It’s Unfair to Blame Ron Roenicke for 2012


As a game, baseball is unfair.  Not just on the field, but on the business end as well.  Sometimes, heads have to roll.  One Brewers coach already did a Louis XVI earlier this season, bullpen coach Stan Kyles.  I think that is enough for now, but it turns out I am in the minority of the Brew Crew Nation.  Many of you do not want to see RRR back in the dugout next season.

We can credit this seasons disappointments to many things: poor pitching, untimely hitting, a complete and total lack of facial hair.  The one thing I do not think any of us can blame this on is the skipper, Ron Roenicke.  (I mean you can, and most of you do, but you shouldn’t) 
It is not Ron’s fault that his bullpen couldn’t close out a Little League World Series game.  The only guys that he can roll out there to finish of the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings, are the ones on the roster.  It’s not like he can waive a magic bullpen wand and make them all go away.  Or even better, waive the wand and make them better pitchers.  The current state of the pen leaves RRR very little to work with.  K-Rod has been a joke(2-6, 3 saves, 5.55 ERA), Axford has been uncharacteristically bad (4-7, 18 saves, 5.25 ERA), and everyone else has been adequate at best.  So, I  guess the question is, why is everyone ragging on RRR for the teams struggles? 
I am fairly certain that there is not a skipper on this earth that would trade places with Ron.  This guy lost his opening day shortstop, 1st baseman, and #5 starter in his rotation within the first 2 weeks of 2012.  Then you add the loss of Prince Fielder, Takashi Saito, his lover Mark Kotsay, Jerry Hairston Jr, and LaTroy Hawkins before the season even started.  Sprinkle a dash of 23 blown saves by your bullpen, two sluggers who started the season batting under .200 (Ramirez and Weeks), and finally a pinch of terrible batting with runners in scoring position…and you have the 2012 Brewers.  A mess, by any standard. 
Now, I am not a Ron Roenicke fan.  I did not think that he was the right person for the job when they hired him last winter (I love Dale Sveum), and that still holds true.  However, what is happening this season, can not be put on him.  And I will defend him for the duration of the season, because the assault he has taken from Brewers fans is unwarranted.  While he may not be my favorite Brewers skipper, he is certainly better than the last two (Macha and Yost). 
This bullpen has 23 blown saves.  TWENTY-THREE!!!!!  If they had saved even 40% of those opportunities the team would be a game over .500 and maybe Greinke would still be around.  But they didn’t, so we aren’t, and he isn’t.  Again, not Ron’s fault. 
Trying to predict the Crew’s offensive consistency, is a lot like trying to predict how many pounds of garbage it would take to make an entire city stink.  It’s pointless and nobody wants to know. 
If you are one of the many people who want Roenicke’s head to roll, just ask yourself this question:
If I was coaching the Brewers and we had a one run lead in the 9th inning, who do I send out to close the game?
That question SUCKS!!  And quite frankly, I don’t want to answer it.  Do you?  Can you imagine being in that position on Friday and Saturday night against the fricking Astros.  It is a lose/lose situation.  And if we can not stop the Astros offense from walk-off wins…who can we stop? 

Put quite simply, Brewers fans are better than regular fans.  This unnecessary assault on Ron Roenicke needs to stop.  We are not the Yankees, Phillies, or Red Sox.  Let’s not just assume that everything that is wrong with the team is the managers fault.  It is not his fault that management offered K-Rod arbitration, thus ending any hope of bringing back Hawkins and Saito.  It is not Ron’s fault that there is not a single pitcher in his bullpen that he can trust.   And it is certainly not his fault that this team has played flat and lifeless baseball from day one.

My Dad always said, “If you dress a turd in a tuxedo, it is still a turd.”  The 2012 Brewers are lucky to even have a tuxedo.  I think that any skipper should be given at least 3 season, unless that manager is Ken Macha.  In my next piece (due next week), I will share with you why I think the Brewers are in a prime position for making a run in 2013.  And I would be extremely disappointed in Brewers management if Ron Roenicke was not a part of that.