Welcome Back, Spaghetti-Arms

When he managed the Dodgers, I had a strange fascination with Jim Tracy. For one, he has exceptionally long arms that dangle like spaghetti when he walks to the mound for a pitching change. For another, he had (and I imagine still has) a tendency to wear a gold watch on the outside of his long-sleeve undershirt.

But mostly, I was fascinated by his spectacular capacity for consistency. In both Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, Jim Tracy was epically dull, notably un-dynamic, and completely void of compelling traits. Even his career record as a manager, 562-572 ( a .496 winning percentage), is sigh-inducing.

Now Tracy replaces former Venezuelan Professional Baseball League star Clint Hurdle as manager of the floundering Rockies, and I have no idea why. Even on an interim level this might be the least inspired managerial hiring in the history of baseball. When the D-Backs brought in AJ Hinch earlier this season, it was at least a thought-provoking and paradigm-challenging move. The only thing worth discussing about this Tracy hiring is just how unsurprising it is.

The consistent re-infusion of guys like Tracy into the MLB managerial bloodstream creates a sort of stases. Nothing regresses, but nothing moves forward either. What is it that teams fear about new blood? Is there some sort of safe choice reflex that only certain front offices have the capacity to overcome?

It’s not Jim Tracy’s fault he’s dull and ineffective and keeps getting hired. I’m sure old Spaghetti-Arms is a nice enough guy and he certainly won’t screw things up too badly. But this endless treadmill of conventional wisdom that sees retreads getting hired and fired and hired and fired is starting to bore me. So somebody, please, do something.

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