No one really know how many games a baseball manager can win or lose over the strategic moves he makes during a game.
It’s one of the reasons why baseball is such a great game, and particularly in the NL where there are so many more of those late-inning moves to make. The debate will rage over the course of a 162-game season. Most people will say a manager can win no more than 5-10 games, but those games could determine a winning or losing season.
That said, there seems to be every indication so far that Ryne Sandberg will win some games for the Philadelphia Phillies solely on his intellect alone. Add a few more games for his management style, which is no-nonsense, and the Phillies could be back in contention for at least a Wild Card spot. Sandberg demands the team report for practices and games 45 minutes earlier than former manager Charlie Manuel did and so far, no one is grumbling.
Sandberg, 54, is 16 years younger than Manuel, last year’s Opening Day manager. Sandberg did not have many “Huh?” moments during his two-month audition for the manager’s job last summer. Phillies’ fans were scratching their heads for many of the moves that Manuel made from April through July last year and at the beginning of August, Stanford-educated GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had seen enough to hand the reins of the team over to Sandberg, a two-time Manager of the Year in the International League.
Until the final week of the regular season when the team ran out of healthy arms, Sandberg was a winning manager on a team which finished the season 73-89, and that’s saying something. The votes will not be in on him until October, but the early returns are promising.