Monday, February 20, 2023

Newsletter Excerpt, February 20, 2023 -- "Mailbag"


This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and has been a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for 25 years.

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Who would be a good non-traditional manager hire for an MLB team in 2023? Are there any candidates that come to mind?

-- Mike C.

This is where baseball is really missing a bit. “Baseball player exceptionalism,” Charlie Pierce once called it, this idea that baseball players are some special breed of human being. NFL and NBA teams are coached, often very well, by people who didn’t play the game. There’s just so much resistance in MLB to the idea that a non-player could do the job; it's a non-starter. It was a big deal when teams started hiring guys who hadn’t even played in the majors. I don’t think we have a MLB version of Gregg Popovich or Bill Belichick on the horizon.

Who would be the guy? I truly don’t know. Maybe some stat guy who has spent a while liaising with the team, has some athleticism, played in college. It’s just so hard for me to imagine it. The best chance is probably a woman, to be honest. The Rachel Balkovec path.