Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Final Four Manager Candidates


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It all began with a seemingly infinite number of candidates. Over the past week, the droves have been whittled down to 24, the Sweet 16, the Elite 8, and now the Final 4.

The next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays will either be Brian Butterfield, Sandy Alomar Jr., DeMarlo Hale, or John Farrell.

I'll be honest, I was a little perturbed when we didn't see Brian Butterfield listed as one of the finalists yesterday to take over as the Blue Jays skipper. Butterfield was arguably the top candidate from the start, so it was somewhat shocking when he wasn't mentioned on the short list.

Luckily, that has been rectified and the Blue Jays front office now only has to work from a list of four serious contenders.

All we can really do is speculate at this point as to who will win the job, but my Spidey Sense tells me it will be one of the three coaches from outside the organization.

What's the reasoning, you ask? While Brian Butterfield seems like the logical choice and knows both the players and organization inside and out, maybe it's a wise choice to bring some new blood into the situation.

I think Bob McCown alluded to this a few weeks ago on PrimeTime Sports, but the issue with promoting internal candidates is even though that coach has been promoted to manager, in the eyes of the players they may still be viewed as just a coach.

I'm not saying the players wouldn't respect Brian Butterfield, as I'm sure they think the world of him. But I relate this situation to one in the everyday workplace.

If you work with a guy or girl for 10 years as an equal, and then suddenly they're promoted and become your boss ... are you going to take them 100 percent seriously? Obviously, seeing that person in a different light is going to take some getting used to.

On that same token, these are professional baseball players who should be willing to cooperate with their superior, no matter if they have been in the clubhouse for the last 10 years or whether they've only been around for the last 10 minutes.

Judging by Alex Anthopoulos' style, I'm wouldn't be surprised to see him go outside the Blue Jays organization to name a manager. Maybe somebody with a fresh set of eyes on this group of players will be able to harness something that previous managers haven't been able to before.

After all, if this team is going to compete with the beasts of the American League East, who better to select than one of the minds who helped fuel the machine of one of those beasts.

7 comments:

  1. I usually assume that if they wanted the "inside guy" they'd have given it to him by now.

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  2. I sent Double A an email today BEGGING that he hire Alomar. Seems to me Alex was a young guy waiting for a break, he got it when he was 32, and how is that working out. Pretty damn fine in my books.

    Butter is probably a good guy loved by his kids and his dog, but he reminds me of Jimy One M. All coach, no manager.
    I love Alomar's big league experience and cred. I worry about other guys who might have got a string of jobs because they were somebody else's asshole buddy way back when. Like, the 'Cito" pimping for Don "chip on my shoulder" Baylor. What was that all about?

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  3. And another thing! The best 2 managers in the AL East over the last decade were Francona and Torre. You can even tag Girardi on the end of that list. What do they all have in common? They were all OUTSTANDING long term big league players who became OUTSTANDING managers because they knew the Show and saw it all while they were playing. Mike Scioscia fits on that list too.

    Sandy Alomar had 20 seasons catching in the big leagues, most years an all star, running the game, defense and pitchers. Like Girardi, like Mike Scioscia.
    Hire the man, already, it's a no brainer.

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  4. Catchers do have a very unique view of the game and tend to manage well. After all they deal with the in game management more than any other player. However, in AA I trust, so whoever he picks is obviously the best choice.

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  5. Section 36, the Blue Jays have put out a very exhaustive search and they're making sure no stone is left unturned. But you're right, if they were going to just promote someone from within the organization, they would have decided upon that some time ago.

    Anon, I also like the prospect of having a manager with a catching background. Not only would that be beneficial to the position players, but the pitchers as well.

    Mattt, precisely. Catchers have to be very sharp, and I think that was another great reason why Sportsnet went with Buck Martinez as the play-by-play guy. Martinez, like Alomar Jr, would have a lot offer in the way of on-field observations, and relationships between pitchers/catchers, etc.

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  6. You know, three names that were never mentioned in the managerial search were Chuck Norris, Tony The Tiger, and Buenaventura Durruti. They'd all make great managers, but unfortunately Durruti is long dead and a Spanish anarchist, which would mean his ghost would want the players to vote on every decision. Tony the Tiger would also be grrreat, but he's fictional so that put him out of the running. Chuck Norris might be the best pick of the three, given that he's alive and a real person, although his wacked-out theories on human history might have put that one out too.
    I guess we'll just never know what might have been.

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  7. sadp, I don't even know what to say to that. They're GRRRRRRRRREAT!

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