November 07, 2002
Baker out in San Fran, Bill James hired by Sox

Two interesting developments in baseball: First, San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker will not sign a new contract and thus will not return to the Giants. The rift between Baker and Giants owner Peter Magowan could not be repaired, so Baker becomes the first manager since Dick Williams in 1973 to leave a team he has just led to the World Series.

Boy howdy is this a move that could backfire on Magowan. Baker may or may not be a tactical genius, but there's no questioning his results. If they sputter next year, or if the Barry Bonds-Jeff Kent relationship melts down, the fans are not going to be happy. It's always ugly when a team owner tries to be a bigger story than the team and its employees. Ask any Cowboys fan.

The other interesting move is the Red Sox's decision to hire Bill James, the legendary baseball researcher and number cruncher (the preferred term of the cognoscenti is "sabermetrician", derived from the acronym SABR, which is the Society for American Baseball Research) as a special assistant/consultant/smart person.

This really should be a great move for the Sox, who have had some issues in evaluating talent recently. It all depends on what they do with him - as the article notes, James worked for the Royals in the 1990s, but had little impact because no one else there was smart enough to listen to him.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 07, 2002 to Baseball | TrackBack