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Wait, GMs still have depth chart posters on their walls?

Aug 13, 2012, 11:36 AM EDT

Old computer

There’s an interesting article in the New York Times today about what the Astros face in rebuilding and, more specifically, how their new owner and new GM are approaching it.  The best news in the article: the color orange is going to make a comeback in the new uniforms for next year.

The most interesting part, however, is this. At least to me:

Symbolically, the most significant change might be in Luhnow’s office. Most general managers have depth charts of all 30 teams and their own farm clubs covering their walls for quick visual reference. Luhnow hates them.

“That board was in the office that I inherited back in December, and one of the first things I did was ask them to take it out,” he said. “Depth charts are something that I can get online at the stroke of a button.”

I’d be curious to know how many GMs actually have those things up on the walls still.  That’s kind of mind-blowing to me. I mean, I don’t play fantasy baseball and I’m kind of a lame old man when it comes to technology, but how hard is this?

American League

National League

Even Brian Sabean could store those on his Commodore64, hooked to the Internet via GEOS.

  1. stex52 - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Tal Smith. I have no idea, actually, but he makes a good villain for this piece. I do feel strongly that he was a dynamic, forward thinking leader in the ’80’s and the game gradually passed him by.

    BTW, we still need to get rid of Tal’s Hill while we are at making changes.

  2. hansob - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    The posters were probably just covering up holes made by angry punches over the last 3 years.

    • kopy - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      “That’s a load-bearing poster!”

      • kopy - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

  3. amhendrick - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    You can’t throw darts at a computer screen when you’re trying to decide who to ask for in a trade.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Aug 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Wait. Wait. Wait a minute. Are you to tell me front offices may still have some behind-the-times management strategies?

    • stex52 - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      I think this will be the first time the Astros have actually embraced statistics-based analysis. Obviously not 100% true. Everybody is doing it. But they are finally really getting with the program.

      I saw this week end that Booby Heck finally did not get his contract renewed as head of scouting. So a decade and more of fruitless first round choices finally has consequences.

  5. Glenn - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Those charts were covering his escape hole ala Shawshank Redemption.

    • stex52 - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      Except he (being Smith, Ed Wade, and now director of scouting Bobby Heck) wouldn’t use the escape hole. They ended up having to be pushed bodily through the wall.

    • kopy - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM



  6. DJ MC - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like having a large, permanent display of your organization at a glance would be helpful. While it may be a few keystrokes away on the computer, for some things its nice to just have to look up instead of juggling windows and tabs.

    Plus, the GM wouldn’t even have to maintain it; that’s why you have interns.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      100% agreed. Playing fantasy baseball is a little different from running a billion-dollar organization.

      I work for a very large company that makes computers — people here are undoubtedly using one to view these pages. And I’m a technologist, so I’ve already embraced the revolution. We have a massive product line, and it’s helpful to have important data available at a glance. My office walls have all manner of information posted on them, and it’s a great learning and reference tool. I learn new products much easier that way. If I need to know how many RAM slots are in a specific server, I can find that much easier than pulling up another window, and opening a spec sheet. Yeah, that stuff is at my fingertips if I need it, but it’s also *right there on the wall*. This is the foundation of my business. Why wouldn’t I want it right there for easy reference?

  7. DA in CLT - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    There’s a very good reason to have such posters: People interact with information differently when it’s tactile as opposed to when it’s just pixels on a screen. I, for one, love my touchscreen phone, but am slightly repulsed by how cars are now moving toward touchscreens in the dash. I want to actually turn dials and push buttons when I’m operating heavy machinery.

    In the GM’s case, one is NOT “better” than the other. Good organizations should simply have both (why not?) for the people who better absorb that information one way or the other.

  8. mybrunoblog - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Orange and rainbows returning to Houston is a good thing. As the team makes the move to the AL, they will want their fan base to harken back to the old days and remember team loyalty. I understand why they want to go throwback.
    Their shooting stars throwback jersey this year was awesome.

  9. heyblueyoustink - Aug 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    On my depth chart of evil trolling baseball bloggers, you’re number one Craig.

  10. lew24 - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    I went to the NL link in this article. It doesn’t even have Matt Kemp on the Dodgers depth chart. Keep the boards up in the office…lol

    • natslady - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Yeah, me too. LOL, no Ian Desmond, All Star shortstop.!

  11. akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    How about, following up on lew24, the reason you have these charts is because the internet is wrong more often than not. Looking at my own Washington Nats right now on rotoworld, they list Espinosa as the 2b and Izturis (a waiver claim they got a week ago) as SS. And Steven Lombardozzi, who has 348 ABs this year and has been the starting 2B since the all-star break, IS NOT EVEN LISTED on the depth chart. Normally i’d say, “oh well its just the Nationals.” Except that the Nationals have the best record in baseball. You’d think it’d be important to keep track of the best team in the league right now.

    If your job is to know such things, you can’t trust the internet and a bunch of sites run by volunteers. You pay some intern to maintain the board, somewhere in your offices.

    • stex52 - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      The same intern who maintains the chart can punch it into a computer. Otherwise how do you have access unless you are sitting right in front of it?

      And if it’s wrong online at your data source, the intern will just take it down and post it wrong, anyway.

  12. natslady - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    I don’t know how hard it is, but the link isn’t accurate, at least not for the Nats. Ian Desmond, anyone? All-Star shortstop.

  13. bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    “Even Brian Sabean could store those on his Commodore64, hooked to the Internet via GEOS.”

    Admit it . . . you looked GEOS up didn’t you!

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