Yesterday, we had great examples in how to and how not to manage baseball players.
First how not to manage players:
Bobby Valentine talks to the press about his third baseman, Kevin Youkilis:
"I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there."
Wouldn't you love a boss like that. A boss that doesn't think 'hey maybe I should take my employee aside and discuss my concerns about his performance in private'. Not Bobby. Not his style. Instead he tells the press about his concerns. As much as I'm all for humiliating Ugly, one would think his manager wouldn't share my glee in doing that.
The thing is, the Red Sox hired this guy, knowing that this is the sort of stuff he does. It's just like the Marlins hiring Ozzie Guillen and then acting surprised when he says something stupid. If they didn't know that Ozzie was going to say dumb things, they weren't paying attention. Same with the Red Sox. It's not like Valentine doesn't have a history of doing stuff like this, and yet they still hired the guy. It's like paying Charlie Sheen a million dollars a week and then acting surprised that he spends the money on cocaine.
Dustin Pedroia says:
I don't really understand what Bobby's trying to do. But that's really not the way we go about our stuff here.
Hate to tell you this, Dustin, but your team hired this guy, so this must be the way they want to go about things. If they wanted to do things in a different way, they wouldn't have hired Valentine.
Now the opposite end:
Joe Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays have a bad weekend in Boston. What does he do? Say his players weren't trying hard enough? Nope. He suggests that perhaps the 'man in white' is now working for the Red Sox.
"They're just really hot right now," Maddon said, according to The Tampa Tribune. "It's like they knew what's coming almost. They're on every pitch. They're on the fastball. They're on the breaking ball. They're on the change-up. They're on everything right now.
Now Maddon isn't dumb enough to try to sell some stupid story about how one guy gets the signs and then radios another guy, wearing white, so he can relay the sign to the players (employees of the country's biggest cell phone network use walkie talkies?). Nor does he say that his bullpen intercepted the transmissions on the radio they had, because every major league bullpen comes equipped with a radio that picks up walkie talkie (do they still make walkie talkies?) signals. He just says something to subtle to take some of the pressure off his team after a bad weekend.
If he has issues with his player's performance, which he must, they got clubbed, he doesn't bring it up with the media. Instead he gives the media another story to work on, instead of bugging his players about how bad they played.
If you were a player which would you rather have as your manager?