It also reminded me of Ron Washington and Dusty Baker. These two are oft-mocked for their clumsy in-game managing. They drive iconoclasts crazy with irrational moves: bunting at bad times, refusing to use their bullpen in a smart manner, and so on. Both are able to get the results necessary to keep their jobs. You could assume the Rangers and Reds are incompetent, leaving Washington and Baker’s employments as a symptom of systematic failure. But those are two of the best teams in the majors. If they know something about how to evaluate ballplayers, they probably know something about how to evaluate managers, too.
It’s enough to make you wonder how often we misinterpret managerial moves. When a manager plays the hot hand, is he doing so because he believes in the predictive power of a hot streak, or is he doing it because he knows his players believe in it? Alternatively, perhaps he thinks roles are phooey, but he also knows his relievers believe their preparation and rituals are the keys to their success.