Friday, March 5, 2010

"I'd be bluffing if I told you I knew what I was talking about"

How confident are you in this man's ability to manage Stephen Strasburg's $15 million arm? Jim Riggleman responding to a question about how Craig Stammen looked today*:
You know, anything that has to do with the mechanics of pitching, you know, I just, I'd be bluffing if I tried to tell you I knew what I was talking about. You know, the mechanics of pitching, you know, it makes sense to me when McCatty and pitchers explain what they're doing, but you know, I want him to be healthy, and I'm looking for results, so, you know, that's the main thing, and I'm sure if he feels there was a mechanical thing there that he was doing that he'll make the adjustment, and he'll do it otherwise next time he pitches.
Shoot. Me. Now.

*If you're looking for a link, there isn't one. This is from the Zuckerman daily audio files provided to non dead-beats who send him at least one red cent. So if you want to hear it, throw something in the hat.


Anonymous said...

Shut up about it already! Have you ever played the game or do you just sit and pontificate like a gigantic douchebag about this all the time? What do you want from this man? Do you honestly think that Rizzo, Riggleman, Kasten and McCatty want to go out and abuse Strasburg's arm?

The answer is NO. Good God, enough already.

dale said...

So, do we need an interpreter, Steve?
Riggleman said he does not know the fine points of the mechanics of pitching and he leaves it up to the pitching coach and the pitcher to figure out what can be corrected. In the end he wants the pitcher to be healthy and to be able to contribute to the team's success. What about this seems unreasonable?

For myself I am more worried about a Guzman/Kennedy combination in the infield and an ancient Pudge at catcher than Riggleman purposely destroying the pitching staff.

Dave Nichols said...

at least Riggles is being honest about it. you ugys can stick your heads in the sand all you like, but this is a big deal and Steven is right to emphasize it. especially since there's a lot of reporting, but not much critique, coming out of Viera.

Mark said...

It's just overreaction after overreaction around here. Your question - do we trust him - is pointless for several reasons. Most obviously because the Nats aren't going to leave Strasburg's future in Riggleman's hands. And I think it's expected of Riggleman to stay away from Strasburg as far as the context of his quote is concerned. Of course he will leave matters of mechanics and development to those who specialize in them. Lastly, the one area in which Riggleman will partially control Strasburg, work load, will certainly be in part dictated by those responsible for protecting their investment, and Riggleman needs to know zilch about mechanics to manage a pitch count.

What's the problem here?

Mark said...

Dave - Nobody needs critique for the sake of critique. The point is the Nationals are not flying blind on Strasburg by a long shot. I don't want to inflate Riggleman's position, he's probably as close to a lame duck as a manager in his first Spring leading a club can be, but a big part of managing is delegation. He wasn't a pitcher, it's not his area of expertise, but what's wrong with him leaving mechanics to the experts? I really, really think this is a non-issue.

Steven said...

If this comment doesn't trouble you at least a little, I wonder what would? Would you want a golf coach who knows nothing about he mechanics of a golf swing? Would you want a tax attorney who openly admits there are big sections of tax law that s/he just can't understand?

What if he said, "to be honest, I don't really know the rules of baseball." What if he admitted he had trouble remembering the players' names. Would those be at all troubling to you?

He said he doesn't know what he's talking about when it comes to anything to do with pitching mechanics. Is a guy showing signs of laboring? Jim doesn't know. Is a guy showing signs of maybe a cascading injury? Jim will ask the pitchers themselves or wait for McCatty to tell him. Is a pitcher missing his release point? Dropping his arm slot? Not repeating his delivery? One would think these would be good things for a manager to have some sense of when he's deciding whether to keep a pitcher in the game or not.

And don't tell me, "that's what McCatty's for." It's not what he's for. He's the pitching coach, not the man in charge or the guy who's bottom line responsible. He reports to Riggleman, not the other way around.

Mark said...

Steven - Your comment just helps clarify the problem with this post; that your entire premise is just plained flawed.

McCatty is the swing coach; he is the tax attorney. He is the guy performing the specialized instruction. So of course it would be alarming if the pitching coach said that, but I don't think it's a problem that Riggleman doesn't feign to know the nitty gritty about something he has never performed or coached.

Steven said...

No, they're both tax attorneys, and Riggleman is the higher ranking of the two. The pitcher is the client.

If Riggleman doesn't know what he's talking about, then he should have no say in who pitches when or go to the pitcher's mound during games.

Chris said...

So all of you are saying that it's okay for a manager of a professional baseball team to not know anything about pitcher mechanics? It's fine if it's not his specialty, but every manager should be knowledgeable about all aspects of the game, or else they are woefully unqualified.