Today, we have for you an exercise in futility. Ron Roenicke has been the topic du jour today after a very poorly managed game yesterday. Being a big Roenicke fan still (though I've been afraid to pop my head in over the last 20 hours) I approached the leader of the torches and pitchforks brigade, Rubie Q, to engage in a little friendly conversation. i.e. both of us attempting to convince the other of our personal viewpoints.
Here is what transpired in our exchange, after I first approached him:
To start us off, I'll just say MARK KOTSAY.
Lemme deflect a few of your glancing blows before I deliver the coup de grace:
Mark Kotsay may be Roenicke's weakness. But he also isn't in charge of who is on the roster, Doug Melvin is. Melvin, for whatever reason, refuses to bring Boggs up to the MLB permanently.
Riddle me this: why would you bring up a player when your manager refuses to play him? In the abstract, I suppose, you're right that Doug Melvin has the final call on the roster, but you're kidding yourself if you think Roenicke doesn't have significant input on those decisions. Judging from Gord Ash's recent comments, for example, the ONLY reason Kotsay is still employed by the Brewers is because of Roenicke. That's pretty significant power, don't you think?
Ron Roenicke has the Brewers winning, and that's what is important.
No, he doesn't. Zack Greinke has the Brewers winning. Prince Fielder has the Brewers winning. Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf have the Brewers winning. John Axford and Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks have the Brewers winning. Roenicke's contribution to the endeavor is to put these people in the best position to succeed; most often, putting them in position to succeed = writing their names in the batting order and getting the **** out of their way, because they are very good baseball players who are very good at doing things that help you win baseball games.
All too often, Runnin' Ron has succumbed to the pressure to try to make things happen. Sometimes, it works out for the best -- like Jon Lucroy's walk-off squeeze (even though we can debate whether it was REALLY necessary to take that risk with your hottest hitter at the plate). Other times, it works out for the worst -- like yesterday, when he pinch hit for a position player for no reason other than: "Mark Kotsay bats left-handed."
Ron Roenicke is getting in the way.
Many of the same players on the roster were here in 2009 and 2010 (granted, Marcum and Greinke are pretty major players, though) but did they succeed then?
Yes. Yes, they did. You're making this much too complicated: the reason we weren't very good the last two years was because our starting pitching sucked. Search your feelings. You know this to be true.
This year, it's completely the opposite. The Brewers came out looking like baseball was fun again.
The Milwaukee Brewers started 0-4. After the first month of the year, they sat at 13-14.
Zack's injury could have been a major deterrent as well. The players might have come out looking defeated until their savior returned with a healed rib, but they didn't.
When Zack returned to the rotation, the Brewers were 13-16. They had been swept by the Nationals, had lost five of six to the Reds, and were in the midst of getting swept in a four-game set by the Braves. In the days after Greinke's return, the team dropped to 14-20.
Maybe they didn't look defeated, but they were certainly being defeated.
The only problem I see with [Roenicke] right now is inexperience.
Which is kind of a curious problem to inflict on a team that's going for it this year, no?
But here's the bigger issue: Roenicke isn't learning. Those mistakes that you cite from yesterday's game -- the "worst game he'll ever manage" -- came in game SEVENTY-FREAKING-SIX. It's not the first week of the year. It's not seeing, early on, if we caught lightning in a very old bottle with Kotsay like we did with Jim Edmonds. He knows (or should know) what Kotsay is at this point. He knows (or should know) that Corey Hart shouldn't be trying to steal bases in front of Braun and Fielder, agggggressssive-ness be damned. He should know better by now.
My last thought, on the RUNNIN' RON portion of the debate and Corey Hart: Corey Hart is fast. Corey Hart is not a good baserunner. Corey Hart will probably never be a good baserunner. People act like Ken Macha threw the shackles on a gaggle of budding Rickey Hendersons with the station-to-station approach, but there was a reason why he didn't want Hart or McGehee or Lucroy running: they're not particularly good at it.
And, just so we're clear when we do this again: I have never lost a court case. I am Keanu Reeves in The Devil's Advocate.
The fact that you haven't seen a comment about Narron doesn't mean he's not doing anything. For all you know, he could've been pleading with Roenicke not to pinch hit with Kotsay yesterday, but Ron dismissed it. But more to the point: if you need a really, really good bench coach to guide your manager, shouldn't that give you some pause about the hire in the first place?
That's all I got. Enjoy Counting Crows; I know Mark Kotsay will.