The Marvin Miller papers

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Interesting stuff from Richard Sandomir at the New York Times. The papers and letters of Marvin Miller, the late honcho of the MLBPA.

In it, letters from Ted Turner in 1980, so impressed with Miller’s work that he wishes he could be a player rather than an owner. Which, well, yeah, Turner probably would have wished that anyway.  Plus some very early and delicious byplay between Miller and his arch-enemy Bowie Kuhn.

What has always struck me more than anything about Miller is that he took his mission extremely seriously. His work could have been on behalf of auto workers, coal miners, Teamsters or baseball players, and he would have approached it the same way.  His opponents, however, didn’t think of the business of baseball as a real business. It was for them, of course, but the players were kids not to be taken seriously. As such, the owners never met Miller on the field of labor battle like any other responsible captains of industry would.  This allowed Miller to take the battle to them, always putting them on the defensive.

Some of that, at least from Miller’s perspective, is revealed here. Good stuff. Would love to go look at all of it.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”