Friday, April 20, 2018

Who Holds The Front Office Accountable?

Pillaging through the countless different newspaper columns/articles, blog posts, and media interviews, I have yet to see anyone holding the Cincinnati Reds front office accountable.  The worst offenders seem to be just about every media outlet in the Cincinnati area, including beat writers and sports talk show hosts.  The only person I have seen to give a realistic viewpoint and a question of front office accountability regarding the entire situation with Bryan Price and the horrid performance of the 2018 Cincinnati Reds is Paul Daugherty.

Look, there are many times where I sit back and listen to Daugherty run his mouth about the Reds, FC Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Bengals, and everything else he seemingly despises about the city of Cincinnati and think to myself, "Man, do you like anything?  Is the word 'optimism' even in your vocabulary?"  But let's be realistic for a second (I know.  Hard for Reds fans to do, right?).  He is right that this is an organizational problem, that the organization needs to answer for their woefully ignorant mistakes, and it needs to start at the top.  Bryan Price was a scapegoat for Dick Williams and Walt Jocketty, the two primary guys making baseball operations decisions for the Reds.  Granted, Bryan Price certainly made some very questionable managerial decisions (at best), but he wasn't the sole reason behind the seemingly never-ending, and possibly failed, rebuild that we are currently having to suffer through for the prospect of "greener pastures."

Beat writers/reporters and sports talk show hosts in the Cincinnati area should be holding the front office accountable.  It's very simple, really - Ask tough questions.  After listening to multiple interviews with General Manager Dick Williams yesterday, I'm convinced there isn't a single beat writer/reporter or talk show host in the Cincinnati area who can do their journalistic duty of holding the Reds front office accountable.  Sure, there are those that talk a tough game when they aren't interviewing anyone from the front office on the air.  But, rest assured, when Dick Williams or anyone else graces the airwaves with their presence, they all proceed to butter them up like a bowl of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day. 

Lance McAlister (Sports Talk 4/19/2018) to GM Dick Williams: "Dick, I can only imagine how difficult it has been for you over the past 24 hours..."

As I heard that my ears started ringing.  Difficult for Dick Williams?  Don't get me wrong, because I love listening to Lance talk Cincy sports, but what?  We are talking about the same GM that has made free agent signings, and waste of 25-man roster spots Ross Ohlendorf, Kevin Gregg, and just recently Yovanni Gallardo, right?  We are talking about the same GM that promoted two pitchers from the minor leagues that never pitched a single day in Triple-A (one pitched only 17 innings at Double A last year), right?  Bad day for him?!

Dick Williams to Lance McAlister: "We felt like a change in voice would get us back on track..."

This guy knows how to give an interview.  He's a smooth talker, and you have to look beyond all of smooth talking public speaking ability that Dick Williams has.  So firing your manager, putting in a guy from the same staff that your manager put into place, is somehow "changing voice?" 

Lance McAlister to Dick Williams: "How much blame falls on the front office..."
Dick Williams to Lance McAlister: "...When something like this goes down, we all have to look in the mirror..."

Do you see where this is going?  You have a guy basically saying, "We screwed up, but we fired Bryan anyway to cover up for it so someone could take blame."  The only thing he did was do a sweet little play on words.  Of course, Lance really isn't asking tough questions and clearly isn't engaging in discussion that could make Williams feel uncomfortable.  He should be, and he should be holding him accountable.

A question I have failed to hear is: "Dick, this organization has had one outside managerial hire since Jack McKeon in 1997, and the records during those times have proved to be quite insufficient.  Do you plan on continuing to hire internally, or do you plan on hiring externally?"  I think this is a very valid question that needs to be asked.  This organization needs someone who hasn't been accustomed to "the way we do things around here" and definitely isn't going to be afraid to tell the front office when they're doing things detrimental to winning baseball.  No more "Yes" men.

Let's be frank here - Dick Williams should have resigned.  If this is a serious organizational problem like he eloquently maneuvered around, then why is he still there?  Why is Walt Jocketty still there?  Shouldn't the organization be "under new management?"  If Dick Williams is "looking in the mirror," it certainly isn't for personal reflection.

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