Allard Baird withdraws name from consideration for Orioles’ GM job

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Another day, another candidate drops out out the running for the Orioles’ general manager job. Nice to know you can still count on something in this cruel, cruel world.

Earlier this morning we learned that the Orioles planned to ask permission to interview Red Sox vice president of player personnel and pro scouting Allard Baird. Well, Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that while the former Royals’ GM was “tempted by the idea” of joining forces with O’s manager Buck Showalter, he didn’t want to leave new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.

Just to bring us up to date, that means the O’s have been turned down by Baird, Jerry Dipoto, Tony LaCava and DeJon Watson.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun brings word that former Expos and Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette did interview for the job today, most likely under his own free will, and the Orioles have received permission to speak with Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer. Meanwhile, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock and Orioles director of player development John Stockstill remain in the mix.

For what it’s worth, Connolly speculates that Duquette must be considered the favorite for the gig based on what the Orioles were originally seeking (a warm and willing body?) in a candidate. Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com hears that the Orioles were hoping to make a decision by Monday, though that seems a little on the quick side now.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.