Last night’s stinger is still too fresh to think about. Between Curtis Granderson’s robbery and Jorge Posada’s (of all the Yankees, it had to be Posada? Seriously?) dagger, it hurts.
Good thing we play today.
Rather than focusing on the outcome, let’s turn to Gary Shelton’s column (note, this column about Willy Aybar that appears on the website is different — and much better — than the fluff column I got in my print addition). Today, in the world of Gary Shelton, Joe Maddon is a genius again because Willy Aybar hit a home run.
Back in the ’08 stretch drive, it seemed Maddon made these sorts of moves all the time. He seemed to see things, know things, feel things. He always seemed to pick the right bat from the right stack.
In a lot of days since then, right or wrong Maddon has frustrated a lot of fans in Tampa Bay. Now that his brain has made a comeback, perhaps fans will appreciate him more.
Two things. First, I am almost certain that Shelton is being facetious in judging Maddon’s decisions solely in hindsight. Second, a lot of other folks in town (ahem, I am looking at you Mr. Duemig) really think this way. Look, Joe Maddon can be difficult to watch for old-time baseball people, myself included. He breaks almost every rule we learned from guys that smoked cigars in dugouts.
But, in a weird way, that is his charm. He isn’t constrained by conventional wisdom and isn’t afraid to use new ideas to look at the game from a different perspective. I am the first to admit that I am not expert when it comes to advanced baseball metrics. But, watching Maddon skipper this club doesn’t drive me crazy. It makes me want to understand his logic. If nothing else, Maddon’s record has at least earned him the benefit of the doubt. Right? We can certainly disregard Shelton’s sentiment that Maddon is “feeling” his way around the game.
Now, someone get me a stat pack so I can convince Joe never to use Dan Wheeler in a big spot again…