Is It Bad If Tim Wallach Leaves?

tim_wallachAs you’ve no doubt heard, third base coach Tim Wallach is in the mix to be the next Tigers manager, likely helped by the fact that he’s known Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski since the two were in Montreal more than 20 years ago.

There’s not really any great way to rate third base coaches, so it’s hard to know what sort of impact his possible departure would have on the Dodgers. I know some people think he’s terrible, but that doesn’t really bring any weight to me; like middle relievers, third base coaches are only in the news when they do something wrong — you never hear, “wow, what a great send by the third base coach!” Even when you do get on a coach for what appears to be a terrible send, there’s so many other variables — strength of throw from the outfield, catcher positioning, size of park, game situation, sometimes even the runner heading through a stop sign — that’s it’s tough to judge.

If you ask fans of most teams, they’ll probably have a negative opinion of their third base coach, likely remembering the one or two egregious mistakes rather than the hundreds of quietly appropriate successes.

A few studies have been conducted into what makes for a valuable third base coach, and interestingly, they almost all conclude that they don’t wave runners home enough. (Click the links for full stories and gory math.)

Stat Speak:

My solution: fire the third base coach. Don’t have one. Why pay someone good money when he’s actually making your team worse? The reason that the third base coach is so conservative goes back to the point I made at the beginning of the article. If the runner gets gunned down, the third base coach gets criticized. If the runner is safe, he rarely gets praised. He has every reason in his own personal cost/benefit analysis to err on the side of holding the runners and no reason to send the runners unless he’s sure of their making it, even though it’s costing the team in the long run.

Third base coaches are human and surely, they feel the sting of the criticism that follows from a runner being gunned down in a key situation. But, that means that your favorite team is being robbed of runs by a man’s own psychological need for approval. A sign on a stick doesn’t care if it gets criticized. Instead of a third base coach, just tell the players to run like crazy, playground style. It sounds a little weird, but I think I’ve got some decent evidence here that it might actually improve scoring.

Baseball Prospectus:

Here’s an interesting one: What would happen if third-base coaches just sent everyone, playground-style, on these potential sac flies, regardless of whether it was a good idea or not? It turns out that teams would probably score more runs than they do now.

Indeed, it was very rare that it was a bad idea to send the runner, even after controlling for the distance of the fly ball and the speed of the runner. It was almost always the case that the chances of the runner succeeding were above the break-even point. The runner might get thrown out this time, but if a team really committed to an old-school playground style, it would come out ahead.

Thus, the ideal third-base coach is a sign on a stick featuring the words “If the gentleman currently holding the ball is an outfielder, please turn left and run an additional 90 feet.” It’s counter-intuitive, but the third-base coach doing the most for his team is not the one who has the highest safe-rate, but the one who has the highest go-now rate.

I don’t have specific stats on Wallach, so I can’t really comment on how he rates — which I suppose somewhat defeats the purpose of wondering if we care if he leaves. It’s an interesting conversation, however. How do you rate a third base coach? Other than “don’t be a jerk who the players hate” like Larry Bowa, I’m not sure we know.

637 comments
Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

didn't watch, but just some some gifs. seems pretty straightforward to me. i'm just surprised the call was made, seems like one that would get ignored normally. anyways, still waiting for the meteor. 

WBBsAs (In Dog We Trust. Un Planeta Sin Gatos)
WBBsAs (In Dog We Trust. Un Planeta Sin Gatos)

I only just saw the replay and, while it's unfortunate for the Sawx, I don't think the umpires had any alternative under the rules. Craig was smart to go, presuming he knew the rule and expected them to call the play correctly.

FreeDK
FreeDK

It's "irrelevant" but that mofo stuck his legs up, they deserved to lose, nice call ump!

P_F_P
P_F_P

There's only been ONE thread since i left for the weekend 36 hours ago? I am disappoint.

TheReggieHurley
TheReggieHurley

HEY for those 17 ppl listening. What did scouts/ppl say about dice-k when he got signed?

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

As annoyed as I am that the Cards won, its kind of worth it for all the douchey Boston fans I know to be upset

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony."

Oh man this is so good.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

Also Gravity was amazing. It exceeded the hype. And amazingly enough the 3D was spot on and didnt give me headaches for the first time

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

TheReggieHurley
TheReggieHurley

it would have been so much satisfying for us if craig was called out at home LOLOL

ShutUpMeg
ShutUpMeg

This game *almost* makes me want to give up my blissful fantasy that baseball season is completely over and watch a replay. But I think the descriptions will do.

TheReggieHurley
TheReggieHurley

LOLOLOLOLOL CARDS ARE LUCKIEST TEAM IN HISTORY LOLOLOL LUCKIER THAN THE GIANTS.

Lobo
Lobo

@LA_Woman I disagree with him that the call is unambiguous but he's right on with everything else.  Terrible decision to throw to third, terrible job by Middlebrooks to neither catch nor block the ball, terrible everything

TheReggieHurley
TheReggieHurley

this is a real question btw no sarcasm or anything...

DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

1.9 TLR and listening to the Beatles, so..it's a pretty good time

InsideThePark (Ethier, Kemp, Puig)
InsideThePark (Ethier, Kemp, Puig)

do yourself a favor, watch the replays, then reenact getting up from the downward dog position and let us know if your legs go up or not.

Lobo
Lobo

@TheReggieHurley I do not remember.  I wasn't a year round baseball junkie back then like I am now.  I remember him being hyped a good deal and I remember him being pretty good in 2008 but that's about it

DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

There were a lot of things they had to fake though, to make the story work. No spoilers, but yeah

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@LA_Woman @EephusBlue Its actually very stressful at times. Wife didnt like that. U get kind of desperate as they try to move around. Thats what makes it so believable. 

DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

Never saw castaway? Lol. Why? It's really good. Also I am Legend sucked so much compared to the book. Movie just made me mad

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

@EephusBlue @LA_Woman  Yeah, I'll probably get nauseous from acrophobia. But that's okay. ("It's only a movie. It's only a movie. It's only a movie...")


DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

Reminds me of Tom Hanks in castaway. One person just owning the screen

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@LA_Woman @EephusBlue Its really good. It stands up as a movie without the 3D. But see it in IMAX if you can. Its worth it. U actually feel like u are there in space. Its more like those 3D interactive shows at Disneyland or Universal Studios that look like crap is flying at u. I flinched a few times

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@DavidBecerra It was super cool. And big props to Sandra Bullock for carrying the movie. She pulled it off with most of it just being her.

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

@EephusBlue @LA_Woman  Nope, not yet. But so many people of totally different tastes have have said that. And EVERYONE has agreed about the non-headachy 3D. I am sooo looking forward to seeing it!

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Lobo @TheReggieHurley The dialogue is paraphrased and altered from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to fit GoT. It fits so well!