This might come as a surprise to you, but I like baseball. I like watching baseball, I like playing baseball video games, I like talking about baseball and I like reading about baseball. One of my favorite baseball books of all time is Earl Weaver's Weaver on Strategy.
For those of you that haven't read it (read it) or don't know much about Earl Weaver let me tell you a little bit about him. He managed the Baltimore Orioles for seventeen seasons carrying a .583 winning percentage and only finishing with a losing record once. His Orioles team won six division championships, four American League pennants and one World Series. He was also ejected from over 90 games and is 5'6" tall. (That last thing doesn't really have anything to do with anything, I just like to point out when famous people are shorter than me.) He did all this in the pre-Wild Card era in the AL East. He was really great and I don't understand why every manager isn't forced to study his book like 1999 Vince studied Sable's issue of Playboy.
Watching Ron Roenicke manage it is clear that nobody ever forced him to study it and he's probably never even read it. (In Ron's defense it's not like his brother had the best years of his career playing under Weaver or anything. Oh wait...) This is strange because I've always had the feeling that the way Earl Weaver managed a team and the way Doug Melvin built are a team are nearly identical. Weaver's managerial philosophy was "pitching, defense and the three-run homer" and if that doesn't sound like a team Doug Melvin would like to build I don't know what does. (I say would like to build because the scars of Yuniesky Betancourt are still fresh.) Unfortunately for Doug somewhere along the way things got crossed up and he hired (another) manager who doesn't follow Weaver's 10 Laws. Instead he employs someone who breaks at least five of them on a daily basis. This is not good, but the good news is that the answers are RIGHT THERE ON AMAZON.COM and all Roenicke has to do to better himself as a manager is to read this book.
Or this blog post. Either way. Read the rest of this entry »