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Tracy and the Cardinals


"The Cardinals are a tremendous model," Tracy said. "They're interesting for this reason -- they can kill you with the long ball. But what takes place with that club in between that long one being hit is what's most damaging about them."...

"It's the intangibles they have," Tracy said. "They do the little things. Sure, they can thunder you in a heartbeat. But where they really beat you down is when Albert Pujols hits the ball through the hole on a hit-and-run and it's first and third and nobody out."

Now see, this sounds just like Lloyd McClendon. The Cardinals have found success with an offensive core of Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Larry Walker and a couple of others, all while filling the rest of their lineup and their bench with punchless defensive specialists and/or unambiguously pointless players (Mike Matheny, Yadier Molina, Einar Diaz, Mike Mahoney, Cody McKay, Marlon Anderson, Roger Cedeno, Kerry Robinson, Chris Widger, Wilson Delgado, and so on). They've given so much playing time to so many of these bad players that some of them (Tony Womack, Abe Nunez, Bo Hart) have even worked out pretty well for them, much in the same way a blindfolded child will occasionally be able to strike a swinging pinata.  

So, naturally, Tracy would rather focus on the "little things" things the role players do rather than the ridiculous offensive core (which, let's face it, the Pirates can't afford anyway). If he means what he says, look for the Pirates' bench and the bottom end of the lineup to be populated by an army of catchers and utility infielders - and outfielders who can run fast but have no idea how to hit. The Cardinals aren't a bad model for a team to follow in some ways, but Tracy is focusing on exactly the wrong things here. The McClendon Pirates, in their inept way, did the "little things" for years, and they were consistently one of the worst offensive teams in baseball - except in 2003, when they happened to have a few guys who could get on base and hit the ball over the fence.

Plus, this!

"It's so intriguing to watch how [the Cardinals] go about their business."

Tracy is even copping McClendon's catchphrases!

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Elsewhere in the article, Dodgers pitching coach Jim Colborn and bench coach Jim Lett will have the same roles in Pittsburgh under Tracy.