Monday, June 15, 2009

Is Jim Tracy a Genius, or is Clint Hurdle a moron?

The Colorado Rockies have won 11 in a row, and are 13-4 since Jim Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle as manager. They have gone from second worst team in the NL to now being in the race for the wild card playoff spot. What gives?

Was Hurdle that dumb? Did he players hate him? It's not like he played his catcher at shortstop. Or is Jim Tracy some kind of wizard, suddenly waving his magic wand, causing the Rox starting pitchers to throw strikes and concentrate?

How about this: the high volatility of small numbers. The Rox started badly, and maybe it is Hurdle's fault that they seem to do that every year. A poll I saw at the beginning of last year among Sabermetricians had Hurdle as the worst manager in baseball, after he had piloted the team to their miracle World Series appearance. And most people thought they had more talent than they were showing. But the change to unbeatable will likely revert to the mean rather soon.

If the Rockies continue to improve, and compete for a playoff spot, it may become obvious that Hurdle was the wrong man for the job for some time. Or maybe, change is just needed every once in a while to get a team going. Either way, there is no doubt that someone is going to seriously consider hiring Hurdle as manager in the next year, because that is just what sports teams do.

1 comment:

Budd Bailey said...

Well, there is the small sample size issue. Plus the matter of what opponents happened to come up during the win streak.

My guess is that the number of instances in which players hate their coach is pretty small. Especially is you leave out teams coached by Scotty Bowman.