Our Ol' Buddy
"The Royals are playing much better under Buddy Bell." -- Daily Lancer
(Sidebar: Daily Lancer apologizes for covering the biggest Royal event this year in such a tardy manner. My other job is demanding these days.)
I'm nonplussed about the hiring of Buddy Bell. The agitators over on Scout.com seem pretty upset that Buddy Bell is the new manager, but as I've maintained all along I think the managerial pool shaped up as follows:
1) Bobby Valentine
2) Everyone else
So I'm not particularly upset that the Royals hired Buddy Bell, though I can't say that I'm entirely thrilled about it either. I thought all of the named candidates were warmed-over rejects - but with "experience" - so it doesn't really matter to me which of these guys got the job. I still think the Royals should have waited until after the season and made a strong push for Valentine, whom I thought was by far the best manager available. But for whatever reason they decided to make hiring a new manager a high priority - right before the June draft - and get it done now.
In my estimation, the situation hasn't changed - if the Royals don't produce talented players from their farm system, it won't matter who the manager is. I think Bobby V. was the only manager available who had a demonstrated knack for getting the most of his teams. I'm not so sure about Buddy. But if the clubhouse situation is as bad as Bob Dutton's article yesterday suggests it is, then perhaps the Royals need a manager who isn't afraid show some AUTHORATAY. At least Buddy has that reputation.
Many fans were howling for Art Howe. I know two things about Art Howe:
1) He managed EXTREMELY talented teams in Oakland with the Big Three pitching at their peak, two MVP type players in Giambi and Tejada, a budding young star in Chavez, etc. -- and the A's couldn't rush him out of town fast enough. On those teams, a superintelligent orangutan could have led those teams to the playoffs.
2) He managed considerably less talented teams in New York, was chronically ridiculed by the press for his mismanagement of the roster and games, and was fired unceremoniously.
Those are Art Howe's qualifications. Does his success in Oakland make him more qualified than Buddy Bell, who managed in two baseball sinkholes, Colorado and Detroit? I sure can't tell. Overall record, in my estimation, is a very crude measure of a manager's skill. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any good measures, so I'm still at a loss for evaluating managers. The only other way I have to judge this hiring is that it was done by Allard Baird and David Glass, and I have little faith in their abilities to get big decisions right. I'll wait and see.
-- I watched most of the game last night, thanks to the YES network. Greinke wasn't sharp - his control was shaky, his velocity wasn't impressive, and he didn't have an out pitch - lots of Yankee batters were able to extend their ABs fouling off pitches. But he gutted it out for 5 innings and managed to get a win after receiving some strong bullpen support from Wood, Sisco and Mac (his stuff is just so damn good, its a crying shame he can't control it consistently).