I'll put it up front now that I'm not a Baseball buff so I don't know anything beyond what the TV/Cafe tells me.
After hearing about the Mets manager almost getting fired, and remembering Joe Torre being fired last year, it got me wondering what parts of the team the manager controls and affects. Do they have a big say on the personnel of the team? Or what goes on in the game? Are they deciding the pitching rotation and batting order? Terry Francona has been spouted, at least from what I hear, to be a great manager because he brought 2 rings to Boston. Did he, and managers like Joe Torre from 10 years ago have that much of an impact on the team?
Some of them make a positive contribution and some don't.
I find Francona to be excellent. He is like a "with it" father to the players, and from the games I'm seen him manage (yes small sample size) he has seemed to be ready/has a plan for every twist. Even if strategy-wise he's just doing as he's told, he is still good.
Then you get guys like Dusty Baker who are stuck in the 1950s style of managing. They probably cost their teams a handful of wins a year with favouritism and "hunches".
If someone tells you managers have no impact, or an enormous impact they are both wrong.
Hall of Fame Hero
(Past Year: 143)
Joined: 22 Jan 2006
Home Cafe: Baseball
Location: What do you mean, Flash Gordon approaching?
Coaches and managers have an enormous impact on their teams in all sports. I don't like when people say "the coaches don't matter, it's all about the players." Obviously, the players are the ones actually playing the sport. But the coach is the one who makes the decisions- he is the leader.
"Oh, that Lankford and McGee, the trio of 'em. They're a one-man wrecking crew."
In my opinion, most decisions made by baseball managers could be made by people with a fair amount of baseball knowledge, especially in terms of making the lineups and going to the right relievers in certain situations. If you programmed a computer to go with the percentages in all situations, I think you would probably have yourself a pretty good manager. The additional supposed "strategy" in the NL is also mostly common sense. Double switches aren't exactly complex or hard to plan out.
As for whether they act as leaders and have a positive/negative impact on the players' psyches, I couldn't say, I've never been in a major league clubhouse. I do think their impact on the players is fairly overstated at times, though. Those guys out there are the best players in the world for a reason. They, for the most part, are able to block out everything and do their jobs on the field regardless of whether their manager is a mean guy to them or if he lacks leadership or whatever.
I've also found that the fans of struggling teams like to blame their manager a lot, and usually think their manager is worse than everybody else's manager. That's usually not the case.
J53J wrote:The best managers are the ones with the best players.
The GM is far more valuable in baseball than the manager... as opposed to football where the coach is more important, IMHO.
In MLB, I'd say its something along the lines of 80% about the GM and 20% about the manager.
Definitely. That's because there is very little "managerial strategy" in baseball, and a lot of "player" strategy. I guess the MLB manager MIGHT have a lot of say if they are calling every pitch, but I think most MLB catchers still decide what pitch is thrown basically on their own. Therefore, the baseball strategy is more "player strategy" as oppoesd to "managerial strategy". Even most SB attempts and some bunts are "done on their own" by players.
For game management a manager turns in the lineup card and decides when/if to go to the bullpen. Besides that not a whole lot. An occassional hit and run, steal or double switch. What is really hard to measure is what effect they have on soothing egos and player handling. I'd guess the difference between the best and worst manager in MLB is less than 10 games.