Throw another name in the ring. We first heard of his interest over the weekend, but Nationals third base coach Pat Listach reiterated to Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he would like to manage the Cubs.
“I would definitely like the job,” Listach said. “But I have a job to
do here in Washington. If that job is available, it would be a dream
come true. When you bring a championship to that city and that team, it’s
a big deal.”
“It’s one of the elite jobs in baseball. When you
start talking about the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers, that’s the
elite of the elite. Just to be considered is an honor. It makes me feel
good as a person that I’ve done the right things in this game that
people would consider me.”
Listach, who turns 43 next month, never played with the Cubs during his six-year major league career, however he managed or coached for nine seasons in the team’s minor league system. He compiled a 253-221 record over three-plus seasons as a manager, including winning the PCL’s Manager of the Year Award with Triple-A Iowa in 2008. This is Listach’s second season as Washington’s third base coach.
Listach has a very impressive resume, but he’ll have to beat out interim manager Mike Quade, Fredi Gonzalez, Ryne Sandberg and Bob Brenly, among others, for the post. It won’t be easy. You don’t need me to tell you that the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Whoever can break that streak will be a hero in the city forever, so there’s endless appeal to the gig.
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.
A month or so ago it was reported that David Ortiz was going to meet with the Red Sox and NESN to discuss, maybe, spending some time in the broadcast booth in 2017. He’s retired now, of course. Gotta keep busy.
Today we read that, yes, Big Papi may take the mic. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said that Ortiz may be in the booth on a limited basis, and that Ortiz has talked about wanting to “dip a toe in that water.”
I’m quickly becoming a fan of ex-players who want to, as Kennedy puts it, “dip a toe” in broadcasting as opposed to those who want to make it a full-time job. Former players who become full-time broadcasters tend to start out OK, but eventually burn all of their good anecdotes from their playing days and just become sort of reactionary “back in my day” dudes. There are some exceptions to that of course — guys like John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley have kept it fresh and Tim McCarver never rested on his playing laurels as he forged a long career in the booth — but for any of those guys there are just as many Rick Mannings Bill Schroeders.
The part time guys who dip in and dip out — I’m thinking Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and even Pete Rose, who did a good job this past fall after a rocky 2015 postseason — tend to be more fresh and irreverent. They really don’t give a crap on some level because it’s not their full time job, and that not giving a crap allows them to say whatever they want. It makes for good TV.
If Papi can hold off on the F-bombs, I imagine he’d be a pretty good commentator. If he can’t, well, at least he’ll be a super entertaining one for the one or two games he gets before getting fired.