I am a San Francisco Giants fan; therefore, I am a Bruce Bochy fan. However, the current direction the Giants are moving in seems to run slightly anathema to the strategy employed in winning three World Series championships.
My views on analytics seem to have aroused some opposing opinions. Well, I should be more clear in saying that I know nothing, so I’ll focus my efforts on one thing I do know: I like Bruce Bochy.
In a way, Bochy reminds me of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Both are wise, sage, and have laid the blueprint for their respective domains. Confucius laid the groundwork for over 2,000 years of Chinese rule. My hope is that Bochy, in all of his success, has laid the groundwork for the Giants’ basic strategy for the foreseeable future.
For the sake of analogy, let’s pretend that Bobby Evans is Mao Zedong. Sure, it’s a stretch, but let’s say that the mini-overhaul of the Giants’ coaching staff is like the Cultural Revolution.
For those in need of a refresher on the Cultural Revolution, it was essentially the removal, disavowing, and destruction of China’s rich and storied history (much of it the result of Confucian principles) as well as the purging of opponents to communism in the late 1960’s.
Confucianism is based upon the values of family, respect for authority, and social harmony. In a similar way, Bochy’s tenure with the Giants has been marked by a similar family-like atmosphere. Bobby Evans will not completely dismantle the family fabric of the Giants organization.
Similarly, Mao was well versed in China’s Confucian-oriented past. He eventually saw that the Cultural Revolution was a failiure and ended it.
Enough of the history lesson, my point is that the Giants’ recent run has been based on certain values that are not the sole result of Bochy, but you can’t dispute he played a huge role in fostering such a successful culture.
Some of the values that I attribute to Bochy would be team chemistry, remaining calm under pressure, as well as a belief in the value of great pitching, defense, and timely hitting.
Now, if you stopped reading when I likened Bobby Evans to Mao Zedong, I don’t blame you. I probably would’ve too. I hope my point isn’t misconstrued in all of my analogical nonsense. I’m well aware that the Giants need to change. I know that they just can’t do the same exact thing as last year and expect a different result.
As the old adage goes, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If the Giants feel that making analytics a more prevalent part of their strategy will lead to success, then who am I to object?
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Of course, I should point out that I made errors in my previous post. I wasn’t aware that Hensley Meulens has been a proponent of the “launch angle” theory that I decried as a fad.
I also didn’t know that Aubrey Huff being in a Giants uniform was the result of number-crunchers, not scouts. If you’d like a more well-researched take on the Giants move towards analytics, by all means, go right here.
In short, change is inevitable. There’s no greater example of this than with China. After Mao’s death, they moved towards market principles in their economy, which has made them one of the most economically powerful countries in the world.
My hope is that the current changes the Giants are making have a similar effect. However, there has been a revival of Confucianism in China. This shows that you can move into the future and be successful without completely disavowing the principles that got you there.
I hope that long after Bruce Bochy is no longer manager, the organization, while changing with the times, will also ensure that the values fostered by Bochy remain intact.
But then again, what do I know?