Admittedly, I’m basing this on a very small sample. Plenty of things could go wrong and it is possible, perhaps even likely, that new Milwaukee manager Ken Macha will have a lower winning percentage as Brewers manager than did his predecessor, Ned Yost.  But my guess is that Macha will be perceived  by fans as a better manager than Yost because of how he deals with the press. 

Milwaukee was Yost’s first managerial job after having served on Bobby Cox’s Atlanta staff for many years.  Cox himself can come off at times as prickly with the media, but he has a long and largely successful background after winning 14 division titles over 19 seasons as the Braves manager.  As a first time manager, Yost had no such background to fall back on and less perspective than his mentor when it came to dealing with reporters.  Yost was therefore never really given the benefit of the doubt and often came off as snarky and defensive when his less successful managerial moves were second guessed.

Macha, on the other hand, is older and has managed before; winning two division titles in four years with the Oakland A’s.  He has also has experience in the media, having worked on Boston Red Sox telecasts with New England Sports Network (NESN) for two years prior to being hired by Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.  His familiarity with with the press, combined with his managerial experience, should give him more savvy when dealing with the public.  Since fans primary access to their favorite teams is through the reporters that cover those beats, it follows that a more confident approach with the media should result in a more positive reception from the fans.  

Managers and coaches of professional sports teams usually get more credit and blame than they deserve.  Given their different personalities, my hunch is that Macha will be viewed as an upgrade over Yost regardless of his record .  At least until his inevitable firing.

 

Tags: , ,

  • Chris

    Fans want coaches and managers to feel as they do. They like it when the skipper overturns the buffet table after a close and frustrating loss because that’s probably what they did at their house following the game (after kicking the dog and yelling at the kids). So when a guy like Yost appears to “make excuses” or “coddle” underperformers when speaking to the media, it irritates many fans. So it went for Ned.

    To this point, Ken Macha has not hesitated to challenge players via the media. Fans like that, so I agree that he will be perceived as a better leader. Where Yost was seen by many fans as the source of the team’s troubles, my guess is that those same fans will see player failure as the reason for losses going forward. I don’t think this a bad thing as I believe player performance is largely the reason for winning and losing. At the same time I think it goes to underscore the power of perception as filtered through the lens of media coverage.

    • http://mike Mike

      Which, in essence, highlights the difference between being a fan and being a professional. When people are confronted by problems at work, most of them aren’t going to pitch a tantrum in front of employees and/or clients. And, if one does, he’s probably not very good at his job, nor likely to keep it for very long.

      On the other hand;
      in modern pro sports, particularly in baseball where contracts are guaranteed, public chastisement is really the only remaining avenue for coaches/managers to hold players accountable. But it is also a path that must be tread very carefully.

  • Jon

    He does seem to be more of a grown-up presence when dealing with the press. May not help win games and may not make friends in the clubhouse, but does project a more mature approach. Right or wrong.

  • Cody

    I don’t know, I really enjoyed Yost as a manager. He understood that players slump, but you have to keep that confidence in them or risk sending them even deeper into seconde guessing themselves. Also at least Yost was always ready to run out and challenge a terrible call. Macha would rather just let things play themselves out. This team always seemed to rally when Yost would get riled up toward the umpires, I think they need that temper to fuel the fire.

    • Chris

      I also wasn’t among the Ned Yost bashers, and I don’t expect to be among those who will — eventually, no doubt — be blasting Ken Macha. To me, the manager is just one of many factors that combine in a team’s success. I also happen to believe that the manager matters less in the winning equation than player performance.

      That doesn’t mean I am pining for Ned. However, I do think the team’s slow start is good in that it underscores to fans that a club might change managers but if the players continue to make bad pitches or not execute at the plate, there will be frustrating and disappointing losses no matter who is “calling the shots” from the dugout.

  • Pingback: Hot News » Ken Macha