The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Let’s play two

Following my award-winning deconstruction of Tim Brown’s paean to Mike Scioscia, I bring you today the sequel, wherein I deconstruct his paean to Jim Tracy. Exeunt. Curtain.

"The Clint Hurdle era had been over for a month when Jim Tracy wandered through his team’s clubhouse, all smiles."

New manager of the year criterion: must smile at least once per month.

"The Colorado Rockies had hardly lost under him."

Stunningly true, actually. The huge winning streak the Rockies hit for their first month under Tracy was pretty crazy. We’re talking September 2007-level crazy. They were 21-7 in June, and jumped from last place pretty much directly into wild card contention.

"Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was a player again, and so were a lot of guys who’d seemingly lost their way, their stroke, their something. Clint Barmes was the regular second baseman, Ian Stewart was at third, the team was winning."

The construction "Tulowitzki was a player again" is really, really weird. I know what he means, but I’m not sure he could have phrased that more awkwardly. More relevantly, here’s Clint Barmes. Penciling that man into the lineup card at any position is probably not something you want on your Manager of the Year application.

"Nobody was thinking about Matt Holliday anymore. Nobody was wondering what happened to that World Series team, because they’d long before left that behind."

I was thinking about Matt Holliday. Specifically, I was thinking it would be nice if they could pencil him back into that lineup instead of Dexter Fowler, who is crummy, or Brad Hawpe, who isn’t exciting.

"As invisible as Hurdle was intrusive, Tracy asked them for effort and professionalism and, wouldn’t you know it, they delivered."

Hurdle’s key mistake was asking for a foot rub. If only he’d remembered that effort and professionalism win games!

New Manager of the Year criterion: must ask dudes to try.

"The Rockies pitched with everyone in the league from June on."

From June on, they have a team WHIP of 1.305 (pretty average), a team K/BB of 2.22 (also pretty average), and a team ERA of 3.90 (again, fairly average). So I guess you mean they literally pitched in the same league as everybody else? Because the Dodgers and the Giants — the two teams the Rockies are competing directly with — are way, way better at pitching.

"Down an ace (the injured Jeff Francis), they had Ubaldo Jimenez grow up."

They’re down two aces, you goof. And the only thing Jimenez is doing differently this year is walking 1.3 fewer dudes per nine innings. Which is a big improvement, don’t get me wrong, but if not walking dudes is the same as being grown up, how do you explain your next comment here:

"Jason Marquis improbably became an All-Star."

It was improbable because he’s not very good. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the only thing Jason Marquis had going for him was a foolishly high number of wins that were purchased for him by the big bats in the Rockies’ lineup. Did I mention that the Rockies have scored 720 runs? That ties them with the Phillies. You know, for first place in the National League. Pitching is not why the Rockies are good. It just isn’t.

"And, until recently, they hit. Tulowitzki, in particular, seemed inspired by the change. Since, he’s one of the 10 best hitters in the National League, as is Todd Helton"

Albert Pujols
Ryan Howard
Derrek Lee
Aramis Ramirez
Chase Utley
Hanley Ramirez
Manny Ramirez
Seth Smith
Todd Helton
Lance Berkman

Those are the names of ten gentlemen who have been better hitters than Troy Tulowitzki. If you were paying attention around the end of the list, you’ll notice that two of them play for the same team Tulowiztki does. Now, don’t get me wrong; Tulo’s a good hitter, and he’s having a fine year, but come on. One of the ten best hitters in the NL my ass. I can think of one other player hitting better than Tulo right now, and his name rhymes with Matthew Thomas Folliday. No points for guessing.

And Todd Helton’s always awesome except when he’s hurt. So is Jim Tracy propping up his back with magical calm-eyed reiki energy? Is that why Todd Helton not being hurt means Jim Tracy is Manager of the Year?

"Maybe it is pathetic that a locker room filled with professional ballplayers would need to be reminded that baseball at this level is a results-oriented business, that they were running out of time, and that the organization would soon be out of people to fire."

Maybe! Also it’s a bit pathetic that a professional sportswriter would really think the problem with the Rockies was that they just forgot to win for a while.

"The truth is, all over the league managers are talking ballplayers into playing ball, or trying to, and having mixed results."

Which is perhaps — just perhaps! — because the problem is something else. Like that their job is very very hard and sometimes they won’t do it right. But they’re good at it, and so later on they’ll start doing it right again.

"Here, in Colorado, Jim Tracy talked them into playing ball. He talked them into winning the game they were playing and worrying about tomorrow when it arrived. He showed them they could trust him."

He also did batshit insane things like having Seth Smith bunt. Seth Smith, with his .307 EqA and his 139 OPS+, is motherfucking bunting. Because Jim Tracy instructed him to.

New Manager of the Year criterion: make very bad managerial decisions.

"In 99 games, they are 64-35. For that, Tracy ought to be the National League manager of the year. Yeah, they needed him."

In 46 games, they were 18-28. Translating that 39.1% win percentage up to 99 games, we see that they allegedly would have gone 39-60 under Clint Hurdle. Which means that, according to this reasoning, Jim Tracy was worth 25 entire wins over 99 games to the Rockies. Over the course of a full season, we’re talking more like 42 wins. Ergo, Jim Tracy is more than three times as valuable to the Rockies as Barry Bonds was to the Giants in 2002, when he roided up a line of .370 / .582 / .799.

Jim Tracy’s career win percentage? .507.

The Rockies went to the World Series two years ago without Jim Tracy.

Manager of the Year, bitches!

Addendum: other possible managers of the year

The four experts once again list their top three choices at the bottom of the column. They name nobody other than Tracy (Rockies), Joe Torre (Dodgers), Tony La Russa (Fatinals), Bruce Bochy (Giants), and Charlie Manuel (Phillies). For those keeping score at home, that is the three division leaders and the two teams in a tight wild card chase.


September 16th, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments