Well, it depends on how you look at it.
Some would say that this club was in the toilet before he arrived.
I think that's giving him far too much credit - although, this club WAS in the toilet before he arrived.
Personally, I give a whole lot of credit to this club becoming viable to Ivan Rodriguiz. If he doesn't sign with the Tigers, does Mags, or anyone else? Maybe, maybe not.
Since 2006, and our resurgence, he has managed to win one division, and never make it back to the WS, so, in that regard, the other side of the coin says he's under-acheived. The proof is in the pudding. We've won pretty much nothing - although, I'm as proud of last years' club as the 06, 87 or 84 team. In several ways, they were more gutsy.
This year has been an adventure. I'd like it to turn it out good.
That's a different story.
Did you know who the Tigers drafted Lamont ahead of?
If you don't, it may make you sick:
It was Johnny Bench.
That doesn't make it better, in my mind!
"Give us your poor, your wretched, your injured, your experimental surgeries. We'll write you a blank check!"
<<He's no better or worse than most (not all) managers.>>
I think most managers have their own style and sometimes it works for them, sometimes it backfires with horrendous results.
I've always maintained that managers don't matter all that much as far as their in-game decision making is concerned. 9 times out of 10, players win or lose games, not managers or hitting/pitching/3rd base coaches.
I think the important part of managing is earning players' respect. I think Leyland's better in that regard than somebody like Bobby Valentine.
One related thing I recall about Maggs in 2006 was that he and Ozzie G. had a monumental feud going on. I think he really wanted to play against Chicago in the same division.
Bigger question is would he have 'come' around third base if Lamont hadn't been waving him into a career busting injury at the plate.
I can accept that.
I know some people that just can't stand him. I don't love him, but I don't dislike him.
Lamont had a mallot in his hand, and snapped his ankle on the way past 3rd!
I don't know why he would do that...
Maybe to bring on the hatred.
I think most teams have a grass-is-always-greener opinion of their management. I've visited other teams' boards and read scathing criticism of Gardenhire, Scoscia, Washington, Girardi, etc. and even LaRussa.
I've been a vocal Leyland critic in the past, but since last year I tend to give him more benefit of the doubt. It's easy to critique a manager's performance in hindsight. Even though some of his decisions may seem boneheaded, there isn't a fan, analyst or writer anywhere that sees all the angles that these pro managers see. It's a complex game and Leyland really does have a great baseball mind.
When a good team underperforms it's easy to blame the team's leadership and I tend to believe that Leyland is a poor leader in this regard, but then again I don't see what goes on in the clubhouse on a daily basis so I'm not really qualified to comment in that regard either.
As far as Acta's managing prowess, the 9th inning yesterday was a work of baseball genius and I would still feel that way even if his strategy hadn't payed off. It wasn't his fault his closer failed him.
How many times have you seen examples like this:
Someone criticizes Leyland for putting Raburn in the lineup. "Why does he keep trotting Raburn out there day after day expecting different results?" Then you look at his numbers against a certain team, in a certain ballpark or against a certain starter and see that he's done well in the past, or that the guy whose name didn't go on the lineup card stinks in that situation or badly needs a day off.
What happens then? Raburn has a good day at the plate and/or comes up with a big hit. Do you ever hear anyone CREDIT Leyland for the decision to play Raburn that day? No, his biggest critics will rarely admit that he did something right.
We just can't know what's going on out there, and these guys aren't like a video game, where everyone is 100% healthy, and hits eveyone the same, etc...
Managers have always played hunches. Sometimes they pay off - big time.
Thing is, every team's fanbase hates their manager.
We love Gardenhire for the most part but Minnesota fans have loathed him for over the years.
I've seen Yankee fans rip Girardi over & over and Torre before that and they like Leyland here.
It is the grass is greener on the other side bit