Good Management Can Make a Difference
To look for the difference in the Brewers as exemplified by the team’s great start in the 2014 season, start the search by looking at the organization’s management.
Clearly, Brewer’s General Manager Doug Melvin has got to be executive of the year! Through has deft evaluation of talent and slick moves, the team has done better on just about every trade and free acquisition than the opposition. This firm hand at the wheel has not panicked when things have gone rough, has stuck with the right talent, and has not been afraid to sail on the often turbulent waves of fortune in putting together this baseball team.
It starts with trades he did not make, such as dealing Yovani Gallardo or Ryan Braun. Also he could traded Tyler Thornburg to the Mets to acquire Ike Davis to play first base. Having both Tyler Thornburg and Mark Reynolds instead is a lot better.
Going back a little further in the past, there is the acquisition of Gold Glove Centerfielder Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez, Sean “Sugar” Segura, and Will Smith in trades with the Twins, Cubs, Angels, and Royals. Signing free agent pitchers Kyle Lohse and Mark Garza seem to have solidified a starting pitching rotation. Then there is the knockout good fortune that every other GM missed but Doug Melvin in the re-signing of closer Francisco Rodriquez after trading him away to the Orioles for the second half of last season. Who would have imagined but Melvin that K-Rod still had his stuff!
Next, one has to applaud field manager Ron Roenicke. Having to juggle a line-up with two first baseman and two second baseman is no easy task. Casey Stengal was once quoted saying the secret of managing a major league baseball team was “keeping the five players that hate you away from the four that have not made up their minds yet.” Given the egos of these millionaires, he might not have been too far wrong. Yet he seems to have everything organized well. He is also willing to experiment. Long gone are the days of the 1957 Braves when the day’s line-up was already pre-printed on the $1 scorecard when the fan arrived at the park. Recently he inserted Scooter Gennett into the two hole as Segura seems struggling a bit. Scooter of course has the second highest batting average in the major leagues since he began starting late last season, so he couldn’t go too far wrong in a move to give him more at bats while easing any pressure on Segura.
With the now “lights out” bullpen, he is able to make switches early to prevent the starters from flaring out like LaRussa could do with the Cardinals pitching in close, important games. I don’t think our manager is going to be intimidated by anyone either.
Lastly, applause continues to be due owner Mark Attanasio. He lets the people he pays to do it make the baseball decisions. He was willing to convince his partners to follow Melvin’s lead. Also, the Brewers now have a “fan friendly” attitude missing in years past as if the southern California owners have learned from the operations at Disneyland.
Fasten your seat belt! It is going to be a wonderfully memorable season at Miller Park. Full steam ahead!
J. D. Thorne
By J. D. Thorne
Author and Speaker, The 10 Commandments of Baseball
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Written exclusively for www.OnWisconsinSports.com