Update: I've got it on good authority from someone else who has it on good authority that Rafael Soriano is going to be okay.
Now, it's back to baseball. We have a series to sweep.
It's no secret that I've never been one of Macha's biggest supporters. I have questioned some of his moves in the past, backed up with reasonable examples and sample sizes, but somehow, these last few months, things have been different. I feel that he has started to make managerial decisions to best serve his players, he's finally picked a lineup structure he likes and sticks with it through shut-outs, blow-outs, and everything in-between, and he's truly had to be creative to score runs with a team that, quite frankly, doesn't seem to have that skill on their resumes. Of course, it helps that Ricardo Rincon is no longer with the team, and Bobby Crosby is physically unable to bat third, but who am I to quibble? However, I think what has really turned the tide in the managerial gripe department is simply observing other managers around the league, and wondering how on earth they ever made it past 'Manager Kindergarten', much less to the Major Leagues.
10) Don't be afraid to think outside the box.
Whether it's coloring outside the lines, or batting your catcher in the leadoff spot, Macha is not afraid to go against managerial convention and use his light hitting, OBPy, DP-machiney catcher in the lead-off hole, where he's had success for most of the second half. Although defying convention, it is the correct move, unlike, say, batting WFB anywhere except on the bench.
9) Don't hit others.
Don't hit people. Period. And "they hit me first" is never a valid excuse. Not to mention, in a heated pennant race, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that getting key players hurt or suspended, and firing up a division rival, are probably not the smartest ways to stay in said pennant race. Showalter? Scioscia? Frowny stickers.
8) Learn to take turns
Whether it's a session on the monkey bars, or a spin around the bases, this tried-and-true lesson is one to learn early. The A's have honed this skill into somewhat of a trademark, but some managers think sharing is overrated.
"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me. The problem we have to address more than anything is the home run problem."
Yes, Dusty, you definitely would be leading the division if you just hit more solo homeruns. (P.S. The answer to the question posed above should be unequivocally 'yes', for future reference, not that you'll need it. I'm thinking...a new job at Tire World.)
7) Be nice.
In kindergarten or in managing, you're not always going to like everyone, but you do have the responsibility to treat others with respect. This includes not challenging players to a fight, not actually fighting with players, and not being Ozzie Guillen saying or doing anything.
Ozzie Guillen: "Alex was kissing Latino people's asses"
Don't worry. It isn't just hypocrites and Nomah that Guillen attacks. He's pretty equitable in his insults, i.e. he's an equal-opportunity offender.
6) Rest is an important part of one's day
Whether it's napping on a little mat, or taking a night off from bullpen work, a good tool of managing is to take care of your players' health. For managers like Felipe Alou and Dusty Baker, who clearly have no concept of a 'pitch count', and Mike Scioscia and his everyday pitchers Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez, rest is a lost art.
On the other hand, the A's rest all the time; on turf, on the DL, when it's hot, when it's cold...did I mention the DL?
5) If you're not very fast, you had better be smart
The A's are often chastised for what is perceived as a lack of a running game. In truth, I think this is a combination of the A's not possessing a very speedy team, and also realizing that giving away baserunners is not a very productive way to spend 27 outs.
The Angels, on the other hand, subscribe to the theory of "I can run, so I'm going to run", instead of stopping to question whether or not they should run. It is unlikely that you could watch one random Angels' game and not see a runner thrown out at 2nd, 3rd, or home. They A's may leave `em on base, but they also get to play with their full set of outs.
In addition, Macha uses the hit-and-run when he needs to, Scioscia uses it simply because that's 'Angels' baseball', and if I've learned anything from Rex Hudler this year, it's that 'Angels baseball' equals terrible baserunning and terrible defense. Congratulations, Rex. Two words: Tire World.
4) Everyone has a different set of talents. Try to work towards strengths.
For example, the child with the blue crayon should probably color the sky, while the child with the green crayon should work on the trees. Common sense, people.
In managing, let's pretend you have a second baseman who is going to be a big part of the future of your organization. I think he should probably be getting playing time at...oh I don't know...second base? Well, unless you already have the equivalent of Albert Pujols there.
And moving farther north, sitting this player on the bench for as long as he did is not only stupid, but really stupid. Hargrove, you're staying in during recess.
3) Surround yourself with good friends.
You benefit by the company you keep, both on the playground and on the baseball field. I don't know the name Dino Ebel simply because of the coolness factor, but rather because in the last couple of months that I have been watching the Angels this season, I have personally seen six runners thrown out at the plate with less than two outs.
Do you want to know who is the least mentioned 'A' on AN? That would have to be Ron Washington, who, day-in-and-day-out, coaxes our limping offense towards the plate with such style and finesse that he's practically invisible. As the third base coach, it's not good to have your name on the tip of fans' tongues, and the entire fan-base questioning why the tying run was thrown out at the plate in the seventh inning of a crucial game last week for the first out of the inning.
2) Numbers are important in life.
Two is a lower number than five, both in number of cookies, and in pitchers' ERAs. Do not be distracted by silly letters like "W" and "L", or "L" and "R".
Mike Hargrove? Here's another tip. When picking a bullpen pitcher in a close game, numbers come before letters.
For example: "L" and "R" are not important when other numbers are "2" and "5".
Here's some more letters: Tire World.
1) Chewing gum kills brain cells.
I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Give Macha his credit; love him or hate him, just know what else is out there, and trust me when I say, "It could be worse."
Game today...12:35 PST: Zito against Schilling. Of COURSE it's the day game.