Ever since light-hittin’ Joe started picking his nose on the bench for Joe Torre people have been speaking about him as a future Cubs manager. The failure of the Magic Dust, and Girardi’s problems with Marlins ownership, has accelerated the timeline for consideration of Girardi as skipper.
I think it’s time.
Many of the reasons people speak of don’t mean crap to me.
For example, I don’t care if he’s a former Cub. Apart from 2 year Cub Don Zimmer, no former Cub has enjoyed success as manager since, um, Charlie Grimm?
I don’t care if he’s a former catcher. More ex-catchers have become managers than any other position, but Bill James showed in “The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers” that catchers are no more adept at running a team than any other team. Dave Pinto of Baseball Musings found that they were last in winning percentage (Left Fielders-turned-managers are tops, believe it or not). The reasons and samples are varied, but you get the point.
His drill sargeant/old school tactics aren’t what sold me either.
Here’s what I like about him:
He expects to be able to be in charge on the field. When his crybaby paycheck writer boo-hoos from the stands about an umpire’s call, he tells him to shut up.
I expect that Girardi will not tolerate the front office telling him what to do. I suspect he will work toward his own agenda. That agenda will have nothing to do with having the most expensive players on the field; just the most effective.
Girardi won’t stand for his players whining about the broadcasters. He’d put them in their place, and if he thought the announcers were wrong, he’d address them personally instead of to the press.
With a weak general manager who let his previous manager be the focal point of the club, and with an ownership that creates no urgency to win, our manager has to be a guy willing to tell the whole world to go to hell. Dusty did his own thing, which I appreciated, but he turned out to be clueless when it came to what the “thing” should be and spineless when it came to handling distractions. Girardi’s owner spat proved to be a distraction, but not because of Joe. He did the right thing by telling his owner to swallow his tongue.
On the field, the manager is king. Dusty took the scepter of rulership and used it to point blame at others. He let his players do whatever the hell they wanted and, in so doing, failed to install a direction for the team. Joe might be a little draconian for vets who want to take it easy (Aramis?), but for Theriot, Murton, Pie, Z, Pawelek, Marshall, Hill, and Moore, he’d be a guiding force behind the helm.
Disparaging the other guys doesn’t do them any service. Our perfect match with a corporate ownership, a marketing “whiz” for a team president instead of a baseball mind, Jimmy Donuts, and a team in need of turning the corner, is Joe Girardi.