Originally Posted by TDog
And Ozzie Guillen was a better manager before he got experience.
I think experience as defined by most here is overrated. Coaching in the minors, even managing in the minors doesn't develop major league managers, although managing successfully in the minors can show a team what a manager can do as a manager. When the White Sox hired Roland Hemond, Hemond hired Chuck Tanner from the his old organization knowing that Tanner thought outside the box, and the Chicago media spent a great deal of time comparing the rookie manager to Leo Durocher, who beat out Babe Ruth for the Dodgers top job back in the day. I doubt there is anything Robin Ventura doesn't know about baseball that he would have learned coaching.
Since I've been following baseball, which goes back to Leo Durocher with the Cubs, the Cubs probably more than any other team have sought out managers who were supposed to be the best available, rather than just experienced and very good. And yet, there are people who blame Durocher and Dusty Baker and even Lou Piniella for Cubs teams not winning.
There are little things, of course. Before Don Mattingly became manager, there was a game where he was filling in for his ejected Dodgers manager, he made a double trip to the mound to talk to a pitcher, turning around on his way to the dugout to point out one more thing. Bruce Bochy, as experienced a manager as there is right now in the majors, pointed it out to the umpire, and the pitcher had to come out. The unready bullpen gave up the lead and lost the game.
But experienced managers can make stupid mistakes as well. Bochy's team last summer batted out of turn, costing them a run in a 4-2 loss to the Dodgers. Terry Bevington had quite a bit of minor league experience when he signaled to the White Sox bullpen to change pitchers with no one warming up. Dick Williams had been to the World Series three times when he wrote Nolan Ryan's in the lineup card on a night he wasn't scheduled to start, forcing him to face at least one White Sox batter unrested and barely warmed up.
Every manager knows the percentages. Managing isn't simply about playing the percentages, although the more percentages favor your team relative to the opposition, the more a winning manager plays them. Often winning, especially for underdogs, is about thinking outside the box. And I don't have an academic problem who is more concerned with doing things in an effort to win if they are counter to percentages than playing the percentages because he will come under less criticism if the moves don't work.
I don't always agree with Ventura's moves, but I don't have the burden he does.
For me it's not so much understanding the ins and outs of basic baseball strategy and logistics and more about how to manage personalities and lead a team. It's a big difference from playing the game and leading the players. There's also the issue of how to react and of course practicing thinking about the 10 different things at a single time that a manager might have to think about at any given moment (though obviously not continuously).
Good managers instinctively reach for the right decision, not because they have some innate talent but because they have done it before time and time again and they know the right decision to make based on their experience in similar situations in the past. Again, that's a lot different from even a guy who is responsible for setting the defense in the infield or relaying signs from the manager/coach.
For these reasons, I'd prefer PK got at least a year sitting on a bench being a hitting coach or coaching first so he could see some of the things managers have to adjust to as they happen.
While knowing when to call for a bunt or a lefty reliever or make a double switch are basic parts of baseball which someone like PK should understand by now, there's a big difference between knowing and doing even in a sport that moves as slowly as baseball does.
Just my $0.02...