Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sports Debating Rudy and Romo

I always very much enjoy a good email disagreement after putting something up here at Inside Corner. Let's be honest, arguing a good sports point is all part of the fun. And we are having fun here, no?

So, in the last few days and weeks, I have written (Edit) about Tony Romo and Rudy Jaramillo - 2 of the greater lighting rods of 2009 in DFW. So, I thought I would share two of the hotter disagreement emails, and then answer them for all to see:

Dear Bob,

I am sick of hearing how much you want to fire Jaramillo for the losses the Rangers have incurred over his tenure. The truth is hitting has rarely been an issue for this team since shortly before the 90's playoff teams. In fact, the opposite has been true for most of his time here: the Rangers have lost games despite of their hitting. Just consider these facts:

From 1996 through the end of the 2004 season, the Texas Rangers ranked in the top five in the American League in team batting average, runs scored, slugging percentage, home runs, and hits. In 1999, the Texas Rangers led all of Major League Baseball in hits, slugging percentage, and team batting average (.293 for the season). In 2005, the Rangers hit 260 home runs: the second-highest total in Major League history.

In 2008, the Rangers were first in both runs scored (901), hits (1619), and home runs (194).

So, what is your argument really? You want all of these stats and you want the Rangers to be a leader each year in walks as well? Would you rather they led the majors in walks last year rather than hits? Would you rather see the Rangers get in the opposition's bullpen by drawing walks and an occasional hit than plastering them with 5 runs by singles, doubles, and home runs?

My point is this: Jaramillo 'is what he is'. He coaches outstanding hitting. Exceptional offenses, year after year. They score runs and can and sometimes even put up ridiculous gaudy hitting numbers. Do his teams draw alot of walks? No, they do not. Do they bunt alot? No, they do not. However, the purpose of the game is to score more points than your opponent does; it's not raising pitch counts, walking, or playing small ball and Jaramillo's offenses have, for the most part, done more than their fair share in helping the Rangers' cause to win.

Thank You,
Alex Davenport

Alex, first, I want to make something clear off the top. I have not called for his firing. Where you got that idea, I am not sure. Please review my works and see if I ever demanded a firing. Rather, I would just like to live in a world where we are allowed to question his philosophy like we do the countless pitching coaches and managers who have been here during his term. But, since you asked, here are the specific questions I have about Rudy:

1) - Does the offense he teaches equate to winning? Given that New York and Boston employ a polar opposite approach to hitting and seem to win far more often and have a far more appropriate approach to hitting in October, I think it is a very fair question. Sure, defense and pitching are huge considerations, but from a purely offensive standpoint, do the Rangers play winning offensive baseball? Does the Run and shoot offense score a lot of points in the NFL? Yes. Does it win in the playoffs? No.

2) - Does his success on some level have anything to do with joining the Rangers at the start of Juan and Pudge's hall of fame careers? Also, the Rangers have Raffy, Will Clark, A-Rod as well. Could you have coached that squad to offensive success? If you can ask if Phil Jackson was hired at just the right time, could you also ask that about Rudy?

3) - Should he have more job security and more salary than his "boss", Ron Washington? Further, should Washington have the authority to fire Rudy if needed? Heck, should Washington have the authority to name Rudy to his staff in the first place?

Those are my questions.


Dear Bob,

1) I don't think your first question actually makes any sense. I think you're making this a more complicated equation than it really is - if a team scores 6 runs in the top of the first and loses did the offense equate to winning? In my mind, if a team scores 6 runs in the top of the first they should win every time because their pitching should not allow 6 in 9 innings! I don't think the type of offense used to score the 6 runs makes any difference, the only thing that matters is that they scored 6 runs.

Yes, Boston and NY utilize an entirely different hitting philosophy (most of the time) and they too find themselves perennial leaders in the exact same offensive stats the Rangers do.

2) There's no doubt that this club had alot of talent in the 90's. But that is irrelevant to this stat:

In 2008, the Rangers were first in both runs scored (901), hits (1619), and home runs (194).

The bottom line to 2) is that this team has, for the most part, been among the league leaders in hitting since they have hired Jaramillo. When this is the case, you don't fire him! Why fix something that is not broken?

3) The topic of your last question to me is not Rudy but the hierarchy of the Ranger's organization - particularly Washington's place in it. The answers to these questions depend on your philosophy of business. I will say this though - since Oates was fired I have disagreed with several of the decisions the Rangers have made (like hiring Daniels).

Baby Arm Me,

Alex: #1 absolutely matters. Walks matter (Free Baserunners!). Strikeouts matter (The most worthless plate appearance possible). OBP matters. Moving runners over matter. Working the pitch count and thus getting to the soft part of a pitching staff in innings 6-7 matter. The fact that you don't see that may be part of the problem. Those teams consistently see success in October, the Rangers do not walk, they strikeout too much, they do not manufacture offense. They wait for home runs.

6 runs is 6 runs. But gaudy season totals mean nothing if you score 2 runs when you need it, and 14 when you don't.

Now, on to a disagreement about my Romo Manifesto from last week:

The whole Aikman, Staubach, Romo chart comparison is just ridiculous in any serious form of accurate evaluation. YES, the QB and the coach are the only two people who take responsibility for wins and losses, but football is such a team sport. Agghh, this is all so common sense and you know it.

I understand your love of Favre, but you ABSOLUTELY have an underestimation of Aikman. Troy threw precision timing routes to Irvin and Novacheck and others where they turned around and the ball was in their numbers. Troy did what needed to be done to WIN! and Win in the playoffs and win Super Bowls. He didn't give a ---- about his personal stats. Had be been in another system under different circumstances, he could have easily had much much more impressive stats, but he was bless with Emmitt and a solid team and he was a LEADER and did what he had to do to win. Emmitt has the RB TD record in big part because Irvin and Novacheck probably have the most receptions inside the 5 - goal line off all time ... research that if you can! Then Emmitt punched it in. Troy didn't care. The TEAM won!

Also, so so many games, Troy was not called on to throw for big yards because the game plan was to get the lead and then grind it out with Emmit. You probably think Dan Fouts was a better QB than Aikman and Drew Brees.

You take Wilt and his individual stats - I'll take Bill Russell and his TEAM world titles.

You take A-Rod - I'll take Jeter (never will win another because Rod is now the albatross.

I'll give you an exception ... Marino ... greatness that didn't have the team to help him, so it can go both ways. Aikman was fortunate to have the players on the team and the GREAT coach (Jimmy Johnson) and misfortune of having that taken away for that fool Switzer and what followed.

Elway was a great QB but he sucked in his early Super Bowls, and really wasn't that good in the final ones he won, but because he had a great career and did finally win two (Thanks to Terrel Davis and others he is deservedly considered great.

I like Romo and believe he has potential, but he has -- up and hasn't come thru in the big games, and to compare his first few seasons to Staubach and Aikman based on stats is just stupid. Aikman's fist year was on a team with pathetic talent. Staubach had a lot of talent around him. Romo had a lot of talent and and Parcells and Owens, and Witten, and NO expectations. He has done well and obviously I hope and wish him the best, but this stat stuff is overdone. Rod Carew had a great career, but I'd rather have Jeter's.



I think I should consider your screen-name before getting too carried away here, but are you sure you understood the point of the comparison between Staubach/Aikman/Romo? It was not to say Romo was better than Aikman or Staubach. It was to show you and anyone else that Staubach and Aikman were not finished products after 3 years. If you would have judged Aikman after 3 seasons, you would have made a major mistake as it pertained to the rest of his career!

Troy Aikman is a player I do not underestimate. I feel he is a clear-cut top flight QB. He is a clear Hall-of-Fame QB. I think those are impressive credentials. I would place him in a comparable bunch with other QB HOF greats, Bart Starr and Bob Griese. Three QB's who orchestrated some of the greater teams of the last 50 years without gaudy statistics. They operated under quality, not quantity, and it was perfect given the running games and defenses that those championship teams had. I hardly find that an underestimation to compare him to those greats.

Further, I am not sure my admiration of Brett Favre or John Elway should have anything to do with a look at the results of Troy's first 3 years. I believe you are missing the boat.

But, since we are on the topic, why are we to consider Troy's lack of talent around him in early in his career, but not mention that he may have enjoyed some of the most ridiculous talent advantages later in his career of anyone this side of Terry Bradshaw?

He should not be criticized for it, but how many of the other QB's you put down for not winning can honestly say that they played with a HOF WR, a HOF RB, a HOF G-T (Larry Allen), a near HOF G (Newton), and a near HOF TE (Novachek)? He had 3 Hall of Fame offensive teammates on the field his entire career! I think that is a Bill Russell and Derek Jeter type comparison that should be made, too.

Conversely, I believe you can make the case that Brett Favre never played with an offensive teammate who will ever be honored in Canton, Ohio. It is just not an apples to apples discussion, in my opinion.

The more Hall of Famers around you, the more you can rely on them to produce - allowing your QB to not take as many chances and risk horrible plays. And I think you will find that Starr and Griese also were able to allow the huge talents around them on their ensemble offenses to do the heavy lifting much of the time. And that is not an insult - that is a compliment to those General Managers and Coaches that put those teams together.

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