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The fans know so much more

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The fact of the matter is that the fans, the folks that have been watching the game, particularly baseball, know more than the owners, managers, coaches and certainly the sanctimonious play-by- play and color(less), self-loving describers of the action on the field.

The fans know...plain, pure and simple. They have a greater "feel" for the game and it is not, for example, genius to simply "know."

Are the fans just smarter? In most cases the answer is a resounding "yes." You are a run or two behind, man on first, none out, late innings (7th, 8th or 9th), and it does not take brilliance to move the runner to second in an effort to tie the game or sneak ahead by a run with a succeeding hit.

"But we have a great hitter at bat, so why waste it?"

Because, dummy, we are not always speaking of Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Howard or Manny Ramirez. Even worse is when they have the batter swinging away with men on first and second and none out.

Cutting to one of my not-so-favorite subjects, Joe Girardi, current skipper at the helm of the New York Yankees, who has the imagination of a rock. The fact that someone, anyone, played a sport, regardless of what it is, is not a springboard to managing, announcing or a Pulitzer on the horizon for a great effort. They played. End of story. He managed a bad Florida team and got them over .500. Manager of the Year?!?!?!?

Joe Girardi is finding it tougher than expected in his second season as Yankees Manager.
Girardi is still using the Joe Torre handbook. Grave error. He has Joba Chamberlain as a starter when the world knows he belongs in the bullpen for 7th, 8th, and 9th inning stints, the latter to give Mariano Rivera a breather. How knowledgeable do you to be to know that Chien-Ming Wang is not ready to return to the rotation when he is not able to make it through a turnstile on the Metro system?

Alfredo Aceves was touted by Girardi during a recent interview as a legitimate starter ready to fit into a rotation that is falling apart faster than the sides of Mt. Helena during one of its earthen upheaval belches. The man is not ready for Little League but somewhere among Brian Cashman, Hank Steinbrenner and Girardi, a vote was held. It was undertaken by a man that cannot manage, a general manager that has lost whatever touch he once had and the president of the SSDC (Successful Sons and Daughters Club), whose only claim to fame is his birthright. Sad, very sad.

No fan would have Cody Ransom fill in for anyone at third base, much less Alex Rodriguez. If there are two outs and no one on base, teams walk the next batter to get to him. It is embarrassing. Did Girardi make the decision to have him play, to even don a uniform with NY on it?

Yes, the fans are likely the same folks that live in a world consumed by what happens to Jon and Kate, celebrities eating maggots and worms, folks stranded on various islands worldwide and a nanny that comes into homes to make all right with children that might otherwise grow up to be, so it seems, serial killers or worse. That is the mentality of the country but, still, the fans know, whether they watch these insults to the intelligence or not, or grab the latest issue of the National Enquirer at the check-out line.

Being voyeurs without a life of your own does not preclude one from knowing, without hesitation, what should take place in a given game situation or which player belongs on a team and which does not.

Despite all of their recent ineptitudes and failures, charging out of the box with huge leads only to surrender them in a blaze that is not so glorious, take the 0-8 run against the Boston Red Sox and Wang's inability to win, plus the combined disappointment of C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett at 16-10 (for the money those two are getting), and the Yankees should be in first place by 4-5 games instead of languishing behind the Sox.

Girardi's fault? Definitely. For example, it is not always the case that a left-handed pitcher will fare better against left-handed batters, or that the same applies to the other side of the mound or plate, depending on who fills those uniforms. And, we always come back to the inane 100 pitch count that has turned into the paradigm for all. Every fan that has ever watched a game, particularly those who were there 20-30 years ago, knows how ridiculous this is. Better, stronger, healthier, conditioned athletes and we now have a pitcher for just about every inning no matter how well the guy with the ball in his hand is doing. Leave him in!!!

Stimulus means more than just doling out a trillion dollars that none of us will ever see. It means a manager that can stimulate and inspire his troops. Joe Girardi and other of his contemporaries cannot seem to do that. It is an art form they never learned. Fans know when to hit and run, steal, bunt, shift, walk an opposing batter, bring in a reliever...one that is ready and that does not mean ready to be bludgeoned into obscurity

You do not continue to hold tryouts at the All-Star break. You do not bring in pitchers that are obviously bad...certainly to the fans if not the manager, and you work the tails off guys making $20 million a season to prevent them from losing interest. What is there to laugh about with an opposing player when you reach a base and have a moment or two to speak but are losing 5-0? Riddle me that one.

Does the manager care, does upper management care, do the coaches care, do the players care? I know that the fans do, the ones that agonize over a loss, that replay the game 100 times in their heads as they wonder why this or that was not done, the excruciatingly obvious this or that.

They want $2,500 a seat, maybe a bargain to the fan with a reduced price of $1,250 per and the effort before you is one Joe Girardi or someone else, somewhere, just like him. How come the fans know so much and the manager does not? Because he does not know the game and did not learn much by playing or hanging around the dugout.

Will the Yankees do the smart, and right thing, like hire a fan to take over? Sadly, you have to be kidding!