Broadcasters Go Above and Beyond for Managers

May 13, 2009 at 11:16 am
Good announcers, big homers. - McLaughlin, left, Hrabosky, right.
McLaughlin, left, Hrabosky, right.
Good announcers, big homers.
If you watched last night's mind-numbing display of pitching changes by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, you know how I feel.

Worst of all, though, was the commentary I was forced to listen to from the boys in the booth. Cardinals broadcasters Dan McLaughlin and Al Hrabosky, when confronted with this truly bizarre example of bullpen strategy, went above and beyond the call of duty. They fell on their own swords in a blinding display of stupidity to deflect attention from the manager's blinding display of insanity. 

Dan and Al actually had the nerve to sit there and tell the viewing audience about how Tony will protect the bullpen. He'll make sure that they're taken care of, that they aren't overused, that none of the eight guys down there in the 'pen are forced to take one for the team just because the starters are putting this extra pressure on them. At this point, I actually had to mute the action temporarily, because I felt the blood behind my eyes beginning to turn into steam. 

So Tony is protecting the bullpen? Really? That's bullshit, and even Dan and Al, scions of why we need Fire Joe Morgan back, should be able to grasp it. Tony isn't protecting anything; Tony is the reason the bullpen is always seemingly on the verge of collapse. How many warm-up tosses do his relievers throw, not in a close game in which they may have to come in at a moment's notice, but in games where he just wants to feel like he's doing something? He gets guys up, then cancels, then gets them back up, then cancels again, all with a scenario in mind that has a three percent chance of occurring two innings from now. 

You know what I want? I want a manager who, rather than being familiar with Occam's Razor in a legal sense, is actually capable of employing it every now and again. The simplest solution, you say? Why, that's preposterous! 

If you're going to carry this ponderous, ridiculously large bullpen, then at least use it in a way that makes sense. The Cardinals just had to have a long man on the roster, yet when a situation tailor-made for a long man comes along, what does the manager do? He burns through three relievers to get the job done, including one of his lefty specialists that he simply can't live without. The Cards play with a short bench night after night, one without any appreciable pop on it (due to the fact that the only thing Tony loves more than middle relievers is middle infielders who struggle to slug their weight), just so they can keep this self-indulgent parade of relievers coming in waves, and then Tony uses three arms just to do what one is on the roster specifically to do. 

It's enough to drive a man to drink, I tell you.