If the cell phone incident is really the whole story, this is pretty shocking. Obviously it would be an indictment of Valentine, but also -- just as much, really -- an indictment of the team's research department. We know they have state-of-the-art software, stats and video systems. Why did none of these provide any history on this opposing pitcher? I find that hard to believe but if true, pretty bad.
The "cell phone" reference sounds weird and maybe it is. But do we know exactly how the research people transmit info to the team and the manager? I imagine they try to make it as easy as possible. It could well be that rather than give the manager a thick folder of info, they send him what he needs to know via e-mail or by a secured web site, both of which would be accessible on a smart phone. That seems at least as possible as that Bobby V was checking Baseball-Reference.com.
I know the way it used to work, because I was part of it.
Tito liked to figure out his lineups for an entire series in advance. The "Assistant to the GM" -- Jed Hoyer in 2005, Zack Scott in 2006-2009 -- had the responsibility of getting Tito all the relevant information in time. (I don't know what form it took.) I was the guy looking at opposing pitcher stats and batter / pitcher matchup histories in 2005-7, and would send my lineup advice based on that, with the supporting numbers (brief and easily digestible), the day before a series started. There may or may not have been guys summarizing scouting reports, or that may have been the direct responsibility of Jed / Zack. You can see that it's an interesting job for the latter, because presumably sometimes the scouting reports would reinforce the statistical evidence and sometimes even contradict it.
Bobby V apparently likes to do this game-by-game, and Zack has been given a new title which suggests new responsibilities. So it seems very likely that this screw-up was the result of working out the bugs in whatever system has replaced the old one (including possibly someone other than Zack doing the job, and doing it for the first time), rather than gross incompetence. As in, oops, the new report format that we set up for Bobby V. omitted pitcher handedness, never noticed that before!
I imagine that the info is sent by e-mail when they're on the road, and that Bobby V. was either reading his on his phone rather than a laptop, or was gesturing to the phone as a generic e-mail device even though he actually used a laptop. If the report is brief enough to be easily read on a cell phone, and so simple that it doesn't provide any more nuance than R/L splits, I do find that a bit discouraging.
Edit: come to think of it, I recall Jed implying that he would call Tito on the phone when the team was on the road, in which case an e-mail might just include the stats, for later reference. In which case you have to wonder again what system they now have in place, and how much interest Bobby V. has in going into the level of detail that Tito was willing to consider. I know that at times I made arguments for unusual lineup decisions that needed a bit of explanation, and that these were well considered.
Edited by Eric Van, 26 April 2012 - 04:04 PM.