While we're gathering our thoughts for this massive undertaking, let's set the mood. Sarah? If you please:
It's a somber day here at MACHAWATCH! HQ, as our man Ken has shuffled off this
mortal Brewers coil. We've assembled a cast of thousands to send K-Mach off properly, and, in @notkenmacha's case, obscenely. We're waiting for you, after the jump.
This Week in The Inmates are Running the Asy -- NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND: One of the headlines from Sunday's finale vs. the Reds was Ken Macha's decision to yank Ryan Braun from the game when Braun failed to run out a harmless, third-inning pop up. As far as messages go, this was an oddly-timed one, to say the least: it's the last game of the year for a lame duck manager, who decides that NOW is the time to stand up to the team's star for Failure to Play the Game the Right Way?
I struggled to come up with an analogy for this one, but after giving it much too much thought, here's what I've settled on: pulling Braun from Game 162 for slighting the integrity of the game is akin to Papa ordering his 18-year-old son -- who's used the family house for keg parties every weekend for the last three years and who's about to leave for college the next morning -- to be in by 1 a.m. SHARP tonight. I mean: his heart is probably in the right place, but still, what's the point?
This Week in Dogs That STILL Won't Hunt: Remember, about a month ago, when we crunched the numbers in an effort to dispel Anthony Witrado's and Tom Haudricourt's pet "part of the problem this year was the Brewers' inconsistent offense" theory? (Hell, Tony was still banging that drum in his post-season interview with Macha yesterday.) With the season done, I thought I'd recap the end-of-year results.
To put it Yostily: the math is still not on Tony's and Tom's side.
Recall the premise of T&T's argument: the Brewers get shut out way too many times for a team with so much firepower, and their total offensive numbers are skewed by the dozen-or-so games in which they've put up big run totals.
The Brewers were shut out fourteen (14) times this season. On the other side of the coin, the Crew scored 9+ runs in 15 games, and those games accounted for 25.3% of their total offense.
The NL Central Champion Cincinnati Reds were shut out thirteen (13) times this season. On the other side of the coin, the Reds scored in double digits in sixteen (16) games, and those games accounted for 23.8% of their total offense.
The second-place St. Louis Cardinals were also shut out thirteen (13) times this season. On the other side of the coin, the Redbirds scored 9+ runs in eighteen (18) games, and those games accounted for 24.6% of their total offense.
The NL East Champion Philadelphia Phillies -- with all that firepower -- were shut out eleven (11) times this season. On the other side of the coin, the Phils scored in double digits in eighteen (18) games, and those games accounted for 25.5% of their total offense.
The Wild Card winner Atlanta Braves were shut out thirteen (13) times this season. On the other side of the coin, the Bravos scored in double digits in thirteen (13) games, and those games accounted for 20.7% of their total offense.
The NL West Champion San Francisco Giants were shut out a whopping SIXTEEN (16) times this season. On the other side of the coin, Los Gigantes scored in double digits in fourteen (14) games, and those games accounted for 22.8% of their total offense.
You know your penance, boys: say seven "The offense is not the problems," two "Hail Marys," and offer a prayer to St. Rob Deer, the patron saint of inconsistent offense, before you go to bed tonight.
This Week in "... Ladies": Knowing that this would be our last chance to discuss Ken Macha in any meaningful way -- after all, we never talk about Ned Yost anymore -- I threw the floor open to the BCB Brain Trust (a.k.a. the people on the masthead) to share their thoughts. The ladies were all over the topic, like white on rice. Take it away:
- Nicole Haase: I have always found myself very apathetic about Macha. I could never muster the energy to hate him, as I did Yost. And he never struck me as remotely likable. He never seemed to warrant strong emotions. While you could always count on Yost for a good rant at an ump, it was an event is Ken left the dugout. Yost was combative with reporters while Macha often seemed resigned. Yost was half a step from a heart attack, Macha was half a step from comatose. It's understandable that Macha's demeanor was appealing to management after Yost, but it seems like they went too far past center.
kirbir: Exactly, Macha didn't seem to back the players as much. He seemed too muted to be an effective coach, in my opinion, but maybe that's because I like people yelling and commotions. As for the Braun situation, I think it's sad that he wouldn't approach the last game with the same ethusiasm (even faked, which we all know he can do) that he had for other games. I know it's the last game of the year, but you shouldn't slack off right at the end of something.
It seemed pretty apparent by July or so that they weren't going to get anything done this year. I think it's tough, because you want someone to blame when teams don't perform, but is it really Macha's fault that they didn't do well this year? I think there are a lot of factors that go into that decision. While I don't think that Macha was the primary cause (see Rick Peterson's hand on your shoulder), he definitely didn't know how to wrangle the team back in.
morinek0: Since I'd already had my fill of Macha from when he was doing broadcast work with NESN, I can't say in any truth that I regret the fact that he's now gone. From most indications, he wasn't a terrific guy to work for in Oakland and wasn't much better in Milwaukee. It didn't matter how talented the players were if they dreaded having to show up at the park every day and knowing that their boss wasn't going to stick out his neck for his guys.
I also hated the fact that he was the anti-Yost in terms of playing times. For all Ned's faults, I guess you can say that he played the guys that DM and Co. wanted him to play. If they wanted the younglings to get playing time, Ned got 'em the time. He's doing it in KC right now for the most part. Macha seemed to play the veterans at the expense of the younger players. I'm wondering if the reason younger players were called up this year, particularly in September, was because Melvin wanted them there. Your manager can't stop playing Jim Edmonds despite his legs being held together by electrical tape and tomato cages? Trade Edmonds for Chris Dickerson. He keeps overusing the same two guys in the bullpen and refused to see much alternatives to the (OK, bad) free agents in the rotation? Here, we're going to call up Rogers and Jeffress and Kintzler. If the manager doesn't use 'em, it's on him, not the FO! Heck, it took Macha how long to pull the trigger on Hoffman when it was clear that he had lost all effectiveness outside of a setup role?
- BrewHaHeather: I'm glad to see Macha go. The only thing that I liked about him for a while was his bullpen management. But even that started to become rather Yostian (overworking Loe, continually using Coffey against the Reds when every time he gets shelled, etc.). He never gave some players a day off when they clearly needed it (Hardy lasy year, Weeks this year). His presence seemed to put a damper on that great clubhouse attitude that we've heard so much about. It looked like he never even cared about the game. He never let anyone use their speed even though half of our opening day lineup could steal 20+ bases, and a couple could probably steal 40-50. Not to mention, I still blame him for ruining Mat Gamel's career. With that being said, he probably didn't deserve to be fired. The main reason for our failures the past two season was our pitching staff, and that's not his fault.
HangWith'EmRach: I'm glad that Macha is gone. At first, I liked him. The Brewers stole four bases in the opener against the Giants in 2009. I thought that he would do more with the team than Yost. He didn't seem to.
This got me to thinking about who I would like to manage the Brewers. I have to admit I have no idea. So, I started with the managers of the playoff bound teams.
1. Dusty Baker (Nope)
2. Charlie Manuel (Not sure)
3. Bruce Bochy (Nope)
4. Bobby Cox (Retiring)
5. Ron Gardenhire (Yes)
6. Joe Girardi (Yes)
7. Joe Maddon (Not sure)
8. Ron Washington (Nope)
Obviously, these managers are not available but it made me realize I have little to no idea who is a good manager or, really, what makes someone a good manager. So, in a really long way of saying it, I don't know if my dislike of Macha is even remotely rational but in the end his voice drove me nuts and I hated how he NEVER got fired up about anything.
This Week in...Wait, What?: You know who's coming out of all of this smelling like a rose? Rick Peterson. He's the only member of the Brewer coaching staff guaranteed a job (or at least a paycheck) for 2011. @NotRickPeterson took a break from ironing his ultra-tight pants to offer these thoughts on his offseason plans:
Ripsnort, I'm glad you stopped by. I was just getting ready to pass along the list of offseason webinars I'd like you to attend. This plan will have
me you more ready than ever for the 2011 season while stressing the core principles of 3P Sports: Power, Pert Plus and Pants.
Here's the first month's schedule, and I expect to see you there for all of them:
- Non-Traditional Offseason Workouts. Instead of playing golf and sitting in the hot tub this offseason, I'll teach you how to mow the grass at my workout facility, fold and put away my laundry and carry groceries. Using strategies I've been
pawning off on othersworking on for decades, we'll get you ready for another solid season of getting demoted to the bullpen and sitting around.
- Spin and Excuse Development. Turn your lame-ass 2010 into 2011's greatest asset with this lecture series on distortion and selective memory. Your recent outings didn't suck, they were just "an opportunity to work on some things" and "a reminder to keep at it." Learn from expert blame-shifters and politicians that it wasn't your fault and it won't be next time, either.
- Out-hitting Carlos Gomez. Many pitchers are already doing this, so this session will be brief.
Ruddy, I'm hoping this offseason you can...what are you looking at? Hey, that's my Twinkie. COME BACK WITH MY TWINKIE!
This Week in a Fond Farewell(?) to @notkenmacha: It only seemed fair to give the closing number to the star of the show: