With the search for the next GM of the San Francisco Giants officially on, Mike Krukow made some comments regarding what attributes the next general manager should possess in the San Francisco Chronicle.
One quote, in particular, stands out, “I hope everyone remembers that there’s one thing that you’ll never find on a stat sheet, and that’s the size of a man’s heart.”
Now, some of you may barf or roll your eyes while reading that, which I can understand.
It may just sound like another member of the old guard who hasn’t gotten with the times and is clinging to the past where scouting reigned supreme.
However, Krukow points out that he understands the importance of analytics in the game, but says it troubles him that nearly 60 scouts who were in their 50s got fired in the last year. Krukow attributes this knowledge to something he “heard recently” so I’m not sure how accurate it is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.
Krukow goes on to say that the modern GM, usually someone in their 30s, doesn’t want to listen to some old geezer scout tell them what to do.
You can read the article for yourself, but pretty much he just talks about how you need to know what kind of person you’re putting on your team and how analytics weren’t the reason the Giants signed Cody Ross.
They’re fair points, but they may seem tired and lacking in substance to some fans. After the last few years it’s easy to question how things are being done and look to shake things up.
Now, I should admit, I’m really not all that well-versed in analytics. What are they even? Stats? Advanced stats? Do they involve calculus? If so, I’m even more lost.
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Clearly, they are important, and there are people who are much smarter than me who have to deal with them, which is a good thing for all parties involved.
So while I don’t completely get what analytics are all about, I know that they are and were integral to the success of the San Francisco Giants during this decade. Krukow’s thesis may come off as “Analytics are bad! Nerds are dumb!” but that’s not what he’s saying at all.
All he’s saying is that maybe those old scouting fogies mulling around in the Giants organization know a thing or two. They’ve been around the block once or twice, they’ve seen the game change and understand how important analytics are.
So all Krukow is saying is that whoever the next GM is should respect that and understand that they don’t have all the answers, which I think is an important understanding for all people in leadership positions to have.
The debate over the next GM should not be over analytics vs. scouting. Both practices have been and will continue to be a part of the game for a long time. The Giants just need to bring in someone who’s smart and experienced but also understands how important things like team chemistry or the character of an individual are to the overall success of the team.
Baseball doesn’t just boil down to projections or numbers, and it most certainly doesn’t just boil down to how nicely your team gels. You have to have both, the yin and yang, if you want to win.
Without the talent, which you’re able to gauge through numbers as well as scouting, team chemistry doesn’t mean as much because you’re obviously at a disadvantage against a team that is more talented. On the other hand, if you field the most talented roster in baseball but they hate playing with one another, you may run into problems there as well.
At the end of the day, I have confidence that the Giants will get the choice of the next GM right. They know what it takes to win and they’ll bring in someone who can get them back to where they want to be.
Plus, remember that the GM isn’t the only one making decisions in the front office. There is a battalion of nameless, faceless scouts and number-crunches who do thankless work that helps the team.
It’s a team effort, just like the product on the field. Now isn’t that fitting?