This is an open letter to the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, A.J. Hinch.
Dear Skip (I use that term because that is what the players are supposed to call you, however, I wonder if yours do. Of course some of the young players on the Dodgers call manager Joe Torre, “Mr. Torre.” I’m pretty confident your players don’t call you Mr. Hinch.)
You were quoted in the Arizona Republic on October 5, 2009 that you have two weaknesses you want to work on during the off-season. First, you feel you need to work on manager-player relationships. Second, you recognize you need to improve your in-game decision-making. It is very commendable that you would be so transparent. I would love to be a fly on the wall when your players read those quotes. While your relationships with the players have been well hid from the public, your in-game decision making, well, has been hanging out there for all of us to see.
When you took over the Diamondbacks they were in fourth place and the Rockies were trailing the Dbacks in last. Shortly after the Dbacks turned their team over to you, the Rockies also made a change. Yesterday, at the end of the regular season, I couldn’t help but notice that the Dbacks finished in dead last. The Rockies, on the other hand, who hired a seasoned manager in Jim Tracy (who spent 13 years managing in the minor leagues before taking a major league job), are in the playoffs. That speaks enough of your lack of in-game decision-making. For your information, of course, I realize you have never even managed a Little League game, but in-game decision-making is also known as making managerial moves.
Interestingly enough, Sunday, in the same newspaper, Hall of Fame second baseman Ryan Sandburg was quoted as saying that he has aspirations of managing in the Big Leagues. Of course, he has spent the last three years successfully managing in the Cubs minor league system. My hunch is when he does get the chance to manage, he will be prepared in areas such as manager-player relationships and managerial moves, sorry, in-game decision making.
Here’s a suggestion for you. Instead of making us watch you slog through another season of learning on the job while we pay a lot of money to watch you do what you should have learned at a lower lever, why don’t you volunteer to manage in the Arizona Fall League. A lot of your colleagues honed their skills there first.
I realize you did not hire yourself. But, now that you have the job, and you realize that you have deficiencies, do something about it besides spending the winter playing X-Box baseball with your best friend and general manager buddy.