We see it everywhere as time moves on and networking becomes that staple of career progression and competence becomes more of a footnote or accessory. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. That is what we hear all the time. And of course, we have seen the offspring of this – hint hint (pun intended). Yes, while there are many examples that it works out better, we also know that we have many cases of this not working very well. Great empires fall because of it. Great businesses fall because of it. Nations are tortured because of it (another discussion for another forum). Movie and television franchises fall because of it – see everything including sequels and remakes. The quality of sports broadcasting has suffered (see those nationally televised baseball games every Saturday). Sports organizations fall because of it (at least not the ones named the 2012 Dodgers – so far). It is the monster that was birthed by networking. Yes, it is nepotism. And it is present in our Miami Marlins and, in the struggles of the team’s offense, this organization may be enduring the downside of it (no, I’m not making comment about the usual target of many Marlins fans).
Some may say that it is still early in the season and that I should not be so hard on Eduardo Perez. I ask those that would say that, why not? He was hired last June. He had half a season last year, all of Spring Training, and the early part of this season to make a positive impact on this team’s offense. The only result that has been turned out by this offense during all of Perez’s tenure as the Marlins hitting coach, is failure. Yes, there have been some minimal and individual success, but the overall outcome is continuously poor. Isn’t that why the Marlins fired the previous guy? That guy was fired despite having more success with some of our players than Perez has.
And let’s go back to Perez’s hiring. Pretty much the gist of everything involved with why he was made the choice centered on the message that “he’s a very knowledgeable baseball guy”. Was that an effort for a Red Herring to distract everyone from the fact that, outside of being the son of a Hall of Fame star from one of baseball’s historic teams and the son of one the iconic athletes in Cuban sports, Perez really didn’t have a resume that warranted him being hired over many other guys that were at least equally capable? He certainly didn’t have outstanding experience. Even though this isn’t real criteria, but when someone has no real experience, you have to question his performance when he was a player. Eduardo Perez doesn’t pass the litmus test there either as, if you want to consider the performance of former “Big Red Machine” offspring, Perez was closer to Pete Rose, Jr. than he was to Ken Griffey, Jr. So, nothing in his experience and nothing in his playing career warranted him being the guy they wanted and hired. But he is of course the son of one of the Marlins most revered employees, Tony Perez.
And now, nothing in the Marlins offensive woes since Perez has been the hitting coach warrants him still being in that position. Ok, supposedly he’s one of the guys that had Hanley’s ear. What has Hanley done under him? All I see is swings for the fences. Hanley needs to be trying to win batting titles – not trying to be Dave Kingman. How about Mike aka Giancarlo Stanton? If his name were Clark Kent, I’d swear that Lex Luthor switched his wood bat with one made of Kryptonite or Richard Pryor’s ghost altered it in some way. Stanton simply looks like he has problems that go beyond having missed most of Spring Training. He looks completely lost without a remedy in sight. How about Gaby Sanchez? In his brief career, the one thing he could be commended for was quality at-bats. Since the second half of last season, under Perez’s watch, Gaby seems to have joined the many other struggling Marlins in poor pitch-selection and contact that is more grazed rather than solid. He seems to have caught on with this epidemic that is running rampant in the Marlins clubhouse. An epidemic that seemed to have been a part of Eduardo Perez’s playing career too. I’d like to mention Jose Reyes, but for him, I will grant that it’s too early to use him as another display piece. But one thing that can’t escape me and probably many other older baseball fans, is just how much the Marlins hitters use the same lousy approaches at the plate that make it seem at times as though Eduardo Perez himself is batting in 6 or 7 different spots in the order every single night during these offensive struggles. The struggles are identical to the struggles he endured in his career (oh great. This is an argument that I made when we had Jim Presley).
Now, let me just say this. If the Marlins and Tony Perez want Eduardo to have a coaching and managerial career in this game, they need to stick him in the minors instead of leaving him in a position that seems to be clearly above his head right now. The Marlins need a coach that can get them out of this year-long funk. They don’t need to have the hitting coach position used as a stepping stone to a career. We need someone competent and experienced – not someone hired because he is the son of a revered member of the organization and community. They particularly need a hitting coach that uses a philosophy that is transitional to work with every type of hitter and need to stop hiring guys that go with the same cookie-cutter strategy that they used as ballplayers, that wouldn’t work for every type of hitter. Further to what the Marlins are trying to do with Eduardo Perez, I will say that I, just like many locals, love and respect Tony Perez and would love for his son to succeed in this great game, but I am a Miami Marlins fan first and foremost. I expect to see results from the portion of the team that is the responsibility of his son. I’m more interested in seeing the Marlins score runs to support quality starts and not put so much pressure on the bullpen every night, rather than seeing Eduardo Perez build up his resume for a future managerial job. When the Marlins’ line of thinking is identical to this, then their hitting woes will have a better chance to be corrected. Until then, we can expect more of the same, just like any other walk of life when someone holds a position that he or she only received because of nepotism.