Why do baseball teams get so enamoured with hiring retreads as managers? (BoSox)

I don’t get this. Can’t a lucrative franchise come up with something more inspiring than Bobby Valentine?


He’s a retread. The Bosox need to put their resources into creating a team that doesn’t live by the old paradigm.

Maybe I’m totally wrong but initially this looks like a disaster.

The Yankees must be celebrating.

Terry was a players manager, Valentine is an asshole. I think they are just shaking things up.

Yea, shake things up but what usually happens is that the team produces for a short period of time and then regresses. It’s a quick fix but in a long baseball season it doesn’t usually translate into eventual success.

Really, I don’t understand this move at all.

With all the accolades in early season about them being the best team in baseball, and then the end of the year collapse. I think this is a one to two year test to see if they need some better/different management for a good core of players, or if they should just blow up the whole core and start again

Retreads like Terry Francona and Joe Torre?

What exactly is that paradigm? What is Valentine going to do that’s so old-school, so retrograde, so yesterday that it will ruin the Red Sox?

Answer: Be an egotistical asshole that pisses everybody off. It works initially but wears off. He should stick with putting his name on restaurants. He’s like a Stephan Marbury.

He hasn’t won a World Series as a manager. He’s been out of the game as a manager. He’s a retread. That may be fine for a franchise that consistently struggles to even have a hope of making the playoffs. The BoSox, with the stability of the franchise and their success, should be able to to make a better hire. It’s hard to believe that the crop of prime managerial candidates is so thin.

Think about it this way:

You’re in a german prison, they give you feces to eat and urine to drink. They give you feces to eat and urine to drink. They give you feces to eat and urine to drink. They give you feces to eat and urine to drink. They give you cockroaches to eat and rusty drain water to drink.

Can you see how you could excited about cockroaches and rusty drain water?

The Red Sox are, by and large, a veteran team. I’m not sure bringing in a rookie manager would have made sense like Sandy Alomar or Dale Sveum would have made sense. I’ll admit that I kind of liked Bobby Valentine on ESPN. He spent some time in Japan since his last stint in MLB, which may have given him a fresher perspective on managing. I actually like the hire. And I’m a Red Sox fan.

I like the hire too. I’m a Red Sox fan and it’s been far too long since we’ve come in last in our division. You need someplace to build from, you know?

First off, you need to support your claim that Valentine holds any allegiance to “the old paradigm”, or that the Red Sox do, for that matter.

Secondly, what does it matter? Apart from pitch counts and relief pitcher decisions, there’s not a whole lot that a manager can do to influence the outcome of a game.

I agree that major league sports love retreads. They’re known quantities and a safe choice. The GMs and owners probably know them from being around the game or in some cases played against them, and they might not know the assistants as well. If you pick an inexperienced guy who fails, you look like an idiot. If you pick a known quantity you can tout his experience and he may take more of the blame if it doesn’t work. Football seems to have gotten a little better about this recently since it’s become somewhat trendy to hire promising young assistants. Of course it worked with Mike Tomlin and didn’t go so well with Lane Kiffin.

Anyway I’m not sure how well that applies to Valentine. He hasn’t managed in the majors in almost a decade and his career arc is a little unusual because of his time in Japan. I don’t think he’s one of those guys who gets hired because everyone in baseball knows him and likes him- I think has a reputation for being odd and kind of a dick. (He also seems to have been very selective in considering new jobs.) On the other hand the other finalist for the Red Sox job was Gene Lamont, who has managed seven-plus seasons and has a career winning percentage of .496. That sounds more like a retread to me, but I admit Valentine’s .510 winning percentage isn’t way better.

And of course, in football the guy calling the plays has a huge effect on the actual game, which makes it so different from baseball that it’s almost pointless to compare the two things.

Lamont had a winning percentage with the White Sox—quite a decent one, in fact, at .551.

I’m not sure how you can make any evaluation of a manager’s quality based on the results he got during 4 years at the helm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the most consistently useless teams in modern sports. If you managed to go into a laboratory and create some freak genetic combination of Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, Casey Stengel, and Connie Mack, i don’t think your creation could have produced a winning season in Pittsburgh over the last decade or so.

I was not saying baseball and football managers do similar jobs. I was saying that retreads are common in sports other than baseball, which they are.

You could make the same point about Valentine. His record with the Rangers wasn’t incredible (.490 winning percentage) at a time when the team hadn’t been all that good, although it looks like they did better when he was there then they had previously. And he had a good record with the Mets (.531).

How is this any different from any company hiring an experienced manager to run their operation?

You have a big multi-million dollar operation and you need someone to run it. Do you choose someone with experience in the field, or one with none, but who looks good on paper? Usually, the experience is a big plus, since you know the manager’s track record. There may be good reasons to pick a manager with little experience in the job, but you may end up with aMaury Wills.


But the more general point i was trying to make is that it’s really, in many ways, pretty silly to evaluate a manager’s potential based on his win-loss record, especially given that the manager can only work with the players that he’s given, and also that, even under the most favorable of circumstances, the manager doesn’t have a huge impact on a team’s quality of play or its chance to win baseball games.

And this is, i think, particularly true when the team is full of good players. In such cases, the main job the manager has is largely as someone who keeps players motivated and tries to maintain team morale and cohesion and focus. It could be that Valentine will suck at that, and that his personality will lead to problems rather than a renewed commitment in the Red Sox organization.

But i think his win-loss record is about the last thing i’d be concerned about when evaluating him for the job, or when comparing him with someone like, say, Lamont.

I agree the manager’s impact is usually overrated. When the team diverts significantly from how it OUGHT to do, you can look to the manager. Otherwise, it probably doesn’t matter all that much. But that being said, if we’re discussing whether or not somebody is a “retread” his past successes have to figure into it somehow. If the Sox hired Tony LaRussa I don’t think anyone would say he’s a retread- they’d say he’s been very successful and maybe they’d think it makes sense to hire him.

Of course when the Yankees hired Joe Torre, few people seemed to think it was a good move, and we know how that turned out.

I’ll also point out that your argument could easily have applied to the Yankees hiring Joe Torre in 1996 (he was a retread, failing at three other teams, with only one division title and never winning more than 89 games in a season), something that worked out pretty well for New York.

I give you Jimy Williams, who may be the only manager ever to significantly improve three different teams by being fired.

As a Mets fan, I was always sad the team fired Bobby Valentine. He brought an unpredictability to everything that just made games more fun. I’d never become a Red Sox fan [ptooie], but this hiring will make their 2012 season a lot more interesting to me.