September 28, 2012

The Best Move the Braves Made Was Nothing

Sometimes, doing nothing is the best solution to solving a problem.  Whether it’s an argument with a spouse, an issue at work that doesn’t have a simple answer or a child’s bad habit.  I’m a big believer that if you wait it out, most problems solve themselves.  Or if it isn’t solved, the problem comes into true focus and we realize it’s not as bad as it initially seemed.  If you leave a door open and a fly comes in, the first reaction shouldn’t be to grab a sledge hammer and wildly swing away at the pesky bug.  You might kill the fly, but the room is in shambles and your Precious Moments collection is ruined (not that I know what Precious Moments are or have a collection or anything like that).  I hear parents lament day after day that their kid is a picky eater, they aren’t walking yet, they aren’t potty trained or they aren’t picking up things at a young age like other kids.  Unless I missed something, I don’t see gangs of 25 year olds running around wearing Pull-Ups, carrying a snackie cup of Goldfish trying unsuccessfully to read the bus schedule.  We all grow up and mature.  So after the collapse of the Atlanta Braves 2011 season happened along with the collapse of the Boston Red Sox 2011 season, it has been interesting to see how differently the two teams handled the “epic fail”, as the kids would say.

On September 3rd, the Red Sox lead the AL Wildcard 9 games.  Yep…nine games.  On September 1st, the Braves lead the NL Wildcard by 8.5 games.  At one point, the Sox had a 99.6% probability to get into the playoffs.  Then they lost 18 of their last 24 games.  The Braves looked like locks to make the playoffs as well in 2011.  Then THEY went 9-18 in September and…well…you guys know what happened.  That is where the differences in these two teams take “the fork in the road”.  The Red Sox upper management began trashing Terry Francona and then FIRED him.  Stories leaked out about alleged drug abuse by Francona.  The papers had article after article about the chicken and beer nonsense.  The TV had roundtables about what the Sox needed to do to change things as Red Sox Nation wringed its collective hands.  Their solution was to fire Francona, hired Bobby Valentine (that is a blog for another writer, but who DIDN’T see that not working out) and clean house with the trades of Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford before the end of the 2012 season.

Meanwhile, in little, insignificant, south of the Mason/Dixon line Atlanta…the Braves did nothing.  There were the stories about the collapse and some saber rattling about riding Fredi Gonzalez out on a rail.  The local radio talk shows (and I used the term “talk show” tongue and cheek, as most of them are horrible) babbled about another disappointing Braves season.  But Frank Wren and the Braves front office seemed to take a deep breath, blew it out, lit a lavender candle and DIDN’T overreact.  There wasn’t any major overhaul of the staff (though Greg Walker was shown the door last year) and the team didn’t change all too much.  Hell, they even KEPT Jack Wilson who made Nate McLouth look like Mike Schmidt offensively.

The Red Sox got rid of the manager that won them not one, but TWO World series after not winning for 80-something years.  The Braves kept their manager who hasn’t won bupkis yet as the skipper of America’s Team.  The Sox cleaned house by the beginning of September.  The Braves stayed the course and they just kept winning.  It’s easy to say now that the Braves did the right thing and the Red Sox had some MAJOR brain farts.  But sometimes taking a step back and reflecting is the best action plan.  To take a moment and assess how bad a problem really is.  Every so often, it’s in our best interest to think about the correct course of action and plan things out.  Over reaction is the poison to logical behavior and rational thought.  Knowing and playing the percentages usually gives you a favorable outcome.  And when it doesn’t, you can take solace in the fact that your logic was sound.  If the Red Sox were a smart organization, they would have thought of weddings when making their decisions concerning 2011 and their upcoming 2012 season.  What marriage usually turns out better?  The one that happens in Las Vegas over a drunken weekend?  Or a stable relationship with a long term plan for viability?  I’m hoping our Atlanta Braves is the marriage that dated for a while, takes financial advice from Dave Ramsey and works as partnership.  As for the Red Sox, what happens in Vegas…stays in Boston.

For more of my shenanigans, follow me on Twitter at @YourDailyVinnie.  Thanks!



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