Thursday, October 18, 2007

Minaya misses "secret's" message

Before today, I hadn't read much of what Alan Schwarz has written. But from now on, I'll be looking for his byline more often.

In today's New York Times he's penned an article that, without intending to, pinpoints the flaw in the thinking of the New York Mets front office. The article's titled Rockies Finally Focus on the Farm, Not the Field, and it reveals how the Colorado Rockies were transformed into a dynamo that's won 20 of their last 21 games.

The architect of the current Colorado team is General Manager Dan O’Dowd.

Schwarz wrote that
"A great deal of analysis led O’Dowd’s management team to decide that Coors Field’s deep fences actually created so much outfield acreage that for every cheap home run, there were several bloops and other hits that fell in for even more damaging singles. So the team hired some athletic outfielders with good gloves to better defend against this unintended consequence."
O'Dowd's approach was actually simple: He fit the team to its home park's idiosyncrasies. Distant fences and lots of roaming room in the outfield.

In addition to changing the makeup of his outfield, O'Dowd realized he need a different kind of pitcher: "fastball-sinker pitchers with control."

Finally, because of budget constraints, O'Dowd placed more emphasis on producing homegrown talent, something even high-budget teams would benefit from doing.

O'Dowd's actions have paid off for the Rockies. Even Mets GM Omar Minaya commented on the Rockies success, saying
“Sometimes it’s just getting back to basics,” Mets General Manager Omar Minaya said. “Danny has tried different formulas, always ready to try something different. I’m happy for him. And I’m happy for their ownership, because they were patient enough to be rewarded like this with a magical season. That’s very rare in this business.”
Minaya seems to have understated the secret to the Rockies success. It was more than "
getting back to basics." Until he "reads" it correctly and begins applying the lessons to be learned from the Rockies' success to the Mets, the Mets more than likely will fail to achieve the success that their fans deserve after 2007's heart-wrenching season.

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