So all of this talk about the Cubs/Sox series and Ozzie gasping for attention has gotten me thinking about how we see other managers, especially the ones we play the most. There are good managers that we don't like (but most likely respect) because they put their teams in position to win, then there are managers who have histories with the Cubs (who we just generally dislike), and then there are just other managers. I came up with a list of managers that we play often (shouldn't be any surprises on there) and I'm interested in hearing what you all think about them as baseball fans and as Cubs fans.
Tony La Russa I think is one of the best managers in the game. He's been around forever and is always on top of getting the most out of his staff and his players. He knows what he's doing and is able to utilize his players and their abilities to their best and churn out winning seasons, even without the best teams. He also has Mr. Pujols, which helps. A little.
Dusty Baker is a manager who was loved when he first came to Chicago. You know his exit story. Seems like we gave Reds fans a lot of crap when he was hired there. He's done a decent job, but the talent he's brought in hasn't exactly been amazing (a lot of guys who used to suit up for us). Given the right situation, he knows what he's doing. But he can't expect to be put in a situation where everyone is a proven veteran. If he can't handle or manage young players, he shouldn't be in baseball.
Ken Macha seems like a guy who knows what he's doing for the most part, and has made some great moves by putting his team in first. I know it's a shaky first, but many baseball experts thought they wouldn't be close to that this season. I never thought much of Yost. He just seemed to throw in whoever he could. I don't know if it was Yost, Acta, or just Rickie Weeks, but Weeks was, for the first time, living up to his potential this year, and that didn't happen under Yost.
Ozzie is a guy I've never had much respect for. Players like playing for him because he seems to treat them like one of the guys. As a manager, I don't think he does a great job. Josh Fields, Brian Anderson, and several of their young pitchers had a lot of talent and he seems to or has misused them. When he does that and they turn out to be busts, he casts them off and bad mouths them (see Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee). Sometimes he even does it to his own team, in public. Talk about embarrassing. He says he loves the game and playing, but it seems to me like he just loves the White Sox. Which is fine. But there's no reason to go out and bad mouth everything you don't like. Everyone knows someone like this, who complains all the time. And generally, we don't like this person.
Cecil Cooper's verdict is still out. So far it's not great though. He's certainly on the hot seat. He has oodles of talent on the offensive side of the game and his team has struggled with hitting. The Astros are very good at acquiring players past their prime. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with Cooper though. When Hunter Pence first came up, I thought he was going to be a huge star. Speedy, decent arm, decent pop. He hasn't really done anything significant for long stretches of time though. Seems like Cooper could have stepped in and helped him out.
Three managers I have a lot respect for, Joe Maddon, Ron Gardenhire, and Bobby Cox. All have three different styles of managing and three different approaches to the game. But all find ways to win, especially when given bad situations. How can you not respect Cox and his success for IIRC 14 straight playoff appearances?! Unfathomable, especially as a Cubs fan. Gardenhire and Maddon came into their managing positions with teams who had talent and losing histories. Both have turned that culture and mindset around for their respective clubs.
Mike Scioscia is another who belongs in that catagory.