Bill Livingston admits he was wrong about Eric Wedge

Seems like everyone is finding religion when it comes to Eric Wedge’s abilities as a manager and Mark Shapiro’s rebuilding strategy. To his credit, Bill Livingston joined the chorus by praising Wedge in an excellent column in Wednesday’s Plain Dealer. I couldn’t bring myself to post this on Wednesday following the Tribe’s gut-wrenching loss on Tuesday night to the White Sox, but now is a good time to talk about it after the Tribe pounded them on Wednesday night and then pulled within a game and a half of the fading Sox last night.

Livingston correctly pointed out that Wedge has excellent leadership skills:

“He certainly has sold the team on playing hard every day, concentrating for every inning, focusing on every pitch. Nothing but positive vibes carry over because the Indians wipe out what happened yesterday and don’t bank on anything tomorrow. “

Wedge has been preaching this all season, and we saw another example on Wednesday night when the Tribe bounced back from Tuesday’s tough loss with a 8-0 pounding of the Sox to take the series.

Livingston also pointed out correctly that Wedge can sometimes be shaky with his tactical decisions, but those decisions are often trumped by the more important quality of believing in his players. Many thought for example that Wedge should have juggled his rotation in September to take advantage of some off days by skipping Elarton’s turn. Wedge felt it was more important to keep the good chemistry going, and Elarton responded with a dominant September.

Livingston explained some interesting contrasts with past Tribe managers:

“Mike Hargrove always managed by the book. But he pinch-hit for Travis Fryman in a blow-out when the retiring third baseman played his last game in Detroit, Fryman’s home for most of his career. A miffed Fryman never got the curtain call he deserved. This would never happen with Wedge.

Charlie Manuel was a player’s manager, but his best player, Robbie Alomar, quit on him in a decisive playoff game. That would never happen with Wedge.”

Both are excellent points. Wedge has done a fantastic job, and kudos to Livingston for eloquently giving him his due.

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