Ron Roenicke

Ron Roenicke is a thoughtful guy

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This is not really a deep post or anything — and it’s likely not all that interesting to Brewers fans who are familiar with the guy already — but I thought it was worth noting that Ron Roenicke makes a great impression, seems very thoughtful and bright and seems like a dude I’d like to have manage my team.

He spoke to assembled media in his office for about 20 minutes. Since there isn’t any real news happening now, the questions were somewhat random and lent themselves to Roenicke making some jokes and talking about his philosophy on a number of things as opposed to facts and moves and things.

The funny: there are split squad games tomorrow and today’s game against the Indians, of course.  He wasn’t sure which teams they were playing when and where. He turned to the team PR guy to his left to ask what was what. The PR guy wasn’t sure either. Roenicke: “Sometimes I don’t know who we’re playing the next day, to be honest. I just know if we’re home or away.”

The thoughtful: first he was asked about how much more he knows about the team now as opposed to his managerial debut. He said that he doesn’t feel like he is a master of anything, really, and that “every day I feel like something happens where I learn something. From both positive and negative experiences.”  Very zen. Not at all surprising that he comes from the same managerial tree as Joe Maddon.

He continued in that vein when asked about Johnny Narron’s approach to hitting. He was asked how Narron differs from former hitting coach Dale Sveum. He said that Narron is unique in that he’s all about positive reinforcement. According to Roenicke, that’s not a common approach for hitting coaches. Which he finds strange because “hitting is so negative,” he said. “Guys go up to the plate sometimes and, no matter what, they think they’ve already got no chance.”  He said it’s a natural thing and that everyone does it, especially when they’re struggling, and that Narron tries to counteract that.

Is that all touchy-feely? Maybe. I dunno. I’m in a fantastically good mood today, though, and it just seemed right. And refreshing to hear, especially in the soft-spoken and affable manner Roenicke has.  It made me jealous that my team doesn’t have him as its manager. It would probably make most fans feel that way.

Great Moments in Not Understanding The Rules

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Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a Hall of Fame voter. In the past he has voted for players who used PEDs, but he’s never been totally happy with it, seeing the whole PED mess as a dilemma for voters.

On the one hand he doesn’t like voting for users and doesn’t like harming those who were clean by shifting votes away from them, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want to pretend history didn’t happen and that baseball hasn’t been filled with cheaters forever. What to do?

This year he decided to abstain altogether. A fair and noble act if one is as conflicted as Livingston happens to be. Except . . . he didn’t actually abstain:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

A blank ballot, signed and submitted, is not an abstention. It’s counted as a vote for no one. Each “no” vote increases the denominator in the calculation of whether or not a candidate has received 75% of the vote and has gained induction. An abstention, however, would not. So, in effect, Livingston has voted against all of the players on the ballot, both PED-tainted and clean, even though it appears that that was not his intention.

This is the second time in three years a Cleveland writer has had . . . issues with his Hall of Fame ballot. In the 2014-15 voting period, Paul Hoynes simply lost his ballot. Now Livingston misunderstood how to abstain.

I worry quite often that Ohio is gonna mess up a major election. I guess I’m just worrying about the wrong election.

Hall of Fame voters are making news, not exercising democratic rights

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Associated Press
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Last month the Baseball Writers Association of America voted to make all Hall of Fame ballots public beginning with next year’s vote for the 2018 induction class. In the past 24 hours or so, as this year’s Hall of Fame voting period comes to a close, a lot of folks have been talking about that. Most notably in Jayson Stark’s piece over at ESPN regarding next year’s brave new public world.

Stark is pro-transparency on the ballots, as are the vast majority of BBWAA members who voted on the public ballot measure (it passed 80-9). Not everyone Stark quotes in his article is on board with it, though:

“I’ve already seen a lot of people change their votes from one year to the next,” said one of the strongest dissenters to this decision, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “People have changed their votes based on public opinion.”

Two other sources in the story, Scott Miller of Bleacher Report and a voter who asked to remain anonymous equated their Hall of Fame vote with democracy and invoked the sanctity of the secret ballot. “The No. 1 reason I was against this rule is that in this country, it’s a democracy, and everyone has a vote on different things. And I hate to see a blanket rule that forces everyone to go in one direction,” Miller said. Here’s what the anonymous guy said:

“To me, a secret ballot is a fundamental of democracy. You should be able to vote your conscience without having to explain your vote. But once it’s public, you’re open to public pressure. And that’s not what we want in a democracy. We’re not elected representatives. We’re chosen to be part of a voting group.”

This is ridiculous of course. Voting for the Hall of Fame is not exercising democratic rights. It is making news and making history. Hall of Fame voters are making decisions which will fundamentally alter baseball history and which matter greatly to a large number of baseball fans. They are not advancing their own or society’s interests at the ballot box the way citizens do on election day. Despite the fact that the form of their action here is, technically speaking, a ballot, they are making news in the same way a GM makes a news with a trade, the commissioner makes news with a rule change or a team makes news by winning a World Series.

Would any of these voters — who are credentialed members of the media, by the way, and like to style themselves as truth-seeking members of the Fourth Estate — accept silence from the people who make the news on the beat they cover? Would they be content if the newsmakers whose acts they chronicle demanded anonymity the way they themselves do now? Of course they wouldn’t. And if they got the same silent treatment they’d prefer to give, they’d write one of those petulant little columns they love about players who “duck the press” after a game.

Suck it up, journalists. Act the way you expect the newsmakers you cover to act and own your decisions. Don’t pretend for a moment that you’re not the subject of, and not the reporter of, the story when Hall of Fame season comes around.