Yesterday the man tasked with taking over for Jim Leyland, Brad Ausmus, took to the airwaves for a “get to know you” session with the local radio crew in Detroit. Tigers blog Bless You Boys have the rundown, which includes two very important quotes.
The first of which is in response to a SABR-based question. Despite a birth certificate that looks the part, Ausmus admitted he is “really not” a sabrmetrician. And you know what? That’s okay.
Possessing an understanding of advanced stats is a fact of life for just about anybody who makes baseball decisions in 2014. Using the statistical revelations of the past 20 years as a guiding light is not the same as pouring over game charts in the dugout, a distinction Ausmus makes clear.
The former catcher and newest field boss in Detroit said advanced statistical data is more for analysis “after-the-fact … it doesn’t blend too close into game action” and it is hard to find fault in his statement. A more progressive approach to setting his batting order is one thing, wondering about game states in the 8th inning is another.
Ausmus will consult with his front office on personnel decisions at points this year. Be it the struggles of a player like Nick Castellanos or worrying signs from a pitcher like Rick Porcello, mixing what he sees with his eyes and what he can learn from the Tigers info team can help everyone make a better decision.
But it was an earlier remark that mostly cuts to the heart of the manager’s job – credibility.
…the players know that I haven’t forgotten how difficult this game is … I know what it’s like to go 0-for-40 … The fact that I’m not that far removed [from the game] will help me relate to [the players] a little bit better.
Both parts of this quote are telling. Understanding the difficulty of the game gives him some leeway when it comes to tough decisions. He knows that the players know that he knows there is no magic “hit now” button to push when times get tough.
Ausmus will be well-served to follow the lead of his predecessor by treating his very talented players with respect and managing the only way he knows how. Jim Leyland was never a master tactician and, especially given the Tigers roster, he didn’t need to be. Ausmus can just stay out of the way and let the best hitter in baseball do his thing while the two best pitchers in the AL do theirs.
Sounds like a pretty plum job, when you get right down to it. Where do I sign?
Important Read of the Day
Other than one corny line towards the end, this Thomas Boswell piece on Greg Maddux is perfect. It tells Maddux’s story as a master craftsman incredibly well, detailing Maddux’s deteremined and studied approach to becoming one of baseball’s finest-ever hurlers.
Read about the famously competitive “Mad Dog” and his quest for the perfect “column of milk.” Your day will be much improved for it. Only a few scant hours and Maddux is immortalized in Cooperstown forever, a place where stories like this belong.
A Fine Hall Plea
Michael Baumann of Crashburn Alley does a wonderful job touching on what makes the Hall of Fame’s role in our culture so important. Bauman believes there is a reason the Hall debates take on the rather extreme tenor that they do.
Sometimes it is important to stand up for that which you believe. It is important engage crooks and cretins because, if we turn the other cheek too often, we might forget what crooks and cretins look like.
Don’t let me put words in Baumann’s mouth, just go ahead and dig in to his thoughtful take on the endless battle against reason.
Today in LOL Okay
This is what amateur athletics looks like? lol okay. Thanks David Price, for the virtual tour of Vanderbilt’s pitching lab. Totally normal for a university. Totally, totally normal.
Another look at the facility, courtesy of theScore