Sunday, October 7, 2012
Jim Tracy's resignation shows Colorado Rockies in downward spiral
Assistant General Manager Bill Geivett met with Tracy all day on Friday. The meeting was centered around the team's desire to bring Tracy back as their manager for 2013, despite posting the worst record in the 20 year history of the team.
The meeting, as the Denver Post so very well articulated, went further than Geivett simply giving Tracy the seal of approval. Instead, it focused on Tracy's role continuing to diminish. When Geivett took over for Dan O'Dowd on August 1st, Tracy's duties were limited to in-game management and talking to the media. What that amounts to is similar to that of the Wizard of Oz.
Tracy, by all accounts a very nice man, put his foot down with the organization. He wasn't going to be the guy who was simply a puppet. He wanted more control of the team, to actually be the manager. The fact that nothing was going to change made Tracy realize that he would continue to simply be the guy who looked like a fool in front of the media while the team allowed him to look like the guy making the poor decisions.
Perhaps the most telling comment came in the ESPN.com article. Geivett mentions that he was surprised by Tracy's decision. However, he goes on to say that no matter who the Rockies hire, the situation will remain the same, essentially meaning that Geivett will continue to micromanage the manager, choosing the lineup and only handing over the reins for the actual game itself, which essentially means bullpen decisions. Even that, however, is dictated by the front office as the continue down the path of strict pitch counts.
The statement regarding a new manager falling under the same protocol is telling. It would make sense if the Rockies and Geivett had put Tracy on notice. If they felt that he was failing the team and that he needed a guiding hand, a move to micromanage makes a certain amount of sense. In a sense, a move like that is similar to an action plan. It holds the manager accountable and takes steps to get him back on the right path.
However, Geivett's statement says that the micromanagement had nothing to do with Tracy or the job that he was doing. The new manager will also be micromanaged. Even before the guy who takes over is interviewed, it is clear that the role of the manager of the Colorado Rockies will simply be to talk to the media before and after games. He won't be deciding the lineup, he won't have a say in the roster. Essentially, the guy the Rockies hire will simply be a guy who puts on a uniform and physically goes and takes the ball from the pitcher after that pitcher hit a designated number of pitches that the organization determined was his limit.
Of course, finding someone who is willing to take that job won't be hard. There are plenty of people willing to do just about anything to be the manager of a big league ball club. The Rockies will have no shortage of candidates willing to interview. However, the odds of them getting a proven leader, someone who has had success in a clubhouse and on the field is extremely unlikely.
Most likely, the team will hire someone who has no big league managing experience. They will hire someone from within the organization who understands the system and is willing to be a puppet. Generally speaking, that is one of their current minor league managers. It also could be a long-time scout, a move similar to when the Diamondbacks hired AJ Hinch.
The bottom line is that the Rockies were able to pawn off the entire horrible season onto Tracy. It buys both Dan O'Dowd and Geivett another season to show that they are incompetent and that they had a huge responsibility for the lack of success this team has had in the past two seasons.
Make no mistake, Tracy was a horrible manager. His poor decisions went well beyond the 2012 season. He constantly tinkered with the lineup, generally over thought everything, and made in-game decisions that often-times led to scratching of the head and bewilderment. However, Tracy wasn't the root of the problems. He was part of the problem, but he wasn't the whole problem.
The sad news for Rockies fans is that no matter who this team hires as manager, the lack of leadership and the micromanagement from the front office is going to sabotage that person. The front office has been full of excuses all year long, and clearly that mindset is going to continue to the point that the team is trying new things and coming up with crazy theories to justify their poor decisions.
Jim Tracy revealed just how deep the Colorado Rockies issues are when he resigned on Sunday afternoon. Until this team cleans out the front office and demands results instead of excuses, this team will continue their free fall. They must get rid of the excuses or the downward spiral will continue.
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