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August 16, 2010 12:30 pm

Prospectus Perspective: The Last of The Czars

5

Steven Goldman

Except for iron-fisted Buck Showalter, the newly hired managers are really no different than the men they replaced.

Just when you were convinced that managing was a thoroughly debased profession, along comes Buck Showalter. Five clubs have changed managers in the course of this season (Arizona, Baltimore, Florida, Kansas City, and Seattle), which wouldn’t have been a shocking number from the 1960s through the 1980s, but is high for the current era. Back in the 1920s, Giants manager John McGraw said, “With my team I am an absolute czar. My men know it. I order plays and they obey. If they don't, I fine them.” Did Don Wakamatsu look like the czar of anything to you? For that matter, does Jerry Manuel?

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July 28, 2010 8:00 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: Don't Call it the Veterans' Committee

7

Jay Jaffe

Noting yet more changes in the Veterans' Committee and considering Lou Piniella's Hall of Fame case.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame's Board of Directors threw another changeup. One day after the Class of 2010 enjoyed its day in the sun, the board announced a restructuring of its procedures to consider managers, umpires, executives, and "long-retired players" for election to the Hall of Fame. In doing so, it buried the lead: the institution has put a pillow over the face of the Veterans Committee it radically expanded in 2001. In fact, the press release outlining the re-re-revamped procedures doesn't use the phrase "Veterans Committee" at all.

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July 9, 2010 4:43 pm

All-Star Discontents

11

Christina Kahrl

Can the All-Star Game fulfill any element of its proposition to a serious skeptic?

I'll admit, I've been an All-Star skeptic for a long, long, long time. When I was blessed with the absolute certainty of youth, I would derisively laugh off the All-Star Game as merely a baseball-flavored entertainment. I haven't watched any portion of an All-Star Game since seeing Bo Jackson turn Rick Reuschel into the All-Star Game's answer to Craig Ehlo back in 1989*, usually treating the break as just that, a time to relax and review, what had happened and what could be coming, both before and after the launch of Baseball Prospectus for 1996.

That didn't change even now that the contest “counts,” a product of Czarist pique and union tractability after the embarrassment of the tie of 2002. It's not a worse idea than the previous method of letting World Series home-field advantage be alternated annually, but as someone who figures that home-field advantage should simply belong to the team with the best record—especially if we're going to have interleague play—it isn't exactly the sort of thing that makes you settle into your seat, intent on the outcome because of what's at stake.

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