Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Really Don't Follow the Wizards at All, but...

Maybe one of you can explain it to me. Why does a coach with this record get fired:
  • .521 winning percentage last four seasons
  • .467 winning percentage total in DC
  • Four straight non-losing seasons
  • Four straight playoff appearances
And a GM with this record is safe:
  • Four straight non-winning seasons in DC (and counting)
  • Seven straight non-winning seasons total for career (and counting)
  • .439 winning percentage in DC
  • No playoff appearances in four seasons in DC
  • One playoff appearance in 14 seasons career
Just askin'. And don't try to tell me that Bowden's excuse is that he inherited a crappy team. I know enough about the Wiz to know the crap-ass condition that MJ left them in.


Steve Shoup said...

Simply put the Wizards had talent and couldn't do much with it. I have never liked Eddie Jordan I think that the Wiz always succeeded in spite of him not b/c of him. He never focused on defense and I think that was always their downfall in the playoffs (that and injuries). Now i'm not saying Bowden's job should be safe but I think the Wizards made the right move. It would be like if the Lerners gave Bowden a $120 million dollar payroll, $10 million for the draft and $5 million a year for international signings and he still could provide a successful team.

JayB said...

Difference is that GM's keep their jobs because owners think they are super cool......Managers and coaches keep their job by winning. Eddie Jordon was not winning and players knew the power lay with the GM. Manny Acta is about to learn the same lesson this Summer unless he learns to bunt, hit and run, play the best players on the day of the game and sit players who feel entitled to playing time. (Milledge).

JakeTheSnake said...

I should probably preface this by saying I'm more of a basketball guy than a baseball guy, so my view on this might be skewed, but I think you're oversimplifying here.

The thing you have to remember that NBA coaches have a much shorter lifespan than the average GM. Jordan had only been coaching with the Wizards for 6 years yet he had the third longest tenure in the NBA when he was fired. For a coach, all it takes is one bad stretch (in Jordan's case, a 1-10 start) to get canned, whereas it generally takes a prolonged pattern of failure to get a GM fired.

Now I'm not saying that Bowden hasn't produced a prolonged pattern of failure, the numbers you posted say it all, but I don't think you're making an apples to apples comparison.

While I'm here I should mention that your blog is awesome. I don't comment a lot because like I said earlier, I'm more of a basketball guy so I don't have a lot to add to the discussion, but I really enjoy your posts.

e poc said...

why is it that acta should sit milledge, exactly? and who should be playing in his spot?

JayB said...

Acta should sit Milledge because after a year of time in CF he still was the worst CFer in the National League. In fact several reports, tell of Jerry Morales admitting he got so bad at end of August and September that they had him play a few steps in front of the warning track because he could not go back on balls. Acta never got his attention so that he would work at improving his defense and he regressed it seems. Acta praised him all year and that with his natural inflated opinion of him self and his lack of respect for the games finer points, like hitting cut off men, or calling for balls, produced a player who thinks all he needs to do is "spend time at a position" to become “great” at it.....paraphrasing some but that seems to be his contention........Acta should have played Milledge in LF and Harris in CF, Acta should have been telling Jimbo that once again he has failed to address the hole that has been the Nationals CF job from Day 1 in DC. Once again, that Nats (5 years running now right) go into Spring Training needing to find a CFer.

Steven said...

Jake--thanks for the comment.

you're right that I'm oversimplifying. And as I said, I really know jack about Eddie Jordan. I have a vague sense that the Wiz were a Nats-esque perennial last place team when he arrived and that he turned them into a semi-interesting team that makes the playoffs. Also I have a general sense that there's a player named Arenas who wasn't here before and he probably made a big difference. Don't know who gets credit for him.

But isn't Arenas hurt? And isn't someone else hurt? It seems a little erratic to shitcan a guy after 10 games or whatever it is when the best players are mostly hurt.

Anyway, let's not get any further into the Wiz. I can't name more than 3 of their players and have only the vaguest sense of the difference between a shooting guard and a point guard (like, the point guard is supposed to start with the ball and initiate the play, right? Well, I grew up watching the Bulls and John Paxson was the point guard and he hardly ever saw the ball unless MJ, the shooting guard dished it off. So somehow there's something I don't understand...)

Bottom line, this post was just another creative way to point out that Bowden's continued employment isn't defensible. It's gettnig hard to find new ways to make the point :-)

Steven said...

Jay--you realize that Milledge is still just 23, right? YOunger than Flores, Zimmerman, Berndina, Lannan... He's a couple weeks older than Bonifacio. He's going to get a lot better. If he can add 30 points of OBP and 50 points of SLG and become an average CF by age 26, all totally realistic, he's going to be a real asset.

JayB said...


You seem to feel Olson is the worst pitcher in baseball and is washed up at a very young age. I see big problems with Milledge as a professional.

Milledge bounces (4 to 5) throws to second pass even after coming in to pick up a ground ball through the infield. He has such poor fundamentals. He does not set up to throw. He does not know how to round bases or take a pitch. Sure he is only 23 but the aspects of the game he is clueless about I see 16 and 17 year old High School players master in a season. Enough, if you can get a pitcher for him do it…he will never help this team win.

The only way this team improves is they change the way they approach the game. They need great defense and pitching and some ability to manufacture runs.....Milledge does none of that for them.

Will said...

I don't even know where to start here. Since I don't read any Wizards blogs excuse the rant.....
Jordan was a decent coach. He had a very talented group of players (Arenas, Butler, Jamison, etc) and only once managed to get past the first round of the playoffs.

However, he isn't the guy to blame for the Wiz's 1-10 start. It's the Wizards' front office. Whoever was stupid enough to offer Arenas that $111 million contract should never set foot anywhere near a professional basketball team ever again. That contract is the baseball equivalent of offering an injury prone Ben Sheets CC Sabathia-like money.
When Arenas signed that deal he was still dealing with knee problems. To give him one of the largest contracts in the NBA was asinine. On top of the injury concerns, the Wizards last year proved that they were just as good without him! So what does Arenas bring to this team except bad defense?

The Wizards missed their opportunity to trade Arenas before he was a huge salary burden and injury risk. And it won't be until 2012 (when Arenas' contract comes off the books) until the Wizards can seriously compete.

e poc said...

JayB: i think you're overreacting a bit. as steven said, milledge is only 23. that is very young. besides that, the difference between milledge in cf and dukes (who's the other good option we have) is probably one defensive win at the very most. if the nats were in a position where they needed one win in a single season more than they needed to let young talent develop, i could see your point. but where they're at right now, they need to give milledge some time out there and work to help him improve. if milledge can hit for a whole season like he did in the second half last year, he'll be a very good cf, even if his defense doesn't improve at all.

JayB said...

E poc,

If he showed any type of instincts or even more important, work ethic and respect for the game, maybe he would improve.......but he does not and he will not.......given that likelihood, I say trade him high while others still see it your way.......If as you say he never improves his Defense, then I completely disagree that he will still be a serviceable CFer. He was the worst in NL and very close to worst in Baseball by most stats. Teams do not win without defense up the middle do not win. Teams with a CFer playing on the warning track because after 130 or so games he has proven to even the most optimistic GM and Manager in the game that he has no ability to go back on balls do not win. Cut your lose on this one and get some pitching for him....that wins games.

JayB said...

Dukes on the other hand is the real deal. He has fabulous fundamentals. He plays hard and smart.......hope he keeps that temper under control....he is the best CF we have but I would think he would likely last longer and hurt less in RF.....Love the way Dukes plays the game. Someone taught him right....fundamentals that is....I do not go for all the other stuff but I think he is worth the price of admission for pure baseball skills.

e poc said...

jayb: some metrics have milledge very bad defensively; others have him only a few runs below average. but even if you call him something like 10 runs below average over a season, he will more than make that up if he hits even as well as he did in the second half last year. as he's only 23 it's fairly likely that he could do even better (both offensively and defensively), given time and experience.

of course, there's no way to argue with the claim that his lack of work ethic and respect for the game will prevent him from getting better, so i guess i'll just go ahead and say that milledge has the best work ethic i've ever seen and also has personally developed a new type of steroid that is completely undetectable and increases offensive production, defensive ability, and sexual prowess ten-fold, so you can stop worrying about him never getting better. :)

John said...

Did I miss something? Did Milledge crap on the Babe's tombstone and punch Hank Aaron in the face? I'm just trying to figure out how Milledge disrespected the game here, because I'm not really coming up with anything.

JayB said...


I guess you and I watch baseball differently. I do not need Milledge see Millege do the things you suggest to feel he has a lack of respect fot the game. How Milledge plays the game and how he does not work at the fundamentals of the game tell me what I need to know. Anyone who believes they are a professional would not mock the game the way his play does. Age has nothing to do with it. Wactch Dukes, Zim and Flores and how they approach the game. You do not see them under arm and purposely roll a ball to a base during a game with the ball being live. I have seen Milledge do it several times....he seems to think it is cool to be too cool to throw overhand unless someone is going for two....we all say several times that other player learned this and walked into second with a double when Milledge did this....that is disrespecting the game in my book. They ran on him all year….he played over 130 games in CF and had 1 count that ONE assist…….

e poc said...

JayB: i really fail to understand your point. are you simply saying that you don't like milledge because of the way he plays, and you prefer not to have players you don't like on the team you root for? if that's it, then i have no problem with that.

but you started this whole discussion out by claiming that in order to win, acta needs to bench milledge, and that the nats need to find a new cf. this is simply not true if all you're talking about is winning games. all those bounced throws and whatever are reflected in the defensive stats, and as i've brought up numerous times, even if you believe milledge is a -10 defender in center (which is a bit lower than the average of the defensive stats i can find for last year), he's still above average as a total player if he can hit even close to as well as he did in the second half last year. since he's only 23, it's a good bet that he can do that or better. dukes may be a better option in cf, but even in that scenario, milledge just becomes the best corner outfield option we have. and switching the two counts for maybe 2 runs a year or so.

as i hinted, i'm not going to argue with you about whether he has a lack of work ethic or respect for the game, because i'm not in a position to judge that. maybe you are. and if his work ethic, as you see it, is a problem for you, that's fine. but it seems that you are letting that subjective problem of yours cloud your judgment of him as a player, which is frustrating.

JayB said...

E Poc,

I see your points. Yes you are correct that I do not want to have a player like Milledge on the team I root for.......I understand your point that he may statistically be a help to his team as far as winning on games in Excel. I see baseball very differently than you or Steven in this area.....Intangibles and team chemistry mean a lot to me and I think have more to do with winning than total net runs.......I know you do not see the game unfolding like that and I am fine with that too.......Thanks for your help pointing out these issues.