Thursday, October 14, 2004

Is Johnny Podres Available?

While the blogosphere puts its money on Charlie Manuel as the Phillies' next manager, Bill Conlin chips in with some interesting perspective on Jim Fregosi, the skipper of the fabled and beloved '93 squad, who will interview in a couple of weeks.

If Larry Bowa perfected the art of reducing a team to something less than the sum of its parts, surely Fregosi accomplished the opposite, at least in 1993. Talk all you want about lightning in a bottle, but those Phillies possessed both a remarkable chemistry and a penchant for maximizing talent. Conlin suggests those traits didn't simply evolve on their own:

The thing was, [Fregosi] gave the appearance of letting the clubhouse police itself, and he knew he had a strong sergeant-at-arms out there, sitting in that rocking chair in front of his locker. At the same time, though, the clubhouse door was always open to anybody who needed to get something heavy off his chest.

Everybody on that club bought into the theme of taking pitches, working counts and making pitchers work from the stretch. For a team that didn't have a lot of home run hitters and lacked overall speed, it was an approach that led to a club record for walks and runs scored. It was no accident.

Look, Manuel probably would be a fine choice. He said all the right things in the papers today. But Fregosi -- who earned points by me with his frank, off-the-record, and fully accurate trashing of WIP and its serious listeners -- is a very intriguing figure. One shouldn't forget that all of the baggage with which he left Philadelphia included a National League championship trophy.

4 Comments:

At October 15, 2004 at 11:33 AM, Blogger gr said...

at first it sounds like an idea worth considering. fregosi had a team like this one, in that they lacked alot of the little things a world series team has (speed, consistent starting pitching). but, the more i think about it, the more i think the reasoning behind it is faulty - "let's bring back jim because things were better then." isn't that along the same lines of why bowa was brought in?

 
At October 15, 2004 at 11:37 AM, Blogger Tom G. said...

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At October 15, 2004 at 11:42 AM, Blogger Tom G. said...

That was an interesting article by Conlin. I learned a bit about the '93 team I didn't know. Unfortunately, that team was pre-internet, pre-digital cable, pre-MLB.tv, so I couldn't keep up with the team in Va., and so it is hard for me to have an opinion on Fregosi one way or the other, but I would agree with "gr", it is nearly impossible to recreate that kind of thing. Ask Joe Gibbs.

 
At October 15, 2004 at 11:45 AM, Blogger Tom Goodman said...

Apart from the recycling and nostalgia issues, Fregosi lacks one other key ingredient, indeed the most important ingredient. Many fans are clamoring for change and Fregosi doesn't represent that. He represents the past and although that past includes 1993, his managerial record here and elsewhere comes up short of .500 overall and below that level for five of the six years he was in Philadelphia. In the end, managers are important in setting a tone, making game decisions (perhaps their least significant role), assembling an effective coaching staff and in being one of the most visible symbols of the franchise. It is this last role, legitimate or not, that matters so much to the fans,

 

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