People need an answer for everything. And when there is no answer they try to make one up. Now, I'm sure most of you don't believe in the clutch fairy, but that's a good example. They invent, or exaggerate an idea so that they can feel like they know what's going on and possibly predict whether it will happen again. I think that the SABR - friendly community is, to a certain extent guilty of the same thing (though it isn't limited to just us). We give too much credit to certain front offices. The two best examples are this year's World Series teams, the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ben Cherington was named the Sporting News executive of the year. While he made some smart moves I think he's getting too much credit. The biggest move he made was the Gonzalez/Crawford/Beckett trade. While getting rid of Beckett and Crawford was a no-brainer, trading Adrian Gonzalez was the tough call and it seems like it was probably worth it. The Red Sox were willing to sign Mike Napoli for much more money until they found out about his hip problem, giving him no choice but to sign for cheap. The fact that the deal worked out was not due to the Red Sox being smart. The Uehara signing was great. Drew, Gomes, and Victorino were a bit better than they were supposed to be, and Ryan Dempster was awful. Having almost all of your moves work out very well is usually mostly luck. No one is that good. Having Pedroia, Elsbury, and Ortiz helped but I can't fault Cherington for that. But in the end, the biggest reason for the turnaround is pitching. If it weren't for the fact that Lackey remembered how to pitch and Lester an Bucholz stayed relatively healthy, the Red Sox would've ended up in 4th place in the AL East.
What really gets on my nerves, though, is every time I hear that the Cardinals have the best run system in baseball. I've heard and read that many times this season. I didn't hear it once last season. You can't build the unanimously greatest system in one year without having rumblings about it from seasons earlier. It can't be done. I agree that that they have great players and a good minor league system, but sometimes things just work out. If the Cardinals didn't have the best record in the NL but instead they had a nice little season and a wild card, no one would have been talking about them like they have the smartest collection of people since the Manhattan Project. They would've commented on how the Cardinals are still doing well after all these years and are an admirable organization. A few games makes a huge difference in perception. The other reason why people are giving so much credit to them is that for years people were giving credit to Tony La Russa and especially Dave Duncan. Now that they're gone and the Cards are still doing well they need to give credit to someone for all these years. Obviously the front office deserves a lot of credit but not nearly as much as they are getting.