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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

You Be the Manager
2006-06-14 12:58
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

It's not as homespun as giving orders to the manager by holding up signs at the ballpark, but today at SI.com, I put together an interactive column that invites you to fire everyone and hire yourself:

Hot dogs, Cracker Jack and second-guessing the manager. If you're a baseball fan, at least one of these is whetting your appetite right now.

We'll look for a vendor to bring us some grub, but in the meantime, here are some second-guessing snacks for you. I've created six hypothetical situations that set up some of the toughest decisions a manager has to make. (At least, managers seem to find them tough, though sometimes the answers seem painfully obvious.) After I offer my opinion, you'll get your chance to second-guess ... me.

OK, ready to manage? Good. Here we go ...

So enjoy, and after you're done, come back so we can talk about how much I overthought my Trevor Hoffman decision.

Comments (78)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-06-14 13:05:47
1.   bhsportsguy
Jon: OMG have we traded Andy LaRoche to the Braves. Just kidding but you may want to try and fix the column or at least note it above so people here don't freak out.
2006-06-14 13:07:00
2.   Vishal
i agreed with everything pretty much, except i'd have probably closed with otsuka even though mahay had only thrown 7 pitches.
2006-06-14 13:12:01
3.   Jon Weisman
1 - Thanks.
2006-06-14 13:13:23
4.   regfairfield
Yeah, I said go with Otsuka and go into mop up mode with Carmona.

It is surprising that the polls are siding towards the right thing to do, rather than the conventional thinking.

2006-06-14 13:14:30
5.   bhsportsguy
3 Just trying to save you the Wrath of Nate.
2006-06-14 13:17:15
6.   scareduck
Regarding the last situation, I agree with Vishal in that I would have gone to Otsuka. Cleveland can hit bombs 1-9, and you don't want to even open the window a crack. The alternate ending is to let Mahay pitch and if the leadoff man gets on base, bring in Otsuka. No room for errors with that lineup.
2006-06-14 13:33:40
7.   Xeifrank
Jon, great idea for an interactive column over at SI. I got thrown for a bit of a loop on the Sabathia game. You mention mop up man Carmona, then in the next sentence you refer to the mop up man as Cabrera. I agreed with all your decisions but was a little less confident on the Otsuka one. It would've been interesting to throw in one of Jim Tracy's bunt with your best power hitter, taking the bat out of the hands of your 2nd best power hitter scenario. Every quiz needs a no brainer on the first question, just to lather up the brain. :)
vr, Xei
2006-06-14 13:33:51
8.   Kayaker7
I would have pulled Hoffman. Also, I think it was mop up time.
2006-06-14 13:41:30
9.   overkill94
I consider Jason Davis as much of a mop-up man as Carmona, so I said it was mop-up time.

I was leaning toward letting Oswalt stay in, but Giles has hit him fairly well in the past so I went with the switch.

2006-06-14 13:41:35
10.   Humma Kavula
It was mop-up time for me, too.

Also, I let Hoffman pitch.

2006-06-14 13:42:25
11.   blue22
4 - Maybe because Jon gives his answers prior to the vote, which may skew the results.

Jon, did you consider keeping your decisions hidden until after the users vote?

2006-06-14 13:43:25
12.   Jon Weisman
7 - Dang it. Okay, thanks guys. Be patient while the wheels of correction spin.
2006-06-14 13:48:21
13.   blue22
Great idea for a column, by the way.

On those old "You make the call" commercials, what types of scenarios did they typically present? Was it managerial strategic calls, or umpire-based close calls?

2006-06-14 13:48:34
14.   natepurcell
Germany! in the 91st minute!
2006-06-14 13:49:09
15.   Jon Weisman
11 - No. Ultimately, the poll results were less important to me than my humongous ego and giving primacy to my views.

In crafting the scenarios, though, I was hoping there would be a good split of opinion. I hoped to influence some voters but fully expected a healthy amount of disagreement.

2006-06-14 13:49:56
16.   Jon Weisman
13 - Usually the latter, I think. A lot of questions depending on your knowledge of the rulebook, no?
2006-06-14 13:52:29
17.   Eric L
16 From what I remember, it was mostly rule book type of things.

An example would be a guy running between 1st and 2nd and the runners gets hit with a batted ball. What is the ruling (or however they worded it) and then YOU MAKE THE CALL!

2006-06-14 13:52:48
18.   Eric L
17 That should say runner, not runners.
2006-06-14 13:53:58
19.   JT Dutch
Let's see ...

... Hit for Hudson, Use your best reliever, Pull Oswalt, Pull Hoffman, Mop-up time, and Stick with Mahay.

I think I'll use that sentence as my campaign slogan if and when I ever run for public office.

2006-06-14 13:55:45
20.   Sam DC
Giving the ripping I and others have given Tom Boswell in these pages, I think it appropriate to pass on this link to his latest internet-only column. This is actually a number of thoughtful, sensitive pieces in a row. Makes a guy happy.

Not saying he's a Weisman or anything, just better than he'd been.

http://tinyurl.com/o9adg

The piece, by the way, is (once again) about Soriano.

2006-06-14 13:57:27
21.   Disabled List
I only differed on mop-up time for Cleveland. Save your best relievers for the close games. It was driving me nuts a month ago when Grady was using Saito and Broxton in games that we were leading by 7 runs, while Odalis was busy scarfing down nachos in the bullpen. (Although, I guess a lead is substantively different than a deficit in that scenario, but whatever.)

And yeah, great idea for a column. You should make that a semi-regular feature. Good stuff.

2006-06-14 13:58:23
22.   blue22
16 - Just ever so slightly before my time, and your column got me thinking about them. Now that you say that, I do remember them being of the "a batted ball strikes a passing-by pelican, with the ball landing in foul territory where it is picked up by a stray squirrel and brought into fair territory, hitting a runner in the process...Is the runner out? YOU MAKE THE CALL" nature.
2006-06-14 14:00:26
23.   Bluebleeder87
According to poll I wouldn't be a good manager.
2006-06-14 14:00:42
24.   Sam DC
They should bring those commercials back, with text-message in your answer component and a report back later in the game. Let's get Dzzrt Ratt on it!
2006-06-14 14:03:27
25.   Bluebleeder87
16

Jon, if I were Oswalt I'd be mad at you for pulling me out.

2006-06-14 14:05:15
26.   Bluebleeder87
21

"And yeah, great idea for a column. You should make that a semi-regular feature. Good stuff."

agreed

2006-06-14 14:06:56
27.   Jon Weisman
21 - Originally I came up with a dozen ideas, before I realized how long it would take to set each idea up. So there is already enough for a sequel.

25 - Yes, I think that's why I went into duck-and-cover mode on Hoffman. It sort of makes me laugh how much I feared the imaginary confronations :)

2006-06-14 14:10:43
28.   blue22
25 - Pitch count, close game, his team is winning, couple of runners on, less than two outs. Granted Oswalt has been mowing 'em down, but he's also probably not going to get the groundball to get out of the inning.

I think its a no-brainer unless you're Ozzie Guillen.

2006-06-14 14:11:54
29.   DodgerJoe
Jon...how many outs were there in the first scenario with Hudson?
2 outs - I hit for him
0 or 1 out - leave him in (the bullpen stinks)
2006-06-14 14:12:37
30.   TerryAustin
Regarding Hoffman... I leave him in, though it's more for the confidence of Cassidy than that of Hoffman.

It's Hoffman's mess. It's going to be hard to keep runs from scoring in that situation. I'd let Hoffman give up the runs rather than risk Cassidy feeling pressure/guilt when/if they scored.

Of course, there's that whole pesky "But what about winning the darn game?" argument, but this is about managerial decisions, not about winning games. Right?

2006-06-14 14:13:00
31.   DodgerJoe
By the way, I agreed with almost all. I let Hudson hit and it's mop up time for Cleveland.

Great idea for an article. I hope to see it regularly.

2006-06-14 14:14:12
32.   blue22
30 - Is it different if you're the road team, and the home team is mounting a game-ending rally?
2006-06-14 14:14:56
33.   Jon Weisman
29 - Two outs.
2006-06-14 14:19:37
34.   jasonungar05
sub Brad Penny in there for Hudson

Question: Do you pinch-hit?

Now if you were to ask me this hypothetical, which very well could be real, what would I say? Well Jim Tracy says no. I'll let Penny hit. Penny strikes out?? Next inning Penny gives up a leadoff walk and then I'll lift him

2006-06-14 14:23:33
35.   Inside Baseball
Jon, how do you expect anyone to ever get any work done with fun stuff like that? I hope it becomes a signature piece for you at SI.com.

I'm with you on all but two, I stick with Oswalt and pull Hoffman, although I'd really like to know how exactly the bases became loaded (i.e. bloop hits, walks on close pitches or not, etc.), that would have a major say in my decision.

2006-06-14 14:36:38
36.   Xeifrank
On Oswalt, I would've like to have known how overworked the bullpen may have been at that time. For some of the tougher decisions it may require alot more information than is practical for a small piece.
vr, Xei
2006-06-14 14:41:39
37.   TerryAustin
32 - Probably not. Mostly because it's going to be pretty difficult to keep runs from scoring. And I want to protect these athletes' fragile psyches.
2006-06-14 14:49:30
38.   Sam DC
Hey Bob -- Did they drop an m and an r here in the SABR research awards for 1999: "1999 Bob Tiemann for research on attendance in the National Association, 1871-1875, published in the sixth edition of Total Baseball (Total Sports)"?

From Ken's link in the Juice Kudos thread.

2006-06-14 14:54:13
39.   Jeff Iannucci
Excellent idea for a story. My amateur decisions:

I agree...
- Pinch-hit for Hudson with the bases loaded
- Leave Hoffy in since he's the better pitcher

But...
- Use the setup man as the road team will need to save the closer
- Leave Oswalt in since the Astors bullpen stinks
- Mop Up with Carmona and save Davis for a close game
- Go with Otsuka since he's more proven than Mahay

2006-06-14 14:56:01
40.   Strike4
Of the voters who started the poll, 2% haven't answered the Texas-Padre questions. Maybe they're ADD or aren't fans of Chan Ho.
2006-06-14 15:02:35
41.   Jon Weisman
9 - Davis was doing better when I wrote the article. In the short time since, he has allowed seven earned runs in three innings. His ERA was 1.43 in May, but in June it's 15.43.
2006-06-14 15:09:56
42.   k j
Just to echo, fun column. I pulled Hoffman, but agreed on the rest.

I do wonder if I would consider ego in making some of these calls. If I knew Oswalt would react very negatively but say a Derek Lowe would be happy he could crack open his first beer earlier, would I treat them differently. Instinctually, I say no, but when you are dealing with varying personalities over 162 games, maybe you have to treat some differently to get the most out of them. Of course, I've just taken the fun out of the whole exercise with that added complexity.

And I understand your point about getting your view across, but I wish I could have voted before I read your answer. Maybe you could write the scenario, let us vote, and then continue with your answer.

2006-06-14 15:12:56
43.   s choir
I was a bit flummoxed by the Hudson decision at first, until I saw he had already gone five. I misread and thought he'd gone four, which is the situation Grady was in yesterday with Sele up and runners on the corners, a run in, and two outs in the fourth.

In the real game, Sele had thrown only 83 pitches. Although he had allowed five runs, only one of those was earned. The decision to pinch-hit backfired loudly, with Ethier making an out and Seo giving up a three-run homer in the ensuing Padre frame, triggering mop-up time.

Whatever your thoughts about the decision, it illustrates that there are so many factors that go into a decision like this, that the logic behind it is meaningless when presented in a hypothetical vacuum. For instance, I would liked to have known how Hoffman's runners got on base. Did he walk them? Was it bad defense? Or is he really getting hammered? For the Otsuka decision, I'd like to have known how many innings he'd thrown in the previous week.

I would like to see more columns like this, Jon, especially right here at Dodger Thoughts, which is a much better site than CNNSI. But I'd request that you use real game situations so that I can investigate all of the minor details that go into tough decisions like these, and then get into a knock-down drag-out argument in the comments that results in getting me banned so that I stop spending so much time on this site and get some work done.

And FWIW, I would have left Sele in yesterday.

2006-06-14 15:12:56
44.   Jon Weisman
42 - I'll post Spoiler warnings.
2006-06-14 15:16:14
45.   Jacob L
I think I'm with the majority on most, but I'm inclined to let Hudson hit. My bullpen stinks, and I gotta figure the Jones boys and the rest of my offense can generate a couple more scoring chances. Its a no brainer to hit for him if his pitch count is just a bit higher.

Whaddaya want me to bring in Remlinger, there?

2006-06-14 15:16:20
46.   Jon Weisman
43 - I definitely was in favor of hitting for Sele. He was not pitching that well, by his own admission, and you need to take advantage of scoring opportunities at Petco. The bullpen was rested and with Penny pitching today, it was time to go for it. You only have to look as far back as the first inning to realize that Sele could just as easily given up three runs in the fifth.

Beyond that, thanks to you and everyone for the enthusiastic response to the column.

2006-06-14 15:23:23
47.   Sam DC
42 I don't think you've taken the fun out of the exercise by identifying those complexities. I think you and other commenters have added to it but building in more and more of what a manager may (smartly or foolishly) consider in these moments.
2006-06-14 15:30:56
48.   Sushirabbit
42,47
In fact, as much as I loved that exercise, I'd also like to hear all the other info people think they ought to use in their decisions. Like with Oswalt, you might want to know how many pitches/innings did he go last time? Is there an extra day coming up for him? What happened the last time (or two) he got in similar circumstances. There are guys that get runners on and they still seem able to get 2 outs. I suppose the results from an open ended poll could be endless, so ... never mind, the good managers will always meet back here. Right?
2006-06-14 15:45:50
49.   bhsportsguy
I'm sure Jon will post a new game thread but here is the lineup with one notable exception.

Furcal, SS
Lofton, CF
Garciaparra, 1B
Drew, RF
Kent, 2B
Ethier, LF
Aybar, 3B
Martin, C
Penny, P

2006-06-14 15:52:07
50.   natepurcell
It seems that we might have to sacrifice Kenny Lofton for the good of Matt Kemp's playing time.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-06-14 15:52:10
51.   Jacob L
I like giving Ethier a start against the soft tossing righty, but yeah, there is something missing there.
2006-06-14 15:53:20
52.   Jacob L
Lofton = 8 for 26 lifetime against Williams, FWIW.
2006-06-14 15:55:08
53.   Marty
I better not hear anything about Williams' arm angles in relation to Kemp.
2006-06-14 15:56:59
54.   natepurcell
from dodgers blog

Needless to say, he's pretty psyched about tomorrow's start and said that Andy LaRoche's homer last night was a bomb.

I remembered it appearing about 3cm behind the left field wall on gameday and figured it was a bomb. They usually dont place homeruns that far out!

2006-06-14 16:03:55
55.   Jacob L
53 That thought occurred to me, too. Was that Williams. I wanna say it was Eaton.

Anyway, no. Matt Kemp: Rakes all arm angles.

2006-06-14 16:11:25
56.   bhsportsguy
49 To be fair, Matt has started 11 out of 15 games with 3 pinch hitting appearances in the other 4 games.

Dodger outfielder starts in those 15 games:
Kemp - 11 with 3 PH appearances
Lofton - 11 with 1 PH appearance
Drew - 11 with 2 PH appearances
Ethier - 8 with 3 PH appearances
Cruz, Jr. - 4 with 7 PH appearances

2006-06-14 16:14:04
57.   bhsportsguy
54 Nate, you have to get out more if you are taking rulers out and measuring the dots on the Gameday screen.
2006-06-14 16:17:06
58.   natepurcell
it was more of an eye estimate. But I had a ruler in my vicinity....
2006-06-14 16:17:41
59.   s choir
56 The outfielders' playing time seems very balanced. I would like to see Ethier get a little more, but who do you take away playing time from?

I'd say Lofton.

2006-06-14 16:19:53
60.   Berkeley Doug
OT - but I just saw David Wright drove in another run and it brought this question to mind - Who would you rather have on your team right now - David Wright or Miguel Cabrera?

Any thoughts?

2006-06-14 16:22:59
61.   bhsportsguy
59 I think with Drew and Lofton, you will need 4 solid outfielders because neither J.D. or Kenny are going to make every start. It does appear that Ethier has taken time from Cruz and Kemp has just taken off, today is just an off day probably, I see tomorrow's line up being Drew, Lofton and Kemp and then on Friday against Zito, Drew, Cruz and Kemp.
2006-06-14 16:25:33
62.   bhsportsguy
60 Wright has less service time but he has a pretty solid lineup around him, Cabrera is doing his thing pretty much on his own. Like them both, Cabrera is no defensive wizard but he can be a valuable 3B or LF, so I would pick Cabrera only by a New York minute over Wright.
2006-06-14 16:30:59
63.   blue22
60 - I take Wright by a nose. He's one year older, but his slightly better patience and contact skills put him ahead of Cabrera. Career eqa's can't be much closer (.308 to .307, edge to Wright).

Neither have distinguished themselves defensively at 3B, but Cabrera has the luxury of being multi-positional (you figure LA would put him in the OF).

There's also been some complaints about Cabrera's work ethic.

2006-06-14 16:43:45
64.   Xeifrank
I know that lineup construction isn't as important as most people make it out to be, but it is important enough to use some common sense as opposed to a dart board. Which leads me to... why is Furcal still leading off? His stats are begging for him to hit 8th! vr, Xei
2006-06-14 16:52:59
65.   Jacob L
The truth is that Furcal is playing badly enough, particularly defensively, to merit discussion of Izturis taking his job back. I know that Furcal is not playing anywhere near his standards for his career, and I know that Izzy isn't all he's cracked up to be. I'm just saying that Rafael's play isn't making things any easier.
2006-06-14 16:53:29
66.   overkill94
64 What do you think of (at least in relation to tonight's line-up)...

Lofton
Martin
Nomar
Drew
Kent
Ethier
Aybar
Furcal

2006-06-14 16:54:26
67.   Xeifrank
Tonights Dodger Sim Results:
Dodgers 7, Padres 6 ... 10 innings.
Highlights:
Padres scored 3 off of Penny in the bottom of the 1st on a 3 run HR by Piazza. Dodgers came back with 4 in the top of the 3rd to take a 5-3 lead behind a 3 run HR by Aybar. Dodgers took a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the 8th only to have Baez give up the tying runs. Kent drove Nomar home in the top of the 10th with the winning run. Furcal went 0 for 6 and stranded 9 men on base, 6 of which were in scoring position. Nomar had four hits for LA and Roberts 4 hits for SD.
Good luck tonight!
vr, Xei
2006-06-14 16:57:57
68.   Bluebleeder87
27

I agreed on a couple of them though, like the pulling Hoffman out.

2006-06-14 16:58:16
69.   Xeifrank
66. For the #2 hole, I'd probably go with the switch hitting Aybar. If not him then the left handed hitting Ethier. Martin in the #2 hole is interesting, but probably only against a lefty. vr, Xei
2006-06-14 17:01:55
70.   Bluebleeder87
I'd take David Wright (great work ethic, & I hear he's a great teammate)
2006-06-14 17:02:05
71.   Jon Weisman
Game thread is open up top, but I hope late-arriving readers will continue playing "You Be the Manager."
2006-06-14 17:04:28
72.   bhsportsguy
64 Furcal was obtained for two things, while you make not like it, he is going to be put out there for those reasons. Also being a veteran, he is going to be given a lot of opportunities to perform before any moves are made.
2006-06-14 17:09:29
73.   Xeifrank
72. What are those two reasons? Defense and?
200+ at bats seems like alot of opportunities. It's not like batting 8th is all that bad, is it? vr, Xei
2006-06-14 17:22:13
74.   Blu2
Lofton looked very sheepish after his lapses last night. He is an accomplished professional who takes pride in his abilities. Like all the rest of us who are slowly losing speed and reaction time as we age, he is very much aware of it and it does embarass him. I would not be surprised to see him report some small injury and be replaced shortly before game time or be substituted for during the game. He sees the end of his career in sght and he hates it. What kind of a hitting coach do you think he'd make?
2006-06-14 17:25:09
75.   Blu2
72 Most important reason of all: Flanders got him for those things and he will be written into the lineup every day that way or we will have a new manager...
2006-06-14 17:46:31
76.   s choir
74 Everyone, young and old, is entitled to have a bad game here and there and not contemplate the end of his career. I would say as long as Lofton's got his legs, he's a pretty serviceable ballplayer. Imagine if Kemp took that attitude after his first game. There's no way he would have had this kind of start.

I'm not putting money on it, but I think Lofton will bounce back tonight.

2006-06-14 17:50:57
77.   Jon Weisman
Lofton's defensive performance last night did not strike me as unusual for 2006. His value is that he gets on base and steals bases, and gets a triple here and there. That's it. He has not been getting good reads on fly balls for a while now, as far as I can tell. And we all know how shot his arm is.
2006-06-14 18:01:55
78.   Andrew Shimmin
73- Defense and. . . the message it sent to other FAs. At least, that was a big selling point was at the time. It proved McCourt was in it to win it, and that Colletti was a shrewd negotiator, etc.

I never loved the deal, but I still don't hate it.

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