I'm not sold on Florida's manager (what's his name? Jack McKeon or something? I know he's the guy that they "pulled off the tractor in North Carolina." That's getting to be about as cliched as calling Michael Lewis the "beer man."). As I've mentioned before, I certainly don't consider myself smart enough to question managers, or to the extent that I am, I'm not going to let it affect my pick, but still, let's talk about learning from mistakes. In game 1, he brings in Willis to face Bonds late in the game. Bonds is retired. Great- mission accomplished. But then, he inexplicably leaves him in to face two straight right handers...his game 4 starter. I don't remember exactly what happened, but I'm pretty sure Alfonzo rocked him; I don't think the results were disastrous, but San Francisco certainly won that game. Now, here we are in game 4, and Willis is clearly running out of gas (which I can't imagine had anything to do with pitching in game 1). He retires Bonds albeit via a sacrifice fly, but hey, 1 out, you've still got a 5-2 lead, now Alfonzo and Santiago are coming up, solid start for the kid, time to go to the bullpen, right? Nah, why not let him face the right-hander, Alfonzo? Oops, two run double. Hmmm...that made a lot of sense. I know this guy's usually discussed with quite a bit of reverence, but it is true that this is his first time leading a team to the postseason, correct? And he's 72 (I'm quite sure of that; still, I think the game announcers should mention it a few more times each broadcast), so I'm guessing he's had a few chances before this. And who's the manager of the Cubs again? I'm sticking with my pick, but just something else to consider.
Jack McKeon, aka "trader Jack" because back in the days before the big fire sales occurred every year with the teams barely out of contention, he essentially liquidated the San Diego Padres. In 1990, he traded Sandy Alomar Jr. to Cleveland, who became rookie of the year. In 1991, he sent RoAlomar and JoCarter to the Blue Jays in exchange for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff. The Blue Jays won consecutive world series. In 1993, he traded McGriff to the braves (1995 champs) and Sheffield to the Marlins (1997 champs). The Padres got nothing for years. The Padres had quite a minor league system developing young players (both Alomars, Santiago, Andy Benes, Andy Ashby) and they came out of it clinging to Tony Gwynn. His managerial career is funny because its three different 2 to 4 years stints with several clubs, which is not a successful indicator. He became soley the GM for the Padres in 1991, and his on the field "prowess" translated into the front office.