom flows. All I can do is a point-by-point rebuttal. Any less would be intolerable.

"The one guy who held last year's nutty team together is the one guy who has since been ignored."

You mean, like, the team would have disbanded? Well, then at least McCourt could have gone through with his real estate plans. This is exactly the type of thinking that thinks 76-86 is somehow different than 86-76. Ask the Royals or the Expos what a year or three of .500 ball gets you.

"His contract expired on Halloween. The date apparently held as much weight as a fun-sized Snickers."

But more than Bill Plaschke's brain. (sorry. Ad hominem attack, but I couldn't resist)

"The Dodgers don't want to pay Tracy as similar managers are paid."

Surprise! Bill Plaschke discovers the economic concept of maximizing value. Immediately, he calls the Publisher and recommends charging three dollars a day for the Times.

"The 'Moneyball' world of General Manager Paul DePodesta doesn't much value managers, considering them simply uniformed extensions of a front office that calls the shots."

This has yet to be seen. Paul DePodesta, may, and rightly so, not value Jim Tracy. In any event, one of the problems with this whole thing is that we don't really know what managers are worth.

"Phil Garner, with a winning percentage of .477 and no finish higher than second place, recently signed a two-year extension with the Houston Astros for about $1 million a season."

This reaches the unintentional comedy scale. Phil Garner, who rides a 46 game bullet into the NLCS, gets a million dollars when all he had to do was pitch Brad Lidge instead of Brad Miceli in Game 2. Now Plaschke wants to use Garner as the benchmark for Tracy's salary. Moron. Tomorrow's column will advocate signing Carlos Delgado to a $16 million contract because that's what Shawn Green gets.

"Even so, Tracy has said he wants to return to the Dodgers and finish the job he began. Even if the Dodgers don't value a manager's input, surely they understand his need for credibility."

If Bill Plaschke coming to your defense builds credibility, I hope I never have Bill Plaschke come to my defense.

"Then, in a clubhouse gutted by DePodesta's deadline trades, he managed a new team to first place through season's end."

Oh, Lord. Not this again. That Juan Encarnacion could have gotten anywhere near those ninth inning rallies chills to the bone. Remember that credibility thing you say that Jim Tracy needs? Try it. Try writing "[with] a pitching staff gutted by injuries...." You know that really difficult legal concept of "intervening act" and "proximate cause" that I talked about in my last post? That applies here. Just try it. Once. You'll feel better about yourself, because keeping track of all the lies is hard, hard work.

"He didn't whine. He didn't change his demeanor or focus. Instead of joining the circus, he calmly steered it."

LoDuca's number. His complaints that there were "no options" other than Hideo Nomo. And if "not whining" is a sign of stability, what is Bill Plaschke doing with a column in the L.A. Times?

"Adrian Beltre argued loudly with Tracy on opening day — opening day! — that he deserved a higher spot in the batting order. Tracy shrugged and told Beltre to prove it, which he did."

Statement from Bill Plaschke: For purposes of this argument, I will simply leave out that Jim Tracy left Shawn Green in the cleanup spot for a month while Green hit .250 with six homeruns because Green "argued loudly" that he shouldn't be dropped in the order. Then the "evidence" will be so overwhelming that the minions who are dumb enough to read my opinion and believe it will write angry letters to the Times demanding Tracy's re-signing to a lifetime contract.

"Everyone told Tracy his team was finished after the trade of Paul Lo Duca and Guillermo Mota, yet he refused to accept any moaning, even using Eric Gagne for three innings on the day after the deal. The Dodgers won in 12 innings in San Diego, possibly the most important victory of the season."

Substitute "Bill Plaschke" for "Everyone," and you have a glimpse at how Bill Plaschke sees himself in this deal.

As far as using Eric Gagne for three innings, this is a fire-able offense in Plaschke World, where the best pitcher on the team throws one inning in three-run leads only. That Mota had to be traded for Tracy to finally start using his pitchers right is only more proof that the Plaschke/Tracy axis belongs nowhere near a Major League team. (Dan Miceli or Brad Lidge, Plaschke? And what was Mota's September Record and ERA again? Make sure you make no reference to it.)

"Many wanted Milton Bradley shipped away after his incident with fans, but the players didn't, and Tracy knew it."

I'll take "Doing the right thing for the wrong reason for $100", Alex.

"Did he overwork Gagne? Yes, but he admitted he had no choice."

No, and of course he had no choice. It's a Pennant Race. He certainly didn't overwork him in the NLDS, where he pitched a grand total of three meaningless innings after allowing Wilson Alvarez to throw the Mother of All Season-Ending Pitches to Albert Pujols. In any event, the real question is "Did he overwork Scott Stewart" and as I have documented before, the answer to that question is a definitive Yes.

"Was he too strict on his lefty-righty platoons? Perhaps, but Alex Cora and Jose Hernandez combined effectively at second base."

But not in the Playoffs, where wins are sorta, kinda, important, and where Hernandez, despite far better numbers against Williams and Morris sat on the bench the entire series, while Cora slammed his way to a 1 for 11 series.

"There's nothing like a manager who can bring a clubhouse chemistry back together, and Jim did that this year, time and again," McCourt said."

Admittedly this is Plaschke quoting McCourt, but the spoons are back, and they are aimed at my eye-balls. Manager = baby-sitter to millionaires who play baseball. Can we all be grown-ups for a moment and stop pretending that this is a criterion for management, as it might be for say a psychiatrist, or a marriage counselor. Teams with horrendous "chemistry" have won in the past, in the present, and will win in the future. McCourt spoon-feeding Plaschke and his fan base is not a pleasant sight. Well, when you can't fall back on anything resembling evidence...

So where are we? Well, nowhere we weren't before. Plaschke thinks that Tracy is a source of information, and seeks to protect his source. Knowing that DePodesta would like to insert his own guy in the Manager slot, which would seriously jeopardize Bill Plaschke's entre with the organization, (given that he is an idiot), he is roiling the waters, inflaming passions, and resorting to faulty logic and meaningless babble. I will admit that stringing this along makes really very little sense. What does anyone else need to know from this 23-day and counting wait? What does anyone else need to know other than that Plaschke is for it? Wake the hell up! Time. To. Move. On.

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