With last week's hiring of Scott Servais as the Manager of the Seattle Mariners, the franchise has continued its move away from the influence of the Zduriencik regime and towards a new, seemingly efficient, top down and to the very bottom, Dipoto-led machine. Will it work? Was it the right hire? Will he have the clubhouse? Will Brad Miller be able to freely grow out his beautiful golden brown locks this time?
I do not have the answers to any of these questions. Nobody does. What we do know, itself, even turns to the realm of the hypothetical: it seems like Servais isn't going to be the kind of manager to sit Nelson Cruz because he is 0-4 against some random starting pitcher. It seems like he isn't going to be beholden to bullpen roles and arbitrary inning designations. It seems like he will be more open to including analytics in his day-by-day decisions in the dugout.
But the important question of what a baseball manager actually does still remains on the table. Aside from setting the lineup card, pulling pitchers, and deciding when to bunt or challenge, the game seems to me to be largely in the hands of both chance and the players controlling the variables on the field. And it is with this in mind that I make the following very serious and not at all hyperbolic claims:
- The most important part of a baseball manager's job is to entertain the crowd.
- The easiest way to entertain the crowd is to throw hugely performative tantrums at the umpires when your team is getting kicked around the playground.
- Lloyd McClendon, in this, is the aesthetic ideal.
- Unless Scott Servais gets down into the clubhouse to watch some tape, he is going to fall, fall so fast from the sky with his wings ablaze after trying to touch the post-McClendon sun sitting in the sky for all to see.