The Girardi Effect
Our friend Joe Sheehan did a fun little poll on Twitter a couple of days ago. At the time, the Phillies had won eight games in a row after the firing of Joe Girardi and the hiring of longtime coach Rob Thomson as the interim manager. The Phillies have now won 10 of 11 games since Thomson took over, just so we’re up to date.
Anyway, Joe asked this question: The Phillies are 8-0 under Thomson — had they not fired Girardi what would their record be over those eight games?
And he gave four choices — (1) they still would have won all eight games; (2) they would have won six or seven games; (3) They would have been 5-3 or 4-4; (4) they would have had a losing record over those eight games.
What made the poll fun — and I’m sure it’s the reason he did it — is that Joe understands that we have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the right answer is. No clue. Even after all these years, we know almost nothing about a manager’s tangible impact on teams. And the results came out exactly as you would expect — it was about as perfectly split as any poll on Twitter can be.
About a quarter of the people guessed that the Phillies would still have won all eight games.
A little more than a quarter of the people guessed that they would have played well but lost once or twice.
About a quarter of the people guessed they would have won four or five of the games.
And a little less than a quarter of the people guessed that they would have lost more than they won.
Who is right? That’s the point.
We. Have. Absolutely. No. Idea.