It’s tough to say what the right qualifications are to become a manager in Major League Baseball. One thing that isn’t necessary is having had a great career as a player. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that superstar players don’t make good skippers, because they operated at a level as players that most people, including other players, simply cannot figure out.
Ted Williams was a great example of this thought process. He clearly improved the old Washington Senators when he became their manager many years ago. But Teddy Ballgame grew increasingly frustrated with the guys on the roster who just weren’t wired the way he was, and eventually just packed up his fishing gear and spent the rest of his life in Florida.
Of course, there have also been some Hall of Fame caliber players who enjoyed quite a bit of success as managers. But I think it’s fair to say that most of the great skippers were not necessarily great major league players. Earl Weaver certainly wasn’t. Joe Maddon is likely the consensus top choice as the best manager in the game today, and he never made it out of Class A as a pro.
Personally, if I had to rate the all-time managers, I’d have Dick Williams at the top of my list. That’s obviously debatable, but if he’s not somewhere on your Top Ten list, you need to make out a new list. Williams as a player was good, but not great. He fashioned a lengthy big league career but there’s no question his greatest fame came after he’d retired as a player.
In other words, there’s no set rule for what it takes to succeed as a manager at the game’s highest level. That said, if a great player expresses a desire to manage, I’m all ears, and I would suggest that struggling franchises pay attention as well.
That brings me to Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge should be heading to the Hall of Fame in a couple years. His career was nothing short of spectacular. Helluva hitter, an amazing defender, World Series champ, and about as popular within the game as it gets.
Last night on Twitter, while quoting the late John Wooden, Pudge made his desires clear. “Would love to take the next step and be a manager” was the tweet from @Pudge_Rodriguez and I would at least hope that little bit of info has already found its way to the accounts of several major league GM’s who either have or are about to have an opening.
Clearly, there is no guarantee Rodriguez would be a success as a manager. He has no experience in that capacity, and he could also be one of those all-time great players who can’t quite deal with players not quite as committed to all-out excellence as he was.
But if one is looking for the right ingredients, Pudge has to be a candidate to be a winner. Any baseball fan knows how many great managers were catchers as players, and the connection between those two jobs is obvious. Add in the championship pedigree, and a reputation as a guy who always gave it everything he had. Then toss in being young enough to identify with the guys playing now and also being bilingual….let’s just say there’s a lot to like here.
The lack of managing experience is not particularly meaningful to me. The game has changed from what it used to be, as it’s no longer just the manager making all the decisions. Coaches have more input than they used to and every team has an analytics department to assist in forming game plans. Putting a veteran bench coach next to Pudge to work with him would make sense.
But the bottom line for me is that if I’m, for instance, part of the hiring committee in Seattle, I’m going to be interviewing Rodriguez. If the job opens up with the Dodgers (let’s face it, that’s one loss away from being a probability after Monday’s results), I definitely want to investigate the possibility of bringing a guy like this on board. Pudge won a World Series with the Marlins, and the Marlins REALLY need a guy who can stabilize the franchise and maybe even help put some butts in the seats.
In other words, if Ivan Rodriguez wants to manage, and he apparently does, here’s hoping he gets an opportunity to do exactly that, and much sooner than later.
My Under play on the Royals and Astros looked solid heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, and then it didn’t. In fact, all four games soared Over on Monday as lots of the big boppers had their way with the hurlers. That was my only Monday play.
I’ve already gotten lined up on five colleges football games for the coming weekend, with adds on the way once the numbers get to where I’m hoping they’ll land. For details on what I believe is a great guarantee on my monthly package, simply email me at email@example.com.
Daily free plays have done well lately, although Monday was a miss on the Royals/Astros Under. I’ll go with a side today as the MLB playoffs continue.
DODGERS (Kershaw) @ METS (Matz)
Take: METS (no current line, will update on Tuesday morning)
Clayton Kershaw is one of the best pitchers I’ll ever see. I could write endlessly about the quality of his offerings. I have no idea why he hasn’t been able to duplicate his regular season success in the post-season. But there’s simply no denying he hasn’t been as overwhelming in the playoffs.
Kershaw is now faced with the task of keeping the Dodgers alive in their series with the upstart Mets. He did a solid job against them in Game One, but Jacob deGrom was even better and Kershaw eventually wore down and then got no help from that shaky LA bullpen.
The pressure here will be enormous. The failures of the last two post-seasons have to be in play when assessing tonight’s matchup and let’s face it, the Mets are simply playing better baseball than the Dodgers right now. In a way, the Dodgers are kind of fortunate to even still have a pulse.
Steven Matz will throw for the Mets and he’ll take the mound armed with the knowledge that he already dominated this opponent during the regular season. Matz also has the luxury of knowing that even if he comes up short, the Mets have that one-game cushion. For a rookie, that’s gravy, and beyond that, I haven’t seen anything to suggest that this kid won’t be up for the moment. Matz will also get to face an LA lineup that is simply better suited right now to facing righties as opposed to southpaws.
The Mets have played these first three games with a nothing to lose attitude. The Dodgers have played these first three games like a team with the weight of the world on their shoulders. The Mets are having fun, the Dodgers look like they’re toiling. Kershaw is awesome, and he might be able to find his groove and utterly dominate the Mets in Game Four. But I don’t see how that can be considered a sure thing at this point, and it’s also conceivable that Matz matches him pitch for pitch.
No widely available number on this game as I’m writing this, but price is not likely to be an obstacle. I’m going to look to line up on the Mets side to end this series tonight.