If a defensive back is not hustling on a play and completely misses a coverage the onus is on the player, but as soon as the entire defense appears to be missing assignments, reads or coverage then the head coach is on the hot seat. If there is one mental error that is on the player but as soon as those mental errors become more common it is a systemic issue.
In the NBA if players are not hustling back down the court or not playing defense instead of the highly paid professional athletes being held accountable for their lack of effort the lowly paid coach is fired.
Should the same be said about baseball? I don’t think so. Heck, I don’t think it applies to most cases in professional sports. It’s just that the manager or head coach is an easy target.
In football I think the head coach can be held accountable, more so than any other sport because schemes are so important and if players haven’t been coached to be in the right place at the right time it should fall onto the coach(es).
This weekend there were two instances in which it appeared the Rockies were completely unprepared.
The first came on Saturday night when Wilin Rosario started to run towards the dugout after a Juan Nicasio strikeout. The problem was there were only two outs in the inning. If there is one player on the field that must know how many outs there are, game situation, the count, etc, it is the catcher. Outfielders are known for throwing balls into the stands with only two outs in the innings but that is almost understandable as they will stand out in that big green pasture for minutes on end with no action, but the catcher is always involved.
If a bunch of NFL players started to run off of the field on third down the head coach would take a ton of blame. Even when special teams personnel do not get onto or off of the field in time at the very least the special teams coach takes a ribbing from the media.
But I don’t see how Rosario’s mental lapse can be a fault of Tracy’s. (Maybe in this instance it isn’t a big deal but what if Tony Gwynn Jr. or Dee Gordon was standing on second? I bet they would have taken advantage and moved to third.)
The second big gaffe came on Sunday afternoon when Tyler Colvin and Carlos Gonzalez converged on a fly ball to left centerfield and neither of them called for the ball and the ball dropped right between the two of them. How basic and rudimentary is that?
That shouldn’t even happen on a big league field. That sort of play is covered ad nauseum in Spring Training and one might be inclined to heap the blame of this onto Tracy because his team is obviously not prepared. I wouldn’t.
These are just the most recent plays that have made the Rockies look silly. Let’s not forget the time Marco Scutaro didn’t apply the tag to a potential base stealer simply because he thought the batter was walked (he wasn’t and in fact the batter struck out and if Scutaro would have just applied the tag it would have been a double play). And how many defensive errors has this team had this year? If Clint Hurdle was the supposed reason for the historically great defensive play in 2007 then wouldn’t it stand to reason that Tracy is just as responsible for the horrid play in 2012?
I don’t think he is. The players need to play. The manager puts the players in the field and they just need to do their job. CarGo mis-played two routine fly balls in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and has shown an overall lack of hustle in the field. The play on Sunday is just another occasion in which CarGo (and this time Colvin, too) didn’t do their job and didn’t do something each has been doing since Little League: call for the ball.
Tracy has been provided a heaping pile of you know what at this point and as my good friend likes to say “you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken ****.” The pitching staff is obliterated and really at no fault of Tracy’s. The team has essentially six or seven potential starting pitchers but four or five of them would have a hard time finding a spot on the roster of 80% of the teams in the Major Leagues. Troy Tulowitzki squeezes his bat so hard in high leverage situations I think his hand is littered with splinters and causing his early season awful play at shortstop.
Michael Cuddyer might be turning into a fan favorite with his hustle on the base paths but at this point in the year he has been worth -0.2 WAR.
Tracy was not dealt a favorable hand and I think the lapses in the field are no fault of his own. If anything they are the fault of Dan O’Dowd. He is the one who brought in a stable full of “clubhouse guys” with “slow heartbeats” and those guys apparently are responsible for keeping the younger kids focused.
Now if we want to blame Tracy for the idiocy that is the contact play, go right ahead. I am sick of seeing a runner thrown out at home a few times a week. If there is a runner on third, less than two outs and the bases are not loaded how about the Rockies try something different? Instead of telling the runner to break for home as soon as the ball is hit, have the runner make sure the ball is hit somewhere in which they will not be thrown out at home? I know the team struggles at the plate with runners in scoring position, but that isn’t as excuse to get a guy thrown out at the plate.
Or how about the awful call on Saturday night in which Rosario was caught stealing with Nicasio trying to lay down a bunt with no outs in the inning and the game tied? First of all, how asinine is it to try to attempt a stolen base with a catcher? Secondly, the game was tied and if Tracy has already given up Nicasio for the sake of an extra base (Nicasio sac-bunting to move Rosario to second) why try to steal second? What would have happened if Rosario successfully stole that base? Would Nicasio have tried to move him to third?
If that is Eric Young Jr. standing on first I am game, but not Rosario and not in a tie ballgame.
If we want to blame Tracy for the daily change in his lineup, for the insistence of batting Scutaro leadoff (.314 OBP), his handling of young players or his worst offense of all – letting pitcher lay down a bunt late in a game and then pull the pitcher before the next half inning, fine, blame away. But I don’t see how his teams mental lapses on the field are any fault of his own.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.