Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How I'm viewing the Jim Tracy and Dan O'Dowd's handshake deal 24 hours later

After thinking about Monday's news of a handshake deal between general manager Dan O'Dowd and manager Jim Tracy -- which according to O'Dowd extends Tracy's contract "indefinitely" -- for the past 24 hours, I've come to the conclusion that this indeed is not as scary it seems for Rockies fans.

Yes, the words are most definitely ominous...

"Basically what I am saying is that I should never have this conversation with you again," O'Dowd said. "To say it extends just beyond 2013 would not do justice to Jim. It could be until he's using a cane and having trouble getting onto the field. Quite honestly, it can be for whatever number of years Jim wants it to be for."

... but as Logan Burdine pointed out in his column on Blake Street Bulletin.

"The first thing that needs to be pointed out here is that there was no actual extension. He didn’t get a raise. He didn’t get more years. All he got was a vote of confidence from the GM. In the world of sports, a handshake agreement is worth about as much as a Zimbabwe Dollar. All of this is a little weird and probably unnecessary, but firing Jim Tracy, if deemed necessary, will be just as easy as it was a week ago."

It's always good to sit back, calm down and take a deeper look to find a better perspective. That's exactly what reading Logan's piece today helped me accomplish.

Now I've located that perspective, I'm comfortable in feeling that very little (if anything) has changed regarding the status of Jim Tracy as Rockies manager. Dan O'Dowd is simply embracing Jim Tracy is an effort to strengthen their relationship and limit distractions in a very important season for the team and for the skipper. O'Dowd may have lost some fan approval in the process, but that means little to him and has little affect on the team's performance.

Truly, honestly, it's a smart move by O'Dowd. He has nothing to lose personally given the secure position he appears to be in entering the season. And any stability gained in the clubhouse and front office can indeed affect the team's performance, even if it's slight.

Now, personally speaking, I would have canned Jim Tracy at least six months ago. I'm sorry, I care little about his win percentage or how nice a guy he is, I just don't think he's a good manager. Once I came to that conclusion somewhere around the middle of the 2010 season (just as many fans in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh did before me) I was already ready to move on then, but knew that unfortunately wasn't realistic.

Seriously, during that 2010 season I couldn't help but thinking the 2009 run to the playoffs was actually the worst possible that could have happened BECAUSE of the job security it afforded Jim Tracy. Now here we are entering 2012 with the same guy, and our expectations (which have steadily fallen with each passing month) have reached depths not seen since the mid-2000's. It's not all Tracy's fault, of course, but he's certainly not faultless, and I feel pretty strongly that he will never be able to elevate a team or guide them effectively through rough patches through his own performance.

So I guess all we can do at this point is again sit back, wait for the season to begin and hope that what happens is easily defined as a success or failure. We prefer success, obviously, and would love to avoid failure, but it's possible the worst case scenario is an average season that us puts right back in this same position a year from now.

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