Rehiring Krivak shows Geiger is taking long-range view to a winning program


November 25, 1990|By BOB MAISEL

A little Sunday smorgasbord:

The rehiring of Joe Krivak at Maryland reminds me of something George Young said when he first took over as general manager of a New York Giants football team that was having all sorts of internal problems.

When I asked him what he thought it would take to build a winner in the National Football League, he said: "In my opinion, the first thing you have to do is get your coach and quarterback for the next 10 years and build with and around them."

He has done that, and the results speak for themselves.

Obviously, at the college level, you can't have a quarterback for the next 10 years. But you can get the coach, and once you have him and he shows he can do a job, it says here there is absolutely nothing to be gained by changing. In fact, most of the evidence proves it is counterproductive.

That goes for both the pros and colleges. Look at the more successful programs at all levels and in all sports, and you usually see a coach or manager who has been in place for the long haul. The good ones don't lose it with passage of time. If anything, they get better. Quick-fix artists might have success over a short period, but they soon move on and leave you holding a very large bag.

Has there ever been a better example that constant change doesn't help than the Yankees under George Steinbrenner? The Colts under Bob Irsay?

Art Modell is getting to be just about as bad in his stewardship of the Cleveland Browns, and the results are there for everybody to see. He let Marty Schottenheimer get away because being in the playoffs every year without winning the Super Bowl wasn't acceptable. After the 1988 season, he wanted to shove an offensive coordinator of his own choosing down Schottenheimer's throat, so the coach took a hike. Two head coaches later, the Browns are 2-8.

Get a good coach, keep him, give him the support he needs, and he'll produce. Joe Krivak is a good man and a good coach who will do the job for Maryland. In reaching that conclusion, new athletic director Andy Geiger gets good marks on this report card. I've heard nothing but good about him, and rehiring Krivak gets him off to a good start.


When you piece together the bits of information that filter out of various places, it begins to sound more and more as though the designated hitter might be on its way out.

The National League always has been against it, baseball purists never have accepted it, and now commissioner Fay Vincent has been lobbying to get the American League to drop it so baseball again can be played under the same set of rules.

Although it makes little sense to have one league use the DH while the other doesn't, thus fouling up the World Series, I'd rather see things go the other way and have both leagues adopt it.

When the American League first went with it 18 years ago, I didn't think I'd like it. But I quickly adjusted to it, and it has grown on me. Now, I tire of seeing pitchers wave at three pitches as though using a rake for a bat, then quickly sit down.

As for all that strategy National Leaguers claim is involved when the pitcher has to hit, it's overrated. You don't have to be a nuclear physicist to know how to make a double switch in the lineup.

The big knock against the DH is that it alters the tradition of the game. A lot of things have done that through the years. What about artificial turf, domed stadiums, night games?

In an era when relief specialists tend to curtail offense anyway, I'd rather see a DH up there swinging. It produces more action and occasionally keeps aging superstars around longer at a time when they are scarce enough as it is.

I've always believed that if you were the only one going one way while the rest of the world went another, there was a pretty good chance you were wrong. The way it is now, just about the only place baseball is played without the DH is in the National League. Why let a pitcher go from Little League to the majors without ever swinging the bat, then tell him he has to learn at the highest level? It doesn't make sense to me, but it looks as though that might be coming.


Another thing I don't understand about baseball today is the compulsion to throw millions of dollars at free agents. How much evidence do you need to be convinced that most of the time it doesn't work? No point in listing again all the expensive flops against the few successes among the very big-money free agents. You've read the names a hundred times.

The most successful franchises are the ones that haven't overindulged. The trouble is that if you try to run your franchise with some common sense, grow your own, try to keep them and make an occasional trade to fill holes, you are charged with collusion and fined huge sums by some judge or arbitrator who doesn't know a baseball from a kumquat. That doesn't make sense, either.

All of which is just one man's opinion.

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