The pitchforks and torches are out among many Cubs fans (and even the media) after Dale Sveum bunted with two men on and nobody out with a nonpitcher at the plate not once but twice late in yesterday's game. Even worse, ont of those cases was with the Cubs second best hitter, Starlin Castro. Sveum seems to have a fetish for bunting that was foreshadowed by his preseason bunting tournament, and you wonder why he was even hired in the first place given the analytic bent of the Cubs front office. That got me wondering though – does such a saber-friendly manager even exist right now? Not ordering stupid bunts is just one aspect of managing.
The hiring process lasted a long time, and both the Cubs and the similarly analytical Red Sox had pretty much the same list of candidates. They went through a long and winding process, doing mock press conferences and quizzing the managers on reactions to game situations and general philosophies of managing. One of the big pluses in Sveum's corner was his love of spray charts and defensive positioning, which seems to be working well with the Cubs.
Now that so many progressively analytic types have taken over front offices, why hasn't the same thing happened in the dugout? Joe Maddon gets props for his maverick managing styles, but as MGL likes to harp on there's certianly still plently of mistakes that he makes. If all of this stuff is so obvious to us, why hasn't it shown up in the dugout? Any idiot fan could tell you that Castro shouldn't bunt, but so far it looks like there isn't *anyone* in the market whose skill set lies in the Venn diagram of Not Making Stupid Bunting/Lineup Decisions, Keeping The Players Happy, and Keeping The Media Away, which is more or less the three main roles a manager has to fulfill. If only someone would clone Earl Weaver.