Former Oakland A’s skipper Ken Macha sounded off over the weekend about being fired, disagreeing with the notion that “disconnect” (as Billy Beane put it) between he and the team caused his removal.
Instead, he blamed Beane for interfering too much with the day to day operations of the team and said he was uncomfortable with some of the moves his famous general manager wanted him to make. Specifically, Beane wanted Bobby Kielty to start against left handed pitchers throughout the playoffs in place of Mark Kotsay. Macha opted for Kotsay.
I have two problems with most managers. They want to be more of a factor in a game than they actually are and they make too many instinct calls. Beane is genius because he tries to eliminate that. In his system, the manager is forced to make as few decisions as possible, thereby canceling out possible mistakes.
When it comes to making actual game decisions, all the manager has to do is look up a chart and figure out what makes sense. That’s what some fail to see. The numbers don’t lie. If Kotsay stinks against lefties, why wouldn’t you start Kielty? That was a gut call from Macha. Gut calls get you fired. See Grady Little in Boston.
Ultimately, Macha didn’t lose his job over one botched platoon assignment or because he didn’t play the percentages correctly. It’s because he didn’t do what was asked of him.
In Oakland, it’s simple. Win your players over and gain their respect. They know who’s really running the show so you have to go to bat for them more. Have their backs against umpires and the media. Explain to guys on the bench why they aren’t playing. That’s being a manager in Oakland.
It’s apparent Macha failed at that.
(Ironically, Beane also made a piss poor gut call to start Rich Harden over Dan Haren in game three of the ALCS but I guess he’s allowed to do that.)