Eric Wedge

Managers have been on my mind a lot lately, which honestly isn't something I think I've ever been able to say. The Manager of the Year awards were just handed out on Wednesday, and while I don't care about the Manager of the Year awards and you don't care about the Manager of the Year awards, I wrote way too much about the Manager of the Year awards. The St. Louis Cardinals just hired Mike Matheny to be their new manager. The Chicago Cubs just hired Dale Sveum to be their new manager. The Boston Red Sox are still searching for whoever will end up being their new manager.

So, there have been managers and potential managers in the news, causing me to think about them. And when I think about other managers, eventually I end up thinking about my team's manager. The Mariners hired Eric Wedge 13 months ago, to the day. He's managed the M's for one full season, the team generating a 67-95 record. And it occurred to me that I have no idea how people feel about him.

My sense is that people are okay with Wedge. The Mariners are certainly okay with Wedge, given that the team finished in last place, and the entire coaching staff was preserved. But I don't know anything about fan opinion, hence this post. The poll results on Lookout Landing might not be reflective of the thoughts of the entire Mariners fan base, but they're better than nothing.

It would be easy to hate Eric Wedge. I think it's probably easy to hate just about any manager, and Wedge is no different. It would be easy to hate him and snark about eyes and aggressiveness and the way he liked how Carlos Peguero looked in batting practice. It would be easy to snark about the whole Adam Kennedy thing, and not playing Jack Cust, and maybe playing Justin Smoak through injury. Eric Wedge might have some stains.

At the same time, he seemed to do a fine job of handling the pitching staff. He held together a team that was constantly changing and didn't shy away from putting inexperienced players in big spots. I don't recall that he was a prodigious sacrifice bunter or hit-and-runner, so his strategy didn't stand out. But then, it's been a while since I watched the Mariners, so maybe I've forgotten.

But something I've been thinking about is that managers are kind of like hitters. The best hitters in the world make outs more often than they don't make outs. You wish that a hitter would make fewer outs, but all hitters make a ton of outs. With managers, maybe they all get a certain number of things "wrong", and there's no sense in hoping for one who doesn't, because no such manager exists. Or at least, very few such managers exist. You can't look at a manager in a vacuum - you have to keep the rest of the pool of managers in mind.

And then there's all the other stuff a manager is supposed to do. The stuff that doesn't fall under "strategy". The leadership stuff and the motivational stuff. The stuff we barely understand. That stuff is important, too. That stuff is possibly and probably more important than anything else.

At this point I think I'm rambling more than I'm doing anything else so I should stop writing and leave you with the poll. The poll is the whole idea here. I want to know how you feel about Eric Wedge, when you consider the greater pool of Major League managers. I am very interested in seeing how this shakes out.

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