I ask this question for a reason. I’m not sure if it’s a function of a season where so much expectations were not met or maybe it’s an ingrained part of the sports culture in the matter of instant gratification. Or maybe it’s both. Any way you cut it, fingers will be pointed. Some could be justified, others maybe not.
We know that the first finger to point is directly at a team’s manger. Then, it could be the coaching staff and even the general manger. I’ve heard all of these from Reds skipper Dusty Baker to pitching coach Bryan Price to batting coach Brook Jacoby to GM Wal Jocketty.
Yes, all have had a finger driven in their direction.
But why? Why only at one person?
I have read many a tweet with the “Fire Dusty” hash tag (#firedusty). He has made moves that would be deemed as questionable at best. What manger doesn’t? None. If you want to see a manager come under scrutiny, check out the sites for the Cardinals. As much as some of us show a dislike for Tony LaRussa, some baseball people consider him to be a pretty good manager even though some of us feel he overmanages. He is not without his critics even in his own town.
Even after last night’s miraculous comeback against the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays skipper Joe Maddon has heard the words from his detractors. too. No manager is exempt.
Same can be said for those on a coaching staff. Brook Jacoby’s philosophy/teaching ability as come under scrutiny as of late. The main reason is the high number of strikeouts the Reds amassed this past season. One basic fundamental I haven’t seen enough of is the change in thought to shorten the swing. Now, some of the players do it. Some do not. You get the sense that maybe, just maybe, some of the players aren’t responding. To see the difference in the offense between 2010 and 2011, look at this…
We can also beat the deal about lack of clutch hitting until we’re blue in the face, too. Wait…we have.
I haven’t seen people be as down about the Reds pitching staff when it comes to its performance for 2011. Why? It proved to be just as instrumental to the Reds falling short of its expectations, didn’t it? I have read a few tweets about Bryan Price and his role in all of this debacle that was 2011. Just not as big a scale. But the numbers do show a slight diminishing return, too. Yes, it is slight.
The only number that raises your eyebrows is the home runs surrendered, another aspect that’s be beaten to a pulp.
And then there’s GM Walt Jocketty. Over the last two trade deadlines, he’s made two deal, one each year. Last season, it was a waiver wire deal for Willie Bloomquist. This year, Jonny Gomes was sent to the nation’s capital. In his offseasons, not a whole lot of moves to improve the club. I can think of four moves that have aided this team. Scott Rolen, Miguel Cairo, Orlando Cabrera and Jose Arredondo.
Some may disagree with Arredondo, but having a full year after Tommy John surgery could be a positive factor for 2012. All he needs to do is walk less and find those couple of mph he lost off his fastball. A 94 mph fastball plus his splitter and he’s close to the Arredondo of 2008. So could be the recent surgery performed on Scott Rolen and his achy shoulder. A full range of motion we hear, huh? That can only brighten things.
I’m sure there are some that feel all four should go. I know at least one person that feels one of these four should, but that’s not happening. Walt’s signed on for three more and Dusty and his whole staff is back for next year…at least.
But what if 2012 is like 2011? That would be interesting.
What I’m just now getting to is this…all are responsible, including those on the roster that donned a uniform and took the field. At one time, at one point, there is failure in baseball. It’s a fact of the game. Hitting .300 is considered good. What about that other 70%? If you shot 30% from the free throw line in hoops, how likely is it that you would get any playing time? (None, unless you’re Shaq or Chris Dudley, but that’s something else…)
That’s why I say don’t point in just one direction. It can be spread around…and it would be justified.