Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Moral Code

  • Kick a guy in the balls after he's out the door----classy:

I find myself in an extremely odd position when I have to defend people whose baseball knowledge and skills I see as wanting; or those that I don't particularly agree with; or find mean-spirited and agenda-driven just for the sake of irrational self-interest. But here we are again.

The San Diego Padres introduced Jed Hoyer as their new GM yesterday amid all the usual crap that comes with a new architect of an organization being hired. Hoyer's resume, his experience, his intelligence, his plans----all were discussed during the press conference as is the nature of such things. That wasn't the most interesting part of the storyline detailed for the Padres new GM. What I found simultaneously fascinating and disturbing was the way the former GM, Kevin Towers saw his tenure stealthily slammed as if he was the genesis of all the problems that have befallen the Padres in the past three years. And it's ridiculous.

The quote that got my attention from the AP story was the following:

After firing Towers, Moorad said he wanted a more "strategic approach" from his GM. Towers was known more as a seat-of-the-pants GM who built four NL West winners and had his 1998 club reach the World Series, where it was swept by the Yankees.

I am no fan of Kevin Towers as a GM. In his time running the Padres, he made some brilliant maneuvers, some horrible decisions and for the most part was an empty suit who can function doing the job even as his effectiveness was hindered by ever-changing circumstances that were no fault of his own. It's hard to judge someone who has to juggle the act of doing his job with ownership mandates and interference.

How is an executives supposed to have a "strategic approach" when he's forced to oversee repeated financially motivated teardowns? When he has his drafting preferences sabotaged? As he deals with overbearing and meddling bosses who attach Clousseau-like spies to his neck like giant warts?

Was it Towers's fault that former owner John Moores demanded the club be dismantled after their pennant-winning year of 1998? That Sandy Alderson was hired and set about trying get rid of Towers, then stuck Paul DePodesta in the middle of the organization as a jack-of-all-trades nuisance? That his longtime cohort, manager Bruce Bochy, was forced out in the interests of a more palatable (meaning cheaper and pliable) replacement in the overmatched Bud Black?

It's one thing to fire one man to bring in another who's more to the liking of the new owner. Jeff Moorad has every right----even the duty----to do what he feels is in the best interests of his organization and if he thinks Hoyer is the guy to oversee the Padres through their retooling, then fine. But why was it necessary for this implication that Towers "flew by the seat of his pants" to be put out there as if he was functioning that way by design? It seems to me that he "flew by the seat of his pants" because that was the way the Padres forced him to operate.

No one knows how Hoyer is going to do. Much like the backup quarterback who has the best job in the world while his name is being chanted and the starter is running for his life under siege from all sides, it's not that hard to look smart when no one's focusing on the mistakes. Being an assistant GM and emerging as the "hot" name to rebuild a club lasts only until he does something stupid. The Padres don't have the safety net----money----that Hoyer's former employers, the Red Sox, do. He could be another Theo Epstein or he could be another DePodesta. We won't know until we know.

The job as GM is so transitory that one break here or there can mean the difference between keeping and losing his job. And this is all the more reason to give Towers a break for what he had to deal with. To denigrate him as someone who didn't have a plan is ignoring reality as some form of self-justification.

The Padres fired him; he's gone; they've hired someone else. There was no need to kick him in the balls a month after he was ousted for the sake of propping up the new guy.

  • The Don Mattingly managerial speculation:

I really believe that Don Mattingly has the smarts, the cachet and the unassuming personality to be a great manager. The one thing he lacks is experience in the job and if I were the Dodgers as they discuss whom the heir apparent to Joe Torre, I'd strongly suggest that Mattingly manage in winter ball to gain some experience before jumping into the ring. Aside from that, Mattingly inspires such loyalty and reverence and his players would love him so much that they wouldn't let him fail as long as he makes the right moves most of the time and handles the clubhouse.

I'm sure he can do it, but the job is hard enough as it is and I would not feel comfortable handing the reins to someone who's never done it before at any level no matter how well they interview or the respect they generate.

  • Viewer Mail 10.27.2009:

Gabriel writes RE Moneyball:

If Joe says that you are still not answering his question, then I'll assume he does not read your posts, he just looks at "Moneyball hasn't wooooooooooooorked!!!!!" and comments something that disagrees.

It's hard to get into a discussion about it because I'm not quite sure what kind of answer Joe's looking for and he won't tell me.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE Moneyball; and the Cardinals:

Again, I see the answer you've provided for the question(s); and being that I am in the upper echelon of the intelligence scale, I say you can consider the task done -- a long time ago.

Why you try to plant nightmares for the Cardinals faithful though, I'll never know. It hurts. It hurts bad. I still believe Tony will be back and if for some reason he doesn't return, then Mozeliak will have no choice but to placate Albert's desires. Albert IS the Cardinals. Believe that.

As long as McGwire doesn't start doling out Andro+, I think things will be okay. And with Tony back at the helm, 2010 is already getting off to a good start.

You don't know the POWER of the Dark Side...

I'm curious as to whether La Russa got any concessions from upper management about the construction of the team; Dave Duncan; and how much money they're going to spend. With Pujols, they must've realized the gravity of the situation that he wasn't going to tolerate playing for some nondescript minor league manager or brainless coach with marionette strings embedded in his back. It would behoove them to get him signed long term sometime next season while La Russa's still there.

With McGwire, he's got to stop with the cringe-inducing attempts to change the subject as he kinda, sorta tries to do a semblance of what he considers the "right" thing by refusing to lie about his PED usage. Not lying is not the same thing as telling the truth. People would forgive and forget if he came out and confessed. It's not like he killed someone.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes:

Yay, I finally agree with you about something. Well, two things. Yes, the Angels played very un-Angels-like baseball. And yes, McGwire should come clean at his press conference.

Reason number 11,492 to worship Jane Heller: she's a gracious winner.

I sat there and took the beating alone after the Yankees beat the Angels.

Just me.

I hold no grudges towards my subordinates and it doesn't cast them in a negative light for letting me, as head of my Family to take the beating----it's part of the job. Isaac was the only member of my crew who was around providing baseline protection, reflecting positively on him.

The tolerance for abuse is now ended. Everyone had their free shot in the immediate aftermath of the game; now if they come at me, I'm returning fire without mercy.

Jane didn't join the chorus; nor did she get arrogant, abusive or cross lines in her giddiness. That's why she's Jane.


Jeff said...

Besides being classy, kind and supportive, let us not forget the main reason why Jane Heller rocks: When the Yankees are down, the F-Bombs will flow!

On an unrelated note, if I were to judge all GMs by the way they look, this Hoyer fella would be just a pompous, arrogant and dorky as the Mozeliaks, Cashmans and Ricciardis of the world. It works for some, others not so much.

Anonymous said...

Well I agree but I about the brief should have more info then it has.