Interesting story over at the Globe about Pete Mackanin’s day interviewing for the Red Sox managerial job yesterday.
If you’re unaware of Mackanin’s history — current bench coach for the Phillies, former interim manager for Cincy and Pittsburgh, and loooong time minor league manager and coach — it’s worth a read just for that. Sounds like an interesting dude who, in a just world, would have gotten a shot before now. Plus he’s a natty dresser and rocks the silver fox look like a boss.
I was struck midway through the article when it said that he spent nine hours — nine! — at Fenway with the brass. On what planet do job interviews last nine hours? At the law firm we’d put candidates through a good six hours including lunch and that was for someone who we really didn’t know from Adam. Professionally speaking Mackanin’s past is well-known to the Sox. This is all cut-of-his-jib stuff. I suppose the job is a tad more important than that of a paper-pushing baby lawyer, so I get it.
But what do you do in a nine hour interview? This kind of thing:
Mackanin’s interview included a test of his managerial acumen as he was presented with tricky in-game scenarios and asked how he would handle them.
“It’s like I was laboratory-tested by the Boston Red Sox,’’ he said. “It’s kind of an interesting little scenario they put you through, going over strategy in games. A lot of good questions, a lot of different questions, a lot of outside-the-box questions, a lot of inside-the-box questions.’’
One would hope and assume that every team does this sort of thing. Of course, if so, then one would have to explain how certain managers got their jobs.
That snark notwithstanding, I think it would be interesting to put smarty pants bloggers, tweeters and mid-game manager second guessers through that kind of little exercise. I’m guessing we’d have way more trouble with it than even the worst real manager at whom we’ve ever snarked.
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?